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Old 20th November 2008, 09:46 AM   #21
delgado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skipper View Post
Don't miss Benidorm and the area.

From the skycrapers of Benidorm you can be in the fisher's traditional town of Altea in just 15 minutes. And from Altea you can go to the inland to the impressive town of Castell de Guadalest (the old town is over a rock) and visit the Fuentes de el Algar...
This is possibly the best place in Spain that I have ever been to and is truely magical, especially if you go in the summer as you can swim in the ICE cold mountain spring ( All the way to the top if you are feeling adventurous). Well worth a visit!!

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Originally Posted by greytop View Post
sorry - can't help much there Vicente. Alfaz del Pi has more foreigners than Spanish I believe, including a lot of Scandinavians. I've only ever driven through it on the N332 however! 155K seems a lot for 1 bedroom though in the present financial climate, but it may be luxurious or in a very good location.
I think that you are pretty spot on with your comments and the fact that I never bothered coming off the N332 to have a look at the village (in 4 years) nor you in 6 years (was it?) probably tells you something. The fact that the N332 going through Alfaz is littered with puti clubs and women of the night plying their trade on the road side probably doesn't give the best impression either. I also seem to remember always reading about some crime or other in the CB news that took place there(although this probably wouldn't be a problem for you if you don't live in a big house with a fancy car).

However ,this is all speculation ,as like I said, I never really ventured into the village of Alfaz and I guess that it does have some good points .....

1 ; Close to all the big "discotecas" , KM, Pacha , Penelope etc.....

2 ; A short distance to Benidorm , which is actually better in the winter as the majority of the people in the bars and clubs are Spanish speaking locals ( From all parts of the world)

3 ; Direct train link to Alicante , although Valencia is harder to get to , being as you would need to get the train to Denia (you can gat a ferry to ibiza or mallorca from there) and then get a bus to Gandia , and then finally the train to Valencia .

4; Reasonably close to Alicante airport (maybe 30mins by car) with buses going from Benidorm and a direct train link ( as I said)

Hope this helps!!!

ps. Great fotos Stephen , I really want to go back to Spain now!!!

Last edited by delgado; 20th November 2008 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 20th November 2008, 11:25 AM   #22
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So have homes in the Valencia area been de-valuing much lately? Is that expected to go on for a while?
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Old 20th November 2008, 06:16 PM   #23
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Default Thanks guys for your replies !!!

Its a shame this zone is not very populated in winter, i have been there this summer and i liked a lot this town.

Valenciason, almost every expert say that prices are not going down a lot, maybe a 10 % maximun in some homes. Its similar to the states, i read the other day that manhattan homes are still rising their prices.
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Old 20th November 2008, 08:57 PM   #24
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ps. Great fotos Stephen , I really want to go back to Spain now!!!
Thanks. If you are interested I'll be posting more over in this thread.
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Old 23rd November 2008, 05:06 PM   #25
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Default A week in the Comunidad Valenciana (5)

Orihuela
Only stopped here very briefly. Didn’t have a street plan, so trying to negotiate the narrow streets and one-way systems was a bit off-putting. This is a pity really, as Orihuela is actually the capital of the Vega Baja comarca. The town nestles into the side of the Sierra de Orihuela, which juts abruptly up out of the plain. It has a 10th century castle on top of the mountain and apparently the town has – amongst other things – a cathedral, various churches, several museums, and a palm grove of possible Islamic origin.


Orihuela


Orihuela

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Old 25th November 2008, 09:17 PM   #26
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Default A week in the Comunidad Valenciana (6)

Callosa de Segura
This is another town to be found at the foot of a small mountain range, the Sierra de Callosa, rising up out of the Vega Baja.


Sierra de Callosa from Algorfa

We happened to arrive there on market day (Wednesday), so what I imagine to be an otherwise fairly quiet town was bustling with activity, which also meant, while trying to find somewhere to park, having to contend with little old ladies trundling their shopping trolleys and seemingly in no particular hurry to use the pavements at the sides of the very narrow roads.

