L’Alcudia

After our excitement in Elche we were keen to visit the historic site of Ilici, which was the original settlement which became Elche.  La Alcudia, the hill, is the place name of Arabic origin by which the site of Ilici has been known since mediaeval times.  The site is owned by the University of Alicante and houses a museum and preserved arcaeological remains.  This is where the Lady of Elche was discovered.

A model of the Lady of Elche displayed amongst the ruins

This is a large site that spans over 6000 years of history.  It commenced with the Neolithic period (5000 BC) and was in use until the beginning of the Islamic period in the 8th century.  It’ most important periods were the Iberian, Roman and late Roman eras.

Until a few years ago, the site was a farm.  It also lies within Elche’s Palm grove, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  It is an unusual mixture of farmland, palm grove and historic monument.

Central area of the old city of Ilici – L’Alcudia
. Columns within the old city site

This was quite an exposed site and it was very quiet when we visited.  As it is a work in progress, it would certainly bear another visit in the future.

 

Jan 18 – ELCHE

Whilst staying at Guardamar, we had some excursions out around the area.  One of the places we had briefly visited was Elche which is a city immersed in a palm grove that was declared a Unesco World Heritage  Site in 2000.  The city is proud of its heritage and the Lady of Elche, discovered at nearby L’Alcudia in 1897.  More of that later.

We decided that there was enough of interest here to justify staying in the area for a few days.  We started our New Year by moving from Guardamar to Crevillent.  The town is unremarkable but, there is a good bus service to Elche and Alicante.  We stayed on a very pleasant campsite located in the grounds of a traditional Spanish hotel.  The hotel staff were friendly and welcoming and we could see why people might decide to stay for the Winter.

Our first excursion into Elche was to the old town where the Tourist Information centre was located.  Although it was a Monday, the TI centre was open!  We were provided with some directions for the most important museums and the palm groves.  We were also advised that as it  was Monday, the museums were all closed!  The Basilica de Santa Maria was supposedly open but not on this particular day.  We contented ourselves with exploring the famous palm groves and the Municipal Park with it’s fountains, dovecote, bandstand and visitor centre.  All very attractive and peaceful given its central position.

Centre of the Municipal Palm Gardens. Band stand in the background
Dovecote in the Municipal Park. There were a large number of doves making use of it.
Beautifully tiled fountain in the central park
Palm tree with several trunks

We had a memorable walk through the palm park as we went exploring and found a number of pathways leading to – a WALL!! Not to be beaten we managed to find a bit of wall low enough to scramble over and after consulting our excellent tourist map (ahem!), we navigated back to the centre of things.

Basilica de Santa Maria
Sculpture in the old quarter. Seemed to be something to do with women but I couldn’t find out what!

Since we had only whet our appetite looking at the outside of the Basilica and wanted to see the inside, we decided to return when everything was open.

Tuesday was a more successful day in respect of getting inside some of the historic buildings.  We also managed not to get lost amongst the palms.

The Basilica was open and was worth a visit.  There were many beautiful features and I ave included some here.

One of the extremely ornate alters in the Basilica
Close up of the detail. So much in this particular piece to marvel at
A beautiful model of the virgin Mary. Dressed in actual clothes rather than moulded plaster
Very detailed dome with gold centre piece
Close up of the detail in the dome

We also visited the Modern Art Museum, not worth hanging about for as we had done.  However, the walk along the Riu Vinlopo was interesting due to the extensive decoration

Part of the long walkway along the Riu Vinalopo
Riu Vinalopo. Now a very small channel for water with either side decorated in colourful paintworks

Following the tourist guide we also paid to enter the Callahora.  All we knew was that it had a spectacular decorated ceiling.  Well, what a sell, as they say.  We were no wiser after visiting but, there was a fairly ornately painted wooden ceiling!  Sorry, no picture available.  We were underwhelmed.

Altogether we had a couple of very enjoyable days in Elche and would recommend it.

Parque Montana

Just for a change of scene we have moved inland to Crevillente. This Natural Park is about 20 km inland from Alicante. There is a wild walking trail and far reaching views.

On the day we visited there was a party going on complete with very loud music.  However, we were happy to see the area being used by so many Spanish people.  We were the only non-Spanish parked there.

