Why you should give me money

costa blanca

Restaurants at the Costa Blanca

This week I’m going to talk about some nice places to eat out near your villa.  There are many great restaurants and since the crisis is hitting everywhere they have become quite affordable, most of them offer “degustation” menu’s that give great value for your money.

This time I’ll be talking about one old familiar one, Eleven, at Moraira; and one I just recently discovered “La Trastienda” in Javea.

 

“La Trastienda” is located in the historic centre of Javea, at walking distance form villa Branca (it’s owners introduced me to the restaurant and I can’t thank them enough).

It advertises itself as a wine specialist and the ones they offer are indeed great.  Our site’s photographer, Ton Out, our local wine  specialist was positively delighted, and all he had was the house wine.  Now I could start pretending I understand anything about wines, but I really don’t.  I rarely like wine but the one I had from here I liked.  If you wan’t any more information I advise you take a look at their website.
Now food is something I do know a lot about and theirs is great.  They have a great selection of the traditional tapas but also normal dishes.  If you would really like a taste of Spain order the “Jamón ibérico de bellota”  dried ham of pigs fed only on acorns, a real treat.  My own recommendation is that you try the terriyaki salmon which is mouthwatering good.

The restaurant is not to big so be sure to make a reservation before going, calling +34 96 579 4864

 

 

Eleven” is a grand-cafe and restaurant near the castle of Moraira.    They have a modern and good tasting kitchen and both the terrace and the restaurant look great.

During the day and the evening you can enjoy a cup of coffee or some snacks on the terrace while you watch the sea and the castle of Moraira. If you want to eat you can choose from a  great a selection or take one of the menus.

I recommend the fillet steak a la Rosini and the goose liver raviolis.

You can make a reservation calling 0034 96 649 00 60 or from the website.


Background of the Moors and Christians celebrations.

Last week I said I’d go into the origins of the Moors and Christians festivities that are taking place in Moraira this week.   What they commemorate is the conquest of the Iberian peninsula by the moors, the “reconquista” and the almost 800 years of muslim history between them.

 

It started in 711. Most of the peninsula was part of the Visigoth kingdom.  Although the kingdom was almost 400 years old the Germanic leaders had never really bothered with mixing with the inhabitants, which is why there was barely any influence of the them in Spanish culture and language.  They also didn’t form a united country but rather many separate feuds belonging to different families. Most of the inhabitants were farmers and there was little to no commerce.  The leading Visigoth families had been involved for years in power struggles.   And finally, during the last 25 years, the plague had killed roughly one third of the original population.

Because of this it was fairly easy for the Umayyadan soldiers who landed on Gibraltar to take over the land, and in just 10 years they had reached beyond the Pyrenees.  Both the Jewish as the Christian population was better treated by the Muslims then they had been by the Visigoths making the conquest only easier.

The north of Spain, however wouldn’t be ruled by them for long. In 722 a revolt started in the North-Western corner of Spain and in 790 the entire Northern stroke of Spain, from the Atlantic ocean to the Mediterranean belongd to either the Kingdom of Asturias or of Pamplona.

But they do manage to control the rest of Spain and in 765 the independent emirate of Cordoba is formed.  The emirs don’t loose any time modernising their new territory.  Philosophy, medicine and the science of the ancient Greeks and Romans had all but disappeared do to Christian prosecution and now it returns to Europe after a huge detour along the Mediterranean coast.  With it came the Muslims own advances in algebra, arithmetic, astronomy and, most of agriculture. Huge irrigation systems emerged and old Roman aqueducts were restored and put to work.   The productivity of the farms multiplied allowing the growth and emergence of new cities.  Roads were rebuild, reactivating the internal market and commercial bonds formed with Constantinople and other important cities.

The Emirate kept growing in power and relevance and in 929 Abd-al-Rahman declares himself Caliph, with Cordoba at the same level of Baghdad.  The city grows to become the most important one of Europe.  With over a million inhabitants, a university, more than 70 libraries, a medicine school and  a ancient Greek and Hebrew translation schools, thousands of public baths and mosques, including the impressive Mosque of Cordoba.  Thinkers of all the continent flow to the city of Averroes and Maimonides.

But nothing lasts forever. In 1031 the Caliphate disintegrates in a large number of “taifas”, independent Muslim kingdoms. But Christian Spain was going through the same problems and consisted of many small countries.  There was no longer a conflict between a Muslim country and Christian one, instead, each little kingdom only looked out for itself. It was very common for a Muslim and a Christian kingdom to temporarily ally against another Christian or Muslim kingdom and people travelled with realitive freedom from one to the other.  the most important hero of the Spanish Reconquista, “El Cid” worked many years for the king of the Taifa of Zaragosa after being expulsed by his own king.
Slowly The Christina kingdoms started to outnumber the Muslim ones and unite to form larger and more powerful kingdoms.  In 1300 only the kingdom of Granada was still Muslim and this two was conquered in 1492, officially ending the “Reconquista”.


