Posted in Spain

22nd February, Heading North

After coastal locations on the south coast we headed in land, high up in The Sierra de Ricote in a rural area surrounded by mountains. The area is dominated by open expanses, mainly appearing uncultivated except for dormant grape vines and the fruit and trees and almond bearing pink blossom at this time of year. Old abandoned buildings stand in crumbling ruins, the home of little owls and numerous small birds, a testament to past lives working the land.

Staying with friends in this wide and peaceful landscape, we enjoyed catching up with news from the last 2 years. It was amazing to learn how they had transformed their home over the last 20 years from an agricultural working cottage with accommodation for animals, into a lovely home with many original features including the old wine press.

We all enjoy walking and bird watching and were very happy to be included on two walks, one in hills not far from their house and the other many miles away on the coast. We added a few more birds to our growing list, saw many beautiful flowers and views and covered 12 miles in total. Both walks were very enjoyable followed by a sociable get together afterwards with refreshments, drinks and chatting.

Afterwards, heading north towards Jumilla on the A33 is a wonderful family wine business called Bodegas Viña Elena. We wanted to visit this particular Bodega because our friend Maria, is a family member of the Bodega, and she lives in our city less than 5 minutes walk from our house. It was so nice to meet one of her sisters, and a niece and nephew too.

Her niece Maria gave us a tour around and told us the history of the business, we saw the different vines outside mainly Cabernet Sauvignon which needs a lot of irrigation, and a very robust vine called Monastrell which needs no watering. The roots go many meters down to extract water. On the outside of the build there is an example, the root was so long that it went from the ground up to the roof of the building! We saw various storage and ageing vessels from French oak to concrete and stainless steel for huge quantities and large glass demi-johns for smaller specialist productions of special grapes.

Photo centre top shows the old vine plant plus the very long root system

After our tour we enjoyed a meal as part of our tour package which was beautifully cooked and quite traditional, with wines for each course. It was an unforgettable day out and we hope to return at another time of year to see the vines in flower or with grapes.

Back on the coast at Altea we walked for miles alongside a small river towards the mountains with lovely views over reeds, rural houses and orange trees. There were acres of Loquat trees with fruit like an apricot/plum, yellow in colour when ripe which you can make jams and puddings and an alocholic drink too. It was so peaceful and warm after the initial grey sky became blue and picturesque.

The old church in Altea is topped by two beautiful ceramic domes and sits high above the town in a pretty square where we enjoyed lunch. The walk back down through the town was lovely with flowers and decorative pots, a large sculpture in metal looked great against the blue sky as we headed back towards the sea.

A separate walk lead up from the beach at L’Albir into the Parque Natural de la Serra Gelada to a steep sided promontory that lead to an old lighthouse building, now housing an information room with old photos. The walk was an hour each way and very pleasant with a good wide and surfaced pathway so my fear of heights didn’t spoil anything. The views over the turquoise sea were like a holiday brochure.

Continuing north we revisited the old town area of Calpe, after a long uphill walk it was good to find the art work on the walls was still in place. The colourful houses with floral displays were as vibrant in reality as my memory and I love the steps painted in traditional Spanish colours.

There is a salt water lagoon on the edge of the town with numerous flamingos, yellow legged gulls, shelducks and a few black winged stilts feeding in the shallow water. Walking along the boardwalks we were able to see Sardinian warbler, stone chat and serin among others smaller birds in the trees and bushes. It is an interesting spectacle to see the lake surrounded by huge skyscrapers of hotels on one side and huge hills on the other, with all the birdlife it attracts in the middle.

We found a new walk along a narrow pathway hugging the coastline below houses and above the rocky beach. It had numerous view points looking down into the clear water below, some pretty yellow flowering mimosa trees and great views over distant headlands.

It’s good to return again and enjoy the town including free tapas with a drink, the wonderful long beaches and of course the sight of Penon de Ifach the name of Calpe Rock standing 332 meters high which dominates the surrounding area.


We retired at last and 2017 is the start of our next chapter. We now have a home on wheels in which to travel around Europe, follow the sun and whatever else takes our fancy.

One thought on “22nd February, Heading North

  1. Well – and there I was still in my PJs ! Glad to here that you are enjoying a nother break and startinf to feel a bit lazy – but I’ve got over that now and am heading for a hot bath – Keep on enjoying your selves – it makes us ‘stay at homes’ feel a bit better while reading of your fun ! I did go up North for a few days last week though but soon felt better when I got home – – –

    Lots of love and foot cream

    Chris aand Lynia Chris Butlin

    On Sat, 5 Mar 2022 at 16:16, Our motorhome adventures wrote:

    > travelsinourmotorhome posted: ” After coastal locations on the south coast > we headed in land, high up in The Sierra de Ricote in a rural area > surrounded by mountains. The area is dominated by open expanses, mainly > appearing uncultivated except for dormant grape vines and the fruit ” >


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