The trip to the park was along narrow, partially unmade roads.  Challenging at times for the driver!  Happily, it was not busy and there were signs to the parque along the way, which is not always the case.

View from Parque Montana

22 Dec – Alicante part 3

Yes, here we were again!  This time we made sure we arrived in time to visit the Modern Art Museum.  We even set the alarm for 0730, that was a shock to the system.

The Modern Art Museum is housed in the city’s oldest surviving civil building.  It is in the baroque style and is located next to the Basilica de Santa Maria.

Front of Santa Maria Basilica

It houses an important collection of 20th century art mostly donated by Eusebio Sempere.  There are works by Chillida, Picasso, Dali, Bacon and Miro among others.  We were struck by how extremely modern the building was inside.  It was free to visit and we were almost the only people in there.  There were also some modern art films running which captivated us for quite a long time.  Altogether an enjoyable couple of hours and worth the extra visit to Alicante.

After the bit of culture, we took our sandwiches down to the marina to soak up the sun.  This time we explored the far side of the marina complex and were struck again by the dominance of the castle.

Castle at Alicante viewed from the marina

We also treated ourselves to a cup of coffee sitting on a very comfy sofa on a marina side restaurant terrace.  We paid dearly for the experience, but it was rather lovely.

There are still places that we did not visit such as the matador museum, the secondary cathedral of St Nicholas, the palm park etc….However, what we did enjoy was the atmosphere and the buzz of the place.  We would definitely go to Alicante again.

20 Dec – Orihuela

This is another small Spanish town nestling in the shadow of the mountains with an old town which is worthy of a visit.  It is about 20 km from Alicante and is a pleasant drive along minor roads from Guardamar.

Our first success was to find a large car park on the edge of town where we had acres of space and there was no charge.  We struck out for the centre of town and the Tourist Information office (wait for it!!), but after much meandering and head scratching, we had still not located either.  A charming young man spotted our puzzled foreign faces, and asked if he could help.  In his much better English than my Spanish, he directed us to the old town square.  Once there we discovered the TI office, closed for the next 3 hours!  Oh well, as usual, we managed to amuse ourselves.

We went into the cathedral as it only cost 4 euros.  It was a good mixture of opulent and gloomy.

Extremely elaborate Gilded alter
A monstrance in the cathedral Treasury
Cathedral Choir Stalls enclosed by elaborate wrought iron railings

On our wanderings we had also stumbled across a Theatre called theTeatro Circo.  It was originally a semi-permanent structure for housing circuses.  It was installed in Alicante until 1907, when it was moved to Orihuela.  It was refurbished in 1995 and is now become a permanent fixture used for theatre and public acts.  It is located in a very attractive tree lined square.

Teatro Circo in Orihuela

To get to the old town we walked along the river which, in common with most in this region, is almost completely dried up.  At the old town end, there is a beautiful paved area beneath which the river seems to flow and wells up over the colourful paving.  Sadly, as the Tourist Information Office was not open, we still have no idea of the significance.  There is an interesting triangular clock tower on the bridge over this part of the river too but no explanation.

There are a number of very attractive buildings here and we could see what we believe may have been the town hall high up overlooking the town.  It looked a bit of a trek to get up to it and no way to ascertain if it was drivable in the van, so we contented ourselves with viewing it from  the square below.

Square in old Orihuela

As we could not lay our hands on any real information here, we had to be contented with strolling around the attractive streets discovering interesting buildings by chance, delicious coffee in a tiny back street cafe, and the pleasure of plenty of fresh air and exercise.  In common with a lot of places we have visited, it was not busy and many shops and the Tourist Information were closed when we were there in the afternoon.  In fact, the small towns are almost like ghost towns at this time of year and the only busy places are the restaurants that the locals frequent.

 

Lazy days based around campsite

Spending a whole month on a campsite has been informative.  We now know for certain that we prefer to be on the move regularly.  The thrill of exploring new places is what drives us.  Setting off from a fixed base is a bit limiting but, we have made the most of the time by exploring locally, relaxing, preparing for the next part of our itinerary after we return to UK in April, getting to know a few people etc.