Moros y Cristianos in Moraira 2012

 

 Next saturday the celebrations of Moros y Cristianos will start in Moraira.

During this festivity there a number of processions and acts performed by different groups (cabilas) of Moraira.  Cabilas are composed by inhabitants of Moraira and they belong to either the side of the moros or the cristianos.

The first open act will be that saturday at 23:00 with the flag presentation at the main square.  Each cabila will present it’s insignia to the king and queen.

The next days there will be a several acts like a jazz and folk concert (Sunday 19:00) a children’s drawing competition (Monday 19:00) a choir concert in the church (Tuesday 21:00) and a concert of regional instruments ( Wednesday 22:30 in front of the church).

On Friday the 15th the celebrations really start.  At 13:00 the first “pasacalle” through the streets.  A pasacalle is a procession in which both members of cabilas and visitors can participate.   Members of the cabilas are  not wearing any impressive costumes.
At 13:30 there will be firing of muskets.   At 19:00 at the church the fila’s will make the flower offerings.

At 23:00 at the castle of Moraira the moors will land on the beach and will conquer the castle.   This one is really worth seeing, and with the reconquering of the castle and the gala forms the centre of the celebrations.

Saturday 16th 
At 9:00  the “despertá”  qualified members of the fila´s will walk through the streets of Moraira firing Muskets.
At 10:45 there will be another procesion.  At 12:00 a mass in the church and at 12:45 more muskets

At 19:30 at the castle starts the “reconquista cristiana” a event you shouldn’t miss.

At night is the “Noche de cabilas”, in which the town turns into a huge party and there is drink in all the cabilas.

Sunday 17th
The morning begins with muskets a 9:00.  At  11:30 there is a pasacalle for children and at 13:00 for adults.  At 13:30 more muskets.

At 19:00 starts the Gala procession. In this one the the different cabilas march through Moraira accompanied by music and wearing their finest gala costumes.  Each cabila tries to out do the others and are often accompanied by horses, camels, jugglers and will perform dances.   After the Gala there will be fireworks.

 

If you are staying at one of our holiday homes near Moraira, or even near Javea or Altea Hills you should not miss these typical festivities.  The Conquista, reconquista and Gala are the most impressive and fun to see.  If you can see only one it should be the Gala.

A few pointers:

  • This is Spain, this means that most events will start later than that they are planed,15, 30 minutes, maybe even an hour.
  • The muskets make a real racket and smaller children may get scared.  There is absolutely no danger since they are shooting blanks.
  • There are chairs available during the Gala, but unless you are willing to get there several hours before it starts they will be occupied.
  • The Gala lasts many hours, well into the night.
  • If you don’t want to see the entire Gala, the costumes of the moors are by far the most impressive ones.  They march during the second half.
  • Most of the restaurants and bars will serve food and drink to take away.

Next week I will talk a bit about the origins of the festivity.


June

L'ampolla, Moraira, Alicante, Spain

In a two days it will be the first day of June.  For me, that means  the summer is here.  Now I know officially the season doesn’t start for another few weeks but in Spanish schools June was the month where you started to have only half day classes.  Instead of classes ending at five like they usually do you could go home at one and we no longer ate at school.

So it’s summer and that means half of the year is gone. I find this idea much more prone to induce reflection than the end of the year, which doesn’t particularly interest me.  Regardless, if I felt like going over my life where total strangers could read it I would have a personal blog, which I don’t so that says enough.

 

In all honesty I think June is the best day to spend your holidays at the Costa Blanca.  It’s warm and you no longer need a jumper or a jacket but it’s not so hot that you can’t do anything but lay under your air-conditioning with your head in the freezer.  Also the town and beaches aren’t filled with tourists yet so you can go to your favourite restaurants without having to make a reservation and all the nice spots on the beach are still available.  And don’t forget that it’s much and much cheaper.  Plain tickets, car rentals and yes, villa rentals, are half the price they will be in July and August.  I guess September also has these advantages but in that month you can get a few days of rain, or even an early “gota fria” which is more or less the closest thing to the Great Flood you can get without it actually being the end of times.

And June also has a few interesting festivities.  During the second week we celebrate “Moros y cristianos” in Moraira and at the 24th it’s the “nit del foc de Sant Joan”.  But I’ll talk about them next week.

And of course if you want to spend your holidays at the Costa Blanca our rental villa’s are the best choice.(Because I say so)  Although there isn’t all that much free any more.  The first week of Vista Ibiza, with heated pool for the coldish; the first two weeks of Villa Hermosa for the really big groups and the last week of Alegre,  my personal favourite.  If you’re looking for a last minute reservation I’ll give you a 20-25% discount on the rent.


Splash Splash

water slide at water park aqualandia benidorm

It has gotten really hot really fast here. In just a few weeks we have gone form 20ºC to 25ºC, soon I might even consider to go out without a jacket. (Hey, when you’re from here you don’t think of short pants until the birds start dropping dehydrated from the trees.)