Before going into the town centre, we stopped at the Museo de Cáñamo, which is located in a small building adjoining the local police station. There the friendly old curator, who speaks no English, will greet you at the gateway and unlock the museum and switch on the lights for you. He’ll also accompany you around and explain some of the exhibits. This is a lovely little museum that, if only fleetingly, transports you back in time to catch a glimpse of the agricultural and industrial history of Callosa. The displays show some of the tools and methods used of old in the processing of the raw material and the creation of finished hemp products such as various types of rope.

The street market is centred around the indoor Mercado de Abastos, next to which a churros stall was doing a brisk trade with the locals (not to mention one particular hungry tourist).


Mercado de Abastos, Callosa de Segura


Churros stall, Callosa de Segura

Callosa also has a 10th century castle perched on top of the local mountain. This one, dating back to 916, being the oldest in Alicante province.

A fairly gentle climb up some winding back alleys leads you to Callosa’s iconic landmark: the Santuario de San Roque, built on the spot where, as legend has it, the town’s patron saint once appeared. From here the panoramic views across the vega are stunning.


Santuario de San Roque, Callosa de Segura


Callosa de Segura

There is also very short video here. This is best watched in high quality - just click the link below the video, on the right.

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Old 26th November 2008, 08:12 PM   #27
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Default A week in the Comunidad Valenciana (7)

Santa Pola
Stopped in Santa Pola a couple of times for the beach, of which there are several, with a total length of over 11 km. The town also has the Castillo-Fortaleza, built in 1558 and now used as a Centro Cultural.


Playa de Levante, Santa Pola


Castillo-Fortaleza, Santa Pola

Also drove up round the coast a little bit to the more isolated beaches of Santa Pola del Este and Gran Alacant. The nearby island of Tabarca can be easily seen from the former, while the latter affords fantastic views across the Golf d’Alacant to Alicante itself, with the Castillo de Santa Bárbara unmissably prominent on the city’s skyline.


Platja del Carabassí, Gran Alacant


Isla de Tabarca from Santa Pola


Alicante from Gran Alacant

Driving back on the N332 to the southwest of Santa Pola I managed to catch all but the briefest glimpse of a small flock of flamingos on the water in the salt pans. Unfortunately there was no where to stop at the time to get a closer view.

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Old 27th November 2008, 08:55 PM   #28
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Default A week in the Comunidad Valenciana (8)

Terra Natura, Benidorm
My elder daughter had visited a ‘zoo’ in Benidorm when she had been in this part of Spain with her cousins earlier in the year and wanted to go back. Didn’t know exactly where it was. Or what it was called. Nevertheless, we set off up the autopista bound for Benidorm. Incidentally, this was to be my first ever experience of driving on a toll road. There were alternative routes, but what the heck! We were on holiday. No point passing up the chance of driving on the impressively named AP 7 – E 15 Autopista del Mediterráneo, the peaje portion of which, it turned out, was also impressively quiet.

We stopped for some refreshment at La Marina services, about 10 km out from Benidorm – these were also exceptionally quiet: apart from a group of three that arrived a little while after us, the cafe was empty. We picked up a few tourist information leaflets and discovered the whereabouts of Terra Natura – not the place my daughter had previously been to, but it looked good, was pretty close, and didn’t involve having to drive into the city itself. That settled it.


Benidorm

Turning off the autopista, you drive past the theme park Terra Mítica to get to there. The big, wide roads and roundabouts leading up to Terra Natura were, this time, eerily quiet – not another soul to be seen. Anywhere. It was therefore something of a relief to actually see some other cars when we got to the car park – seems we had arrived just after opening time, and it was out of season. A couple of coaches has obviously just deposited their payloads – groups of primary-school children on a day out, whom we were later to catch sight of a couple of time as our paths crossed – chanting in unison “Queremos ir al parque”, with the teacher responding with a stern “El parque, ¡no!” as their tour took them past the play area, for example; or later shouting “¡Nos vamos!” to each other in relay when their obviously long awaited time to play had come to an end.