There are people on the campsites all along this coast, who come to the same place every Winter.  They typically spend 3-6 months, book their same pitch in advance, turn their pitch into a home from home and get involved in activities such as petanque, line dancing, quiz nights and so on.  Although we could understand why they would do this, it depressed us to contemplate it.  It is not for us and we will not book anywhere in advance for so long again.

Places we went :

The beach

You can walk down to the beach along a dusty footpath which crosses a small river and leads to a palm plantation.  This is another part of the Nature Park that stretches all along the Southern Costa Blanca and protects the area from sand incursion.

There is a weir across the river where, we were alarmed to observe, there is a large collection of plastic bottles.  However, our fears were allayed when we were advised that this is a collection point for a recycling plant a little further along the footpath.

Collection point for plastic bottles washed down the river

When you reach the beach, there are wooden walkways to provide access without needing to walk on the protected dunes.

Walkway across the dunes near to campsite

From here you can see across the main river to the marina, mentioned in a previous post.  Sadly, there seems to be an awful lot of litter washing up into the inlet that does not seem to be part of the recycling scheme.  It is a shame as it spoils what would otherwise be a rather lovely nature reserve.  There are a variety of sea birds, cormorants, egrets and herons frequenting these waters but they are pottering about amongst the rubbish.

Rubbish strewn inlet from the sea

Inland countryside

We went exploring in the van and followed a road behind LIDL which took us through an urbanizacion (unsigned, so no idea which one!) and onto the road to Elche.  We had Elche in our sights for another day so, followed our noses and drove through a number of small towns such as Dolores, San Fulgencio and Rojales.  They are all set against a backdrop of mountains and have large, dry plains irrigated by a network of pipes and fen type drains.  There are also extensive reed beds and palm plantations which make the scenery very different to ours at home.

Our wanderings took us down to the main coast road and we were near to the lagunes at Torrevieja.  There is a nature park here “Lagunas de La Mata-Torrevieja”, with a visitors car park.  We decided to stop for a wander and to enjoy the view.  There is a viewing point with a few benches that certainly makes the most of the view with the mountains reflected in the lakes.

There are marked pathways for walking in the area which we explored on a subsequent visit but, the view above was the best bit.

La Mata

We met a couple at the Lagunas, who recommended La Mata as a nice little fishing village worth a visit.  We do love a recommendation so, we placed it on our must visit list.  On Boxing Day, we headed off to enjoy our lunch at said lovely fishing village.  Sadly, we did not find it particularly charming and headed on up the coast to Santa Pola.

Santa Pola

There are a number of beaches to visit here but, we rather liked the Platja del Carabassi.  This promenade overlooks the island of Tabarca which is the only inhabited island in the land of Valencia.  Berber pirates used the island as a plotting centre in the Middle Ages.  The area where we parked, known as the chain, is the closest point in the peninsula to the island.

Prom at La Cadena, Santa Pola

A bit of history regarding Tabarca

We followed the coast road from here towards Alicante and discovered a popular parking place for campervans.   We noted this for when we leave Marjal on 4 Jan.  A bit of free camping will be very welcome.

Santa Pola again

We made another visit to Santa Pola, as we had seen a sign to a port, but taken the wrong turning and got side tracked on our previous visit!  This time we got it right and ignored the sign to Playa Lisa, where we had gone before.  The port was well worth finding as it also boasts a large marina, and the mixture of high end yachts and working fishing boats is different from the usual offering.  We noticed some working boats coming into the port and walked round to have a look.  The crew were unloading their catch and a queue of people were there waiting to purchase fresh fish directly.

Punters awaiting the catch of the day at Santa Pola Port

There were also a cloud of gulls circling as more boats came in.

Cloud of gulls at fishing port as boats come in
Marina side of Santa Pola Port

 

On the way back we drove along the N332 which passes through the salt lakes, complete with pink flamingoes.  We stopped to take photos but the flamingoes were on the far lake on this occasion, so you will have to take my word for it that they exist!

Salt flats near Santa Pola
Salt mountain near Santa Pola

Alicante – Second Visit – 14 Dec

For my birthday treat, we went back to Alicante where we drifted around the shops and market stalls before enjoying a long lunch overlooking the marina.  My birthday present was duly purchased from one of the craft stalls.  Two lovely individual necklaces and matching earrings.