I have been doing some research to flesh out our rather poor information section about the Costa Blanca, it’s really fascinating how little you get to know about the place where you live, I never had any idea it was possible to para-glide around here, and there is also a new paintball facility group thingy. After watching Barney Stinson and the boys from Big Bang playing it I am rather curious. I’ll try to round up some friends, see if can give it a go.

water slide at water park aqualandia benidorm

"Big Bang"

Aqualandia, one of the things I did know about, has just opened again for the summer. I’m pretty sure this is the oldest water park around here, I have such fond memories of that place. Of course when I was a kid it was much smaller than it is now. They only had the wave bath and the amazon where my parents used to lay in the shadow while my sister and me run around. They had de rapidos, the “pistas blandas”, the zig-zag and the kamikaze. the last one was rather scary and my sis and I used to dear each other to go down it. For all those of you who have never been to the place, the amazon is a large cicle around the wave bath with streaming water, the rapidos are a bit hard to explain, you need a large rubber swim ring, and then you go down a series of small waterfalls. The fun thing is trying to stay on the same level as long as possible and the lifeguards went around pushing people towards the waterfalls. The “Pistas blandas”, the zig-zag and the kamikaze are all types of water slides.
They didn’t have the kid zones they have now and, judging from the difficulty with which we have to extract my baby sister from them, are really great. There are also new water slides, one of the coolest has the unfortunate name of “Black Hole”. It involves a closed, black water slide and you go down it with a two person’s swim ring.

If my little trip down memory lane convinced you two go here are some tips:

Get your tickets over the internet.
Get there early (the park opens at 10:00) and get the best sun lounges.
Take water resistant, high factor sun cream and apply it often, apply it everywhere.
You can buy food and drink in the park, and it’s actually not that bad for park-food, but you should still take water and make sure the kids drink lots of it.
It’s possible to buy a combination ticket for park Mundomar, next to it, a zoo specialized in birds and fish with a great doplhin show and with atraction park terra mitica. All of them are worth a visit so it’s an offer worth considering. Still, if I had to choose one of those three I would go to Aqualandia.

See you next week.


Because the weather is nice

Sun costa blanca

Time for my second post, exactly 7 days after the first one! yay! party for me! …

Okay, first point of business, I changed the tag line to a more to the point description of what this blog is for.

So why give me money? well, you can just give it because you’re generous but the main idea is because you want to rent one of the lovely villa’s I rent out.  The question is then, why would you want to rent one of them?

The first answer is the post title, because the weather is really, really nice here.  Right now, when I look outside the window it’s sunny and 22ºC, or 72ºF. Now I don’t know where your from but in London its 14º, in Berlin it’s 12º and in Oslo 11º.  Of course it’s 26º in Phnom Penh so if you’re from Cambodia that’s not much of an argument, I guess.
Anyhow, the main reason people come to spend their holiday at the Costa Blanca is because of the weather.  The winters are mild and summers are warm without reaching the sweltering heath you get  here in Spain once you leave the coast.  If you’re really into that kind of thing and have nothing better to do you can check out this weather information I ripped of the AEMET (that’s the Spanish Meterological Agency).  Apparently we only get one day of frost a year which doesn’t happen in any of the 12 months, go figure. (Yes, I know how that works, it’s a joke people, chuckle)

To get you in an even better mood I’v embedded a widget that, if everything works like it’s supposed to will show you the weather we’re currently having

 

Jávea Weather


 

Of course with my luck the only person to ever read this will do so on one of the (/goes to check chart) 37 days (really? that seems to few) of rain we get down here.


First post

Okay, this is the first post of this new blog I’m starting today.

I run a website to rent luxury villas at the Costa Blanca (that’s a part of the Mediterranean coast of Spain, just so you know).  Now at least part of my clients should come from Google  search engines, and the Spanish site is doing pretty good at Goo  the search engines.  The Dutch pages is rather mwah and the English one is really ugh.

So one of the often repeated good strategies is to have a business blog, which is supposed to boast ranking and attract clients.  I don’t really sea how someone interested in renting a luxury house for a few weeks during his holidays might be interested in a blog with random ramblings of … well.. me, a chick living at the place where he might be interested in going. Personally I’d rather look at some static pages  with good information (I have several of those which are not to bad, and I will expand once the days start having 34 hours) and perhaps some reviews…
As for the ranking of my sites, we’ll see… I’m not holding my breath in all honesty.

Anyhow I’m going to try to write some 300 words a week for a while, see how long I can keep that up… probably not long since I have the consistency and atentionspan of a three year old.

 

So the plan is to fill this blog with all the reasons why coming to spend your holidays hear at the Spanish coast will fulfil all your wildest dreams. But only if you rent one of my villas. And your dreams don’t include snow.  We had snow here once (real snow, the one that doesn’t evaporate the second you look at it), it was several decades ago, many people here have pictures of their house covered in snow from that one time, it was nice…  By the way did I tell you it’s 26ºC here right now? See? I told you this was a good place to come for a holiday.

Also, all hail to out Google overlords!