Monday, 30 April 2012

27 April 2012 – Valencia Oceanografic

The U3A organised a coach trip to Valencia, with an option to visit the famous Oceanografic

This is our fourth coach trip this year with the U3A, and we were particularly looking forward to spending a day at the Oceanografic.   We have not been there before, but it was highly recommended by friends who have.
It only took 90 minutes on the coach, but Jan was ready for a coffee as soon as we arrived.  It also gave us time to study the visitor map and plan our visit

Our first visit was to the under water walks surrounded by fish above and on each side.   It’s very impressive, and the fish are so close you feel you can touch them.

We timed our visit quite well, as the tanks were being cleaned. There is a diver each side of the walkway each holding one end of a long strip of cloth which they pull along to clear the glass either side and above.

Our next visit was to the sea lions, who were quite relaxed having a check over and spruce up by the staff.

We then followed one of the long lines of young school children…

…making for the first performance in the dolphinarium

This was another first for Jan and I, and we enjoyed it just as much as the school kids

We had seen similar displays on TV, but it something else to see it live.  I had heard that dolphins are very intelligent, but I was not expecting them to perform so well.   And they seemed to enjoy it as much as the audience.

After lunch we visited the shark display

No cleaners in the water here, and it was quite an experience to have sharks swimming all around and above you within inches.   One little boy was quite frightened, until his dad pretended to scratch the shark’s tummy as it swam overhead.

By mid afternoon we were starting to wilt, so we went back for the second dolphin performance.

We enjoyed the second performance even more than the first one

We knew what to expect, and where to look, so we took the whole performance in much better.

There were also a group of high divers who performed in the background.  They were very good, but found it difficult to compete with the dolphins

It was a tired, but happy, group who gathered to wait for the coach at 6pm.  It had been a long day, but a very enjoyable experience.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

23 Apr 2012 – Juvees de Alt

 We always seem to have a photo taken at this sign, which is the start of the walk.   Lots of shorts on view to celebrate a rise in temperature.   It was good to have Barry back again after  a short absence due to back trouble.

David led this walk, and did so at a very good pace. 

 We had lots of unofficial stops to admire flowers and try to identify them

We usually have our banana stop at the deserted village, but David was persuaded to call an early break due to pressure from the ranks.

Most of the climbing is done at the start of the walk, and after the village we follow an excellent track with extensive views.

  David arrived at our lunch spot just six minutes early, but there were no complaints.

  Our picnic spot was so pleasant that no one was in any hurry to get  walking again

One of the great advantages of this walk is that most of the climbing is done in the car, so we get the benefit of views like this without too much effort.

  Not sure what this break was  for, no doubt to  admire an unusual  flower
  Then it was downhill back Benimaurell and a cold drink in the bar

Monday 30 April 2012

David will lead his new walk from Pinos to Marnes.   Meet at the bridge just after Pinos at 10am as usual.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

16 Apr 2012 – Pedreguer Fonts

  Sunny and clear today, with a cold wind, for this new walk, or rather an extension of an old one.  

 I prefer the Castell de Axia walk, but this is a very acceptable alternative choice.
The walk starts with a steep hill climb, including this rustic stile.

Pat suggested an alternative to our usual route, which would involve a second font.   It would also avoid a longish road section.    She had not actually done a recce, but was quite sure that she could find it
So off we all trooped along a very promising looking path through an area we had not walked before.   15 minutes later the path has ended in undergrowth and we were lost.  
About turn and back the way we had come, to rejoin the usual route…..

  …….longish road section included

We paused to admire some renovation work on an old finca, and to admire the profusion of spring flowers

23 April 2012 – Benimaurell

Meet in the new car park at 10am for an old favourite - Juvees de D’Alt.   This is the one where we walk down part of the 2000 steps, up to the abandoned village and then follow the winding path to the Green Horse and back to Benimaurell

Saturday, 14 April 2012

12 Apr 2012 – Granadella

When we told Dave and Sue about our favourite coastal walk they said that they would like to see it for themselves.   David and Rosemary agreed to take us all, including Lindy and  Peter who live near them.
Lindy was not sure that she wanted to tackle the ridge, but was glad that she decided to do so
It leads down to the ruin of a Napoleonic coastal fort, the highlight of the walk for me.

 We took our usual short break here, despite the grey day and cold wind

Thanks to Dave for this example of the spring flowers which make walking at this time of year such a joy
  It’s a short walk from the fort to the beach, and the difficult path makes it more of an experience.
Not the best of days for another photo opportunity at the mirador, and cold enough to have our jackets on again.
  Lunch was on the beach.   The car park was busier that we expected, but most were in the cafĂ©’s and bars rather than on the beach.
Charlie enjoyed the walk as always, and managed to get himself filthy as well.   Sue finds it all quite funny, but Jan is not so sure.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

9 April 2012 – Tarbena

It may be only spring, but it felt like summer had arrived at last, as you can see from the shorts and shirt sleeves. Despite the long drive, especially for those of us who live on the coast, there was a full house of 12.

Tarbena is a lovely, very Spanish, little village in the middle of the mountains over the Col de Rates.   It is only about 8 miles from Parcent, but is a long drive on the narrow and winding old road to Benidorm.
We have done two walks from Tarbena in the past, both of them quite short.   So we were keen to try this longer new one which was led by Peter.   It started with a gentle downhill path into the valley.

We have never walked this area before, and it was interesting to see so many familiar mountains from an unfamiliar angle.   Its surprising how different they look, and how often we had to ask Peter to confirm which one we were looking at.
It was not long before we were going up, and up, and up.   By the time we reached our banana stop we were all well ready for a break.   Jan confirmed that her eyes were sweating, which is a sure sign that it is a hot day.

From our banana stop Peter pointed out a small pink house on a distant hill, which he told us was our lunch stop.  What he did not tell us was that there was a deep valley between banana and lunch.

Eventually we did arrive, and the descent and subsequent climb were well worth it for the fantastic views. We even had a nice seating area with plenty of space for all.   Rosemary had brought some tiny Easter Eggs, which she distributed – twice.  

From here it was an easy walk on a very good path where we could look around and enjoy the changing views of the mountains and the coast down to Benidorm.

We were surprised to find this half finished view point.   There were piles of rubble and the whole place looked like it had been abandoned half finished.   But it had this lovely hand drawn illustration on tiles with all the surrounding peaks named.  

Another good path took us through a lovely valley to join the familiar track back to Tarbena

The five hour walk was longer than usual, and more ups and downs than usual, and by the time we sighted the village we knew we had walked.   But we really enjoyed it, and no doubt will do it again in the future.   

Monday 16 April 2012 – Pedreguer

Not the usual walk to the castle.   Pat will lead one we have not done for a long time, which includes three fonts.   Meet at the usual place at 10am.