 

Marina view from restaurant terrace

This visit we managed to locate the Tourist Information office which is now at the railway station.  Very sensible place for it and if only the signs directing us to the Council Offices had been updated, we would not have wasted so much time looking for it!

We had intended to visit the Museum of Modern Art but, once again, we ran out of time and agreed to visit on another occasion.

It is easy to spend time in Alicante as it has such a lovely atmosphere and so much to see and do.  We realised that we would have to be more focussed if we wanted to get to the Art Museum.  A trip for another day.

We had to rush back a bit earlier as we were due to attend a meal and entertainment in aid of Help for Heroes back at the campsite.  It was a good evening for a birthday treat!!  Very reminiscent of Mess events.  Stand up bingo, raffle with masses of prizes and live music to dance to.

Alicante by bus

We discovered that there is a bus to Alicante from outside LIDL, just a short drive up the main road.  The reception gave us a timetable, just as well as the one displayed at the bus stop is out of date.  We like to take the bus into cities rather than take the van as it is not always easy to find uncovered parking.  We also get to look out of the window at the scenery rather than scanning for “helpful” road signs.

We were delighted with Alicante and made three visits during our stay at Guardamar.

Visit 1 – 12 Dec

This was an exploring visit.  Unfortunately, we could not locate the Tourist Information office so only had the map we picked up at the campsite.  However, we had done research via our Spain Guide and the internet.  The old town was easy to find and the Castell de Santa Barbara cannot be missed as it dominates the city from its position on the top of Mount Benacantil.  At a height of 166 metres, it is one of the largest medieval fortresses in Spain.

 

View of Santa Barbara Castle from Postiguet Beach promenade at Alicante

We walked along the Esplanada de Espana towards the old town, where there are a number of stalls selling various craft type goods.  The Esplanade itself was very attractive and bustling with life.

Esplanada De Espana, Alicante

We enjoyed wandering along amongst the stalls but, our aim was the castle.  Although it is easy to spot, it is not quite so clear how to get to it.  Eventually we spotted a sign that directed us to lifts.  We did struggle to locate the lifts up to the top, which we needed to use on account of Clyde’s unbending leg.  Eventually we struck lucky and arose in style almost to the top.  I had to pay 2.70 but Clyde went free (being an old codger!).  There is so much to wonder at and it really is one of the most impressive, and well preserved, castles that we have visited.  The views from all around were spectacular.

View from Santa Barbara Castle over Alicante
Clyde being daring at the castle!
View from the Albacar Vell part of the castle
Looking down towards the bullfighting museum in the old ampitheatre
View from the castle across to the mountains behind Alicante

We enjoyed our visit to the castle so much that we were there for several hours and had to dash for the bus home.  There was a lower level that we did not have time to explore so, there is something for another day.

Guardamar by Van

Our reconnoitre had identified easy parking next to the Parque Reina Sofia.

Name stone at Reina Sofia Parque, Guardamar

We decided to take the van and enjoy our lunch overlooking the park.  It did not disappoint as there are a series of small lakes running into each other via small waterfalls.  There is a good variety of wild waterfowl including peacocks.  We were quite surprised to see so many peacocks strutting about freely and also sitting in the trees.  This is a really lovely area for families as there is also a well designed childrens playground.

Lakes and waterfalls at Reina Sophia Parque complete with peacocks

This became one of our favourite spots in Guardamar.

7 Dec – Long Walk to Guardamar

The campsite is near to Guardamar but there is a small problem, it is the other side of the river!  Once more we discussed this dilemma with locals and were advised to turn right out of the site, along the river towards the road bridge, then across the river.

Off we set complete with sandwiches and water.  The walk along the river was OK with tall reeds obscuring much of the view.  However, we could see the tower blocks that line the route to the marina on the other side.  Eventually we reached the road bridge, no pedestrian access, what to do?  After some exploration we spotted a rickety wooden sign towards a paved crossing amongst the reeds.  Thank goodness we thought, nearly there.  Wrong again, we now had to walk even further, back in the same direction but on the other side of the river!

Not to be beaten we plodded on towards our goal and eventually reached the marina that we had previously admired from the other side of the harbour entrance.  We gratefully sank onto seats on the marina restaurant terrace and ordered a beer each.  At least it was not cold or wet.