The entrance fees soon mount up, especially with children over 12 paying full fare and a separate charge for parking (adults €23, children 4-12 €18, car park €4). That said, however, a trip here does make for a thoroughly enjoyable family day out. The park is divided into large themed areas – América, Asia, Europa – and the enclosures are all on a fairly large scale. One particular favourite was the Itanagar Forest with its small herd of elephants. And, of course, there are the big cats. And a huge, landscaped, walk-through aviary. And all the other animals. And…


Terra Natura, Benidorm


Terra Natura, Benidorm


Terra Natura, Benidorm

There are numerous themed restaurants and cafes throughout the different sections of the park. The bad news was they all seemed to be shut this time of year, with only a few kiosks open selling snacks such as crisps or waffles. And don’t go expecting to find anything particularly wholesome or nutritious at the ‘fast food’-style main restaurant at the park entrance either (especially if you have any non-standard dietary requirements such as gluten-free or vegetarian). So, if you too happen to be planning a visit out of season, my advice would be to pack picnic to take with you – there were certainly no shortage of lovely spots there to have one.

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Old 18th December 2008, 08:44 PM   #29
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Default A week in the Comunidad Valenciana (9)

Alicante
Alicante is another city with a very nice centre to spend a day wandering around. We started off, as usual, with a quick cafe stop – this time in one of the terrace cafes in the circular Plaza de Luceros, which has the delightful Levante fountain as its centrepiece.


Levante fountain, Plaza de Luceros, Alicante

Next up was a stroll through the Parque de Canalejas and then along the wonderful Explanada de España. This palm-lined promenade, on the other side of the main road from the marina, is made up of one long marble mosaic consisting of 6.6 million tiles of three different colours.


Explanada de España, Alicante

There are souvenir stalls along part of its length and it seems to be a favourite haunt for the locals to come and sit for a while relaxing, having a chat, or reading their newspapers. At the end of the esplanade there is another lovely fountain, this one in the Plaza Puerta del Mar.

The imposing Castillo de Santa Bárbara, perched up high on its rock above the city, is definitely worth a visit for the amazing panoramic views alone. And, what’s more, entrance is free.


Castillo de Santa Bárbara, Alicante


View from Castillo de Santa Bárbara, Alicante

We did save ourselves the climb up to the top of Monte Benacantil, though, by paying the small fee to ride up in the fast lift inside the mountain itself. You reach the lift, which rises 144 metres up to the middle level of the castle, through a long tunnel whose entrance is on the Avenida de Jovellanos.


Access tunnel to lifts inside Monte Benacantil, Alicante

The castle, which has Islamic origins and dates back to the 9th century, covers a large area at the summit and its surrounds and has three different levels. The views of the city really are spectacular, with landmarks such as the Plaza de Toros and the cathedral being very easy to spot.


Plaza de Toros, Alicante


Iglesia Concatedral de San Nicolás, Alicante



(continued)
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Old 18th December 2008, 08:47 PM   #30
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Alicante (continued)

The interior of the Iglesia Concatedral de San Nicolás is impressive, with its vaulted ceiling and a dome that reaches 45 metres in height. When I was there they were setting up to rehearse for the Ciclo de Música Antigua y Medieval, a free event that apparently plays to a capacity crowd over five performances.


Iglesia Concatedral de San Nicolás, Alicante


Iglesia Concatedral de San Nicolás, Alicante



A few minutes walk up the Calle Mayor from the cathedral brings you to the twin-towered Basílica de Santa María, the city’s oldest church. This dates back to the 14th century and was built on the site of what was Alicante’s largest mosque. On one of the towers there is an unusual one-handed clock.


Basílica de Santa María, Alicante


The 18th century Ayuntamiento is close to the cathedral and has an impressive long façade with a tower at either end and a small dome in the middle. Apparently the first step of the main staircase inside the building is known as the ‘cota cero’ and formerly served as the reference point for measuring the height above sea level of any point in Spain. Various rooms are open to the public and entrance is free – unfortunately though we happened to be there at the wrong time of day.


Ayuntamiento, Alicante


City’s shield sculpted in marble, Ayuntamiento, Alicante

Our walk back to the car took us along the Avenida Federico Soto past El Corte Inglés. Time was running short, so a half-hour browse was agreed upon, during which time I’m afraid I didn’t make it any further than the ground floor, with its enticing area dedicated to books, stationery, CDs and DVDs. I did, however, manage to venture briefly into the Supermercado section just long enough to buy a couple of packs of chufas (€1,65 for 250 g). These are now safely stashed away in a cupboard at home waiting for some future horchata-production experimentation.


El Corte Inglés, Alicante

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