2016 – The year of health, happiness and beautiful places….10/1/16

Wanting to ensure that Christmas wasn’t just about the food and drink, Jorge and Yolanda took us up into the mountains on the 28th December for a picnic. We drove to a village near Alcoi, parked the car and walked up to Pla de la Casa which is part of the ‘Friars’ mountain.

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It was a beautiful walk and although it was a little overcast it wasn’t windy which lead us to basque in the sun whilst eating our picnic at the top for a little longer than we should have as it was starting to get a little fresh on the way down πŸ™‚

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Yolanda and Jorge had left Elena (their youngest) at home, but brought Miguel (9) and Carlos (10) with for the walk and bearing in mind they probably ended up doing 25% more than us on the way down as they kept running into the woods, they did amazingly well for a 12km round trip and just under 800m climb. They did both fall asleep on the journey back which apparently is unheard of ….. strangely Yolanda and Jorge are really keen to go out on another walk soon πŸ™‚

Neither Keith nor I have ever had big expectations for New Year’s Eve, it is just another night, but always nice to spend it with good friends and this year wasn’t a disappointment. We bought lots of lovely cured meats and cheeses, good wine, beer, some cider (and let’s not forget the twelve grapes) to toast in the New Year and headed to Santi’s flat with Manolo and Alfredo. Tradition has it in Spain that on each of the twelve strikes of mid-night you eat a grape, how they manage to do it in line with the strikes of the bell I don’t know as I ended up shovelling down six and then gave up for fear of indigestion and ate them at my own pace…… Next year I think perhaps we leave them out of the fridge so they aren’t quite so cold and possibly buy some slightly smaller grapes?????

It was a good night and the time flew by with Elisa and Miguel arriving at 00:30 and after a couple more drinks we headed out to a local bar/club … I would like to have said that we are obviously far too old for clubbing on New Year’s Eve, instead fear that we may have even brought down the average age in the first bar we went to which was a bit worrying. The music and ambience was definitely a little superior in the second venue – or perhaps that was just the effect of a long day/night.

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After rolling into bed at 6am we didn’t actually think about breakfast until after 1pm when Keith cooked up a feast of pancakes (yes twice as many as normal) to help get us through to dinner….. The envy of everyone around us, although as our neighbours are from Holland and Belgium they were pretty much getting ready to eat their dinner when we were finishing them.

Having spent much of the last six weeks eating and drinking out we are now craving a bit of a detox and thankfully managed to cram in a couple of delicious home made casseroles before Alex (Keith’s nephew) and Lauren arrived on Monday for four nights.

Although we left them to see the wonderful sights of Benidorm on their own, we introduced them the festivities of the three kings arriving – Traditional Spanish Christmas for kids (Santa has only recently been introduced to Spain) – as well as taking in some of the local delicacies in San Juan, El Campello and Alicante! Alex even managed to get Keith out on the golf course to give him a good whipping πŸ™‚

With the festivities now over – and Keith full of cold – we had one final push yesterday taking in a ‘Tardeo’ before things now start to calm down for a couple of weeks. Alicante has recently introduced the ‘Tardeo’ concept which means going out for a few drinks (and a dance) from mid-afternoon. It appears to be quite popular with all generations and makes better use of some of the bars and clubs that don’t normally open until 1am, although it was a little odd leaving a night club at 19:30….

As we were walking back along the beach this morning I decided that this was the picture to summarise the new year …….. Health, Happiness, Sunshine and a lot of core strength πŸ™‚

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Happy New Year everyone, let’s hope it is a good one.

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4 thoughts on “2016 – The year of health, happiness and beautiful places….10/1/16

  1. Always lovely to have some news… Happy new year to you both. Looking forward to seeing you…
    Lots of love,
    Magali, Sylvain from La Ferrière aux Etangs and Daniel from Bagnoles

    • Lovely to hear from you – I hope all is well and that you are not suffering too much from the huge quantities of rain that appear to be hitting Northern France and the U.K.
      We are heading off from here on our quest to explore East Europe in March so if you fancy a trip East, let us know πŸ™‚
      Take care and love to all.

  2. Hi Guys.
    Seems you are well and still enjoying your travels. Where are you now? We have just had 3 nights in Caceres making our way south. Just had a full day in the Monfrague National Park, Its quite awesome to stand on top of a hill and have a 100+ vultures soaring above you (close enough to hear the wind through their wings ) Our next stop is El Rocio. We are heading for a bit of culture and history but only for a few weeks as we have to be back in the uk late March, I am best man at my brothers wedding. It would be great to catch up with you sometime! Would be great to hear from you oh and Happy New year DV&C

    • Happy New Year.
      Glad to see that you have made it away as we thought you were staying local this year to focus on being ‘Councillor Dave’ πŸ™‚
      Isn’t Caceres pretty? We didn’t make it to the Monfrague National Park, but will add it to the list for next time as we only skimmed the area. The whole area north of there including Salamanca was beautiful.
      El Rocio is an interesting place as mentioned previously, I hope that you find it on a weekend with something going on as it is difficult to describe the athmosphere in the town when there are so many horses there. I think that you will probably enjoy going out into the National Park though more, and the ACSI campsite is located really well for seeing wildlife.
      If you are passing through Jerez – remember to pick up a couple of litres of ‘Jerez- Crema’ πŸ™‚ That was the one that is just like a Tawny Port and the ‘local’ version we bought was roughly 6 euros for 2 litres!! We stayed in Cadiz which is also lovely, although it has changed a lot since we were there last.

      We are still over in Alicante and are still surprised at the beauty of the mountains around here. Every time we head out for a walk the scenery varies dramatically and although there isn’t a huge amount of wildlife the flora and fauna are stunning.

      We are planning on moving on from here in about 6 weeks time moving as quickly as possible to Slovenia assuming the weather is ok. We then still plan to do a bit of Eastern Europe before heading up to Scandinavia for June/July, but we are making the assumption that something is going to have to give as we always go slower than expected πŸ™‚

      So let us know if you are planning on passing our door whilst you are in Spain as we would love to see you and crack open a couple of bottles with a Bar B Q.

      Take Care and Hopefully see you soon

      G&K

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