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Monday, August 27, 2012


Want to see my holiday pics? I won't bore you with pics of Simon in front of this or me in front of that. But I thought you might like to see some pics of some of the areas we visited.

My parents have a flat just south of Torrevieja which is on the southern Costa Blanca, an hour south of Alicante. Torrevieja itself is not the most attractive town although it has a lovely sea front and most of the coastal areas are spoiled by huge amounts of developments and way too many tourists. But drive inland and there are some lovely areas.

The first week we were there, the girls were both in Norway so we decided to do some trips that the girls wouldn't like. It's hot in Spain in August. On the coast it's low/mid 30C, inland it gets even hotter. We try to adopt a more Spanish lifestyle when we are there and go out in the morning take a long siesta from about 1/2pm and go out in the evenings.

Our first trip was 2 hours inland into the Murcia region to Caravaca de la Cruz.  Caravaca is a popular Catholic pilgrimage destination and we've visited the chapel of the La Vera Cruz before but it's a long time ago so we fancied visiting gain. The picture below is taken from outside the chapel and over looking the city.
This is the chapel of the La Vera Cruz. It's part of a museum and we did an audio-guided tour. It was quite interesting and the church itself is beautiful.
The church is at the top of a hill and I must admit walking up the long steep hill in the heat was hard work but the view is beautiful.
I would have loved to have explored this town a bit more but by the time we'd driven there, toured the church, it was already gone midday and temperatures were soaring so we made our way to this square and found a shady pavement cafe and had lunch. Our lunch spot was at the back right (while and red umbrellas) of the photo below, which is me.
We had a lovely three course lunch for only 10 euros each which is cheap. We had no idea what we were ordering as the menu was in Spanish and the waiter spoke no English. I have taken beginners Spanish lessons before but it's a long time ago now and I can't remember much. We did manage to order and really enjoyed our Spanish lunch. The food was delicious.

I mentioned earlier that the local town, Torrevieja isn't the most attractive town but it does have a beautiful church which is worth visiting and the seafront is great in the evenings and very popular.
There is a street market which is packed in the evenings. Excuse the blurry photo below but i just wnated to share an idea of how busy it was. A lot of the stalls sell rubbish but Simon got a very nice leather belt from the same stall he bought a belt the first time we visited 10 years ago (it turned out the stall was then run by the father of the current stall holder). Simon was wearing the belt he bought 10 years ago. On our second visit after the girls arrived I bought my green bag from last week's blog post.
We decided to treat ourselves to an ice cream from one of two big ice cream restaurants on the sea front. The ice creams were huge and delicious. And we did have this instead of an evening meal.
Our next trip was to a new area for us, the Sierra de Espuna which is a mountain range between Murcia and Lorca. I wish we'd visited this area before because it was lovely. The mountains are probably more like hills although there are some quite high peaks. I thought it would get cooler as we headed higher up but it got hotter and at one point it was 40C.
I mainly drove around this area as it was too hot to walk much although we did get out of the car a few times to explore and did do a 30 min walk.  This area was very popular with cyclists and by the time we got there most of them were heading back down the hills.

We came across this deserted, cottage and I decided I'd love to live here. It needs a lot of work and probably isn't even for sale but I can dream, can't I?
Just look at the view I'd have? Not sure Simon was convinced. Maybe it was the 38C temperatures that  did it.
We both loved this area though and if we come back out of season we'll definitely come back for some walking.
My parents have a couple of bikes in the apartment so we may even try some cycling in this are if we have a hire car that's big enough for bikes.
This is by far one of the most beautiful areas in this part of Spain in my opinion. So much more beautiful than the coastal areas.
And apart from the cyclists there were noone else around.
Once the girls arrived we headed to the inland city of Murcia which is about an hour away. It can be confusing as the neighbouring region to where we stayed is called Murcia which is also the name of the main city in that region.

Murcia also has an excellent ice cream restaurant so we had ice creams again. Here's Simon's choice:
Emily's olympic themed desert:
And Vanessa's:
Yes, they tasted as nice as they look.

Most of the time we spent on the beach or by the pool. Before the girls arrived we tended to go to the beach in the morning and pool late afternoon/evening. But after the girls arrived we did the pool in the morning so we didn't have to stress about nagging the girls to get up. We left them to sleep while we headed for the pool, which is only 50 m down the road.
The picture below is taken from the roof top of the apartment and the pool is just passed the palm tree on the left:
The pool isn't too big (that's Simon swimming by the way) but if you got there about 9am you'd get at least an hour or two to yourself as most people here don't seem to get up till closer to lunch time. 
Our favourite beach is in the Loz Alcazares/Los Narejos area of Mar Menor. Mar Menor is a salt water lagoon separated by the Med by a strip of land called La Manga which is full of high rise hotels. On clear days we can see across the water to La Manga in the distance. Mar Menor is big enough that it does feel like the Med. Here's my favourite view from the beach. Lying on my sun lounger reading my Kindle.
This stretch of beach does get rather busy. The water here is warmer than the Med and very shallow. I'm sure I've had baths at home with cooler water than the temperatures here.
Most people who use this beach are Spanish tourists. It's a popular holiday area for the Spanish. There are more Northern European tourists using this beach now but the Spanish are still in majority unlike the beaches on the Costa Blanca.
This was our beach HQ. Usually it got a lot more crowded than this and if you don't like people lying too close to you on the beach then this is not the beach for you.
We only went to another beach on one day and none of us liked that beach so we went back to our favourite. It's about 30 min drive but it's worth it for a view like this:
I hope I haven't bored you too much with my holiday pics. Normal service will resume tomorrow.

1 comment:

Grace said...

Great pictures of your trip! The view from the church and the mountain are beautiful! Those ice creams look delicious! Spain seems like a great place to spend a holiday! These are some good things to know because this summer my school may be participating in an exchange program with Spain!