Moraira Alicante Spain September 2017
Once again old Annabelle (Tomtom) takes us into Moraira from the oddest route. Over a very narrow steep road and I can feel Chris holding his breath next to me. But we make it and are shown to a pitch right on the front of the camp site. It took a couple of backwards and forwards to position. ScootR as this was the a narrow funny shape pitch. But it had a lovely view towards the bay and it was just up the hill from our friends.
Moraira is on the Costa Blanca, the area that has become the epitome of the all in packaged holiday so loved by the travel companies, the Brits leading the charge with booze frenzied all night parties, sex as often as possible and turning bright red in the sun during the day. The tour operators and these tourists were initially seen as a godsend by property developers and economically deprived town councils. High rise hotels and apartment blocks rose overnight, often with no planning permission, bad workmanship and zero thought to aesthetics or long term sustainability, especially when the boom times slowed down and money started running dry.The result of this is that mile after mile and town after town along the coast has taken on a very seedy and tired look, the glitz and glamour and neon all looking a little worse for wear, an aged aunt trying to look twenty.
Thankfully the town council of Moraira, and to a degree the adjoining town of Calp , recognized this and introduced very strict planning laws, banning high rise buildings and ensuring that the indigenous trees etc were preserved. This has ensured that Moraira is one of the prettiest towns along the coast as well as having some of the most expensive property in Spain.
A permanent population of largely British expats and a mixture of Germans, Scandinavians as well as other Northern Europeans make for a pretty, fairly characterless and certainly not typically Spanish town.
Our first drink on the patio of one of the seaside bars did not bode well. I jumped the gun as I wanted to try an Agua Valencia, essentially a sparkling wine mixed with fresh valencian orange juice. In my best Spanish I asked the waiter if they served it. ‘Si claro! Always me forgetting the booodget and I was in big trouble at €19 for a jug!
That evening we spent a lovely time at Sue’s villa eating some delicious fresh mussels and Piementos Padron as well as tostado con tomate( bruschetta with tomato and garlic ) Lots of cava, well for us girls and a walk up the hill which now feels quite steep.
The next day with Sue and Kyla as our research guides and Chris driving Sue’s little rented Citroen Cactus we explored the area. We drove to the top of Cap de La Nau in Xábia/Javea. This is the easternmost point on the headland, apparently on a clear day you can see the Balearic Islands. The views from there are breathtaking so we took loads of pictures. We also found a place to admire the view for longer whilst having a drink.
The next stop was my favorite, Playa de la Granadella. ( Chris:not a fruit but a beach) Down some seriously steep winding roads to a little cove with a ‘secret’ beach. Not so sure that it was so secret as it had about 4 restaurants and bars and quite a few people but it was beautiful and not overcrowded. Big pebbles instead of sand but the girls are desperate for sunbathing and Chris (old man) has his chair. Let’s see if this stays in the blog after chris edits! (Chris:Not old, just sensible; Sue complained for days after about her “sore coccyx”)
We( I) was starving so we dumped our stuff on the beach and headed for the restaurant. I won’t bore you with all the descriptions but see the delicious chaperones below. Jámon with melon, chipirones, boucherones and patatas bravas to name a few all washed down with cold white wine and simply delicious. Not very cheap but not crazy. The rest of the afternoon was spent lazing on the beach and swimming in the warm sea.
After a short siesta we met up again to go for dinner. This time in the opposite direction, to Altea. On our way we detoured to Calpe, quite a biggish town very similar to Moraira. Altea is a village with the historic centro up a very steep slope.Like most Spanish villages it is centered around the church square.
The big question of course, where to eat? A combination of Parsley’s Pursuit of never eating in the busy square where all the menus are in 7 languages and the persistence of Sue led us to a restaurant called ‘ Xpirata’. By the way my contribution is finding the place as Chris and Sue both not that good with the map on the iPhone. I smiled charmingly at the waiter and asked for a table. “Of course” he says “I can help you at 10.30”. What? Really!( it’s already 8:30) But of course the thought of looking for another place persuaded us to say yes, and in fact time flies when you’re having fun and drinking sangria at the bar up the road!
10.30pm on the dot we were shown to our table. Again I can t remember all the dishes and it was so good I forgot to take all the pics ( and it was very dark) but the food was outstanding. More modern versions of tapas and really a treat. MNO I heard Chris say, yay ! ( to refresh your memories MNO stands for money no object). And to end it all off; a run to the heladaria by midnight to get an ice cream for dessert. Not that it looked at all like they were closing soon.
Friday was a slow day for us, we messed around the camp site doing admin. Arguing about who had used the most data on our wifi dongle.
One of the reasons Sue is in Moraira is to visit her South African friend Debbie and her English husband Steve, they have lived here for a number of years and are well entrenched in the ex-pat community. Sue had visions of moving here but seems to think that was a good idea from far but far from a good idea.
A lot of the people in this crowd are either former musicians or have taken up music and forming a band in their retirement; we have been invited to go along and listen to one of the bands that is playing at a local pub. Apparently an English pub with tonight’s menu being Fish & Chips with Mushy Peas or Fish & Chips with Garden Peas. Beneath the slightly stodgy batter it wasn’t all bad. The 6 piece band, a mixture of Brits and Swiss?, were all over 60 , reliving their youthful dream of being rock stars but surprisingly good. We all had a bit of a dance to our old favorites, whilst the people watching was priceless!
In between all of this we had to drop Kyla off at the bus stop. She was leaving us to make her way to Barcelona, then on to Brussels. I have to admire the ease and safety of being able to go on a Friday night in the middle of a town and catch a bus to a city hundreds of kilometers away all on your own. Would NEVER happen in SA!
We were driving to Valencia the next morning with Sue as our passenger to meet up with Selena and Sasha for a impromptu long weekend. Fun times ahead.
Disclaimer: All above opinions re the Costa Blanca are purely the authors, and bear no relation to reality