Marina at Guardamar viewed from the restaurant terrace

Having revived ourselves, we sat on a bench and ate our sandwiches whilst deciding what to do next.  As our plan was to visit the promenade we made our way around the marina and onto the walkway through the palms and sand dunes.  It was another long walk and when we arrived at the prom it was siesta and nothing except eateries was open.  However, we found a town plan on a board and photographed it so we could use it to get back to base.

Our route back was via the park and the main street of the town.  All very pleasant but the Tourist Office was closed until 1700 and we were there at 1600!  We noted the layout of the town and park area and declared that we would bring the van next time!  We had to walk back the same way, which had not become any shorter, and were greatly relieved to arrive “home” before darkness fell.  We had walked 9.5 miles.  Our advisors were amazed to hear that we had WALKED to Guardamar.  They all go by bike – arghhhhh

Guardamar Del Segura

Guardamar is on the Costa Blanca coast.  It has 11 Km of sandy beaches protected by the dunes that run along the length of this coast from North to South.  Guardamar itself was founded in 1271 but an earthquake in 1821 caused the destruction and abandonment of the the old walled town.  Work to construct a new town designed by the engineer Larramendi followed on from the earthquake.  By the late 18th century the town started to suffer an invasion of sands.  The engineer Mira led a reforestation intitiative that overcame the threat of desertification in Guardamar.   The result of all this is a coastal woodland providing a backdrop to the dunes.  There are walkways all along this coast to protect the dunes.

The Palm tree walkway along the dunes at Guardamar

We walked along this route from the marina at one end to the town promenade at the other.  To be honest, it is not the most scenic route but there are a number of wooden walkways onto the beach between the dunes if a glimpse of the sea is required.

You can also take a number of different pathways to the housing areas and also to the Reina Sofia Park, which is most attractive.  More of that later.

4 December – On to Guardamar

As previously documented, we had booked ourselves into Marjal Guardamar Camping for a month from today.  Something made me wonder whether we were actually booked into the right site as we had been informed by fellow campers, that there is a bigger, sister site called Marjal Costa Brava.  I phoned to check and discovered that we were indeed booked into the wrong site!  Panic was averted as they were able to change our booking – phew!

It was lovely to be on the move again, albeit not very far.  The new campsite was quite acceptable with good facilities and the only issue was our pitch.  The people on the pitch we had been allocated had not left as expected and we had to endure 2 nights on a place next to the new holiday bungalows building site.  A small issue really and on Weds we moved to a huge sunny pitch.  Again we were surrounded by mixed nationalities, all very friendly.  Some come every year but there are others like us that like more variety.  We were not sure how we would feel about staying so long but decided to get out and about as well as joining in with some of the onsite jollities.

30 November -day trip to Benidorm

Groan ye not!  We just had to go to Benidorm as it was so close.  Once again we consulted the local oracles and took their advice to catch the tram.  Luckily we had asked the lovely reception lady for guidance as we had no idea where the tram stop was.  She gave us a map of Benidorm and pointed out the best and worst bits (The bit that the Brits go to!).  Also efficiently, we went for a walk to locate the tram stop the day before which was just as well, it was cunningly concealed down some rough looking urbanisacions.  These are what we would call suburbs.

Next day we set off complete with sandwiches and water, as you never know what might happen.  We found the ticket machine on the tram a bit confusing, but apparently had bought the correct tickets, as there was a fierce ticket inspector onboard and she spared us the glares and tuttings that other poor foreigners received.

Once at Benidorm we managed to find our way down to the old town via a pedestrianised old river bed.  It was quite a pleasant surprise as it was very attractive and even had an open air theatre.

Benidorm. Pedestrianised dried up river.
Open air theatre in the pedestrianised river bed on route down to the old town

The old town was extremely busy until 1400 when some of the little shops closed for siesta.  We treated ourselves to a cup of coffee in one of the cafes before heading down to the front to eat our sarnies.  The beach and marina were extremely pleasant and we wandered along to a peaceful and secluded small bay below the promontory.

More classy beach in Benidorm

We walked up the steps to the seafront church and a rather lovely area overlooking Benidorm Island where a man was playing a guitar and singing.

Attractive promontory in Benidorm