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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.


Day out in Valencia, Costa Blanca

The dad of a friend of ours gave my sis a ticket to the Formula 1 training tomorrow in Valencia.  She’s been a fan of Fernando Alonso for years and of Ferrari since he joined them.  She has been wanting to go since they started to hold the race here in Valencia, but the price has been holding her back (plus the heat and the fact that you don’t really see that much being there).

Now even if you don’t care much for car races Valencia is great place to visit.  If you fly to Valencia you might want to consider spending the rest of the day here.
By the way, most people fly via Alicante but Valencia is only half an hour further away from your villa and because its a smaller airport the flight is usually cheaper.

Valencia is the capital of the “Comunidad Valenciana” and it’s very old. A decade ago, when they started to build the metro they unearthed a lot of Roman ruins  from more than two millennia ago.  The golden age of the city was in the fifteenth century, before Spain and Portugal went overseas and colonize America and Asia and the Mediterranean was the centre of  trade with Byzantium, Italy and the Muslim countries.
The center is of this time and the buildings are magnificent.  If you start of from the train station “Estació del Nort” you can continue  north to the “plaza del ayunamiento” with the great post-office and the town-hall.  Further North is the the “plaza de la reina” with the cathedral and to the  west is the market. Around the center there are still some remains of the old city walls, particularly the entry doors are well preserved.  At the other side of the river is the palace, now a museum and the royal gardens.

These are the main buildings but there is much more to see, if you go to this page you will find several tours around the city.  You can  also take a bus ride .

Besides the old center you can also take a bike ride along the river.  Valencia used to be split in two by the river “Turia”  but now it has been moved around the city.  The riverbed has been turned into a huge park, great for walking or taking one of the “valenbicis” (rental bikes).  As you near the coast you will get at another great attraction of  Valencia, the “Ciutat de le ciencies y les arts”


This complex has been completely designed by Calatrava, it has an opera, an Imax cinema, a cience museum, a tennis hall and a huge aquarium.  But it’s worth to go here even if it’s just to walk around and admire the buildings.  Even if you’re not that much into modern architecture this place will still take your breath away.

 

Besides the sight seeing there is much more to do.  ”Canovas” is the restaurant zone (we recommend Mondrian) and “El carmen” is the party zone.  For a taste of Valencia you should try a “horchata”.

During the summer the city is filled with little posts that sell it on the street but to taste the real, traditional horchata you should go to the horchateria Daniel at the Avenida de la Horchata


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.


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.