I have just returned from a week walking in the Costa Blanca. see photo album. Costa Blanca Walks.
We drove out to Relleu and walked through the quiet village where many of the houses were painted in lovely pastel shades. We climbed up to the battlements of the old castle from where there were good views looking down on the old town and some of the ugly new developements. Jim led us on a circular walk along quiet valleys and up to a ridge where we paused for lunch. We could look across to Sanchet where we would be walking later in the week.
We drove out along the CV70 past Polop before turning off on a narrow track heading towards the cliffs of Sanchet. We parked close to a point where the track was chained and climbed up through thickets of bamboo and other prickly vegetation towards the sheer cliffs. Up ahead there was a small finca and close by a dovecote. We paused to watch a pair of Bonelli’s eagles circling overhead. No doubt attracted by the birds in the dovecote. As we approached the cliffs there appeared to be no way forward but we turned left to follow a path hugging the base of the cliffs. We then had to negotiate a steep rocky descent before climbing up along an old Mozarabic trail. Once again there appeared to be no path but the trail zigzagged its way up the hillside. In the sunlight the sheer cliffs of Sanchet were most impressive with varying shades of orange and yellow in the rocks. We climbed up to the head of the valley where we could look down on the monastery. At the top of the rise we could look across to the Castellets and Puig Campana.
We made our way round to the left following the contour line until we intersected the path from Polop to Finestrat close to the shepherds cave. From here we descended to our vehicle passing the Casses de Dei, God’s House. This is an old storehouse which used to have a large cross on the wall. However it appears that God has ordered a makeover. The building has been painted light blue and there is a basketball basket attached to the wall.
Tony and Janice joined us on a boat trip to Calpe.
Calpe is dominated by the large rock, the Penon de Ifach which is 332 metres high and consists of calcareous rock.
The rock and the surrounding area were declared a National Park in 1987 due to the rich wildlife and indigenous species. There is an interesting museum situated near the foot of the rock containing many exhibits showing the range of wildlife and vegetation that exist in the area.
From the information centre a path leads to the top of the rock. At first the path goes through typical Mediterranean vegetation dominated by lavender but as we climbed higher there were pine trees growing nearly horizontal due to the prevailing wind. Just above the 200m point we came to a tunnel which led through to the other side of the rock. From here the path continued to the top of the rock but in places it was quite exposed. Although a rope had been fixed to the cliff wall the path was over smooth limestone and we considered it best not to continue.
Back in the town we explored the region along the Salinas and the promenade where work is still continuing to repair the damage caused by the storms in 2007.
LA CRUZ AND THE SIERRA HELADA
Sunday morning and I decided to do a short walk up to La Cruz, the large cross on the hillside overlooking Benidorm.
I continued up onto the Sierra Helada and climbed to the top of the first cliff to reach a small cairn. The spot known as El Mendivil is a good viewpoint and I could look down on Benidorm and inland to the surrounding mountains of the Las Marinas.
We headed out through the village of Bolulla and onto a narrow road to park in a small parking area beneath the crag upon which the castle is situated.
Jim led us on a circular walk into an isolated valley. When I was last here in the spring of 2004 there was blossom on the almond trees but today the trees were bare.
Some of the land was still being cultivated but it was obvious that large areas were now untended. In this isolated area it was hard to imagine that we were only a few miles inland from the hustle and bustle of Benidorm
We stopped for lunch near a ruined building and examined an old well which even at a height of 1000m still contained water. Our return was along a narrow track through gorse. We could enjoy end on views of the Sierra Bernia which looked quite different from this angle.
We ended the walk with a drink in the bar in Bolulla.
A marvellous holiday.
San Miguel at one euro a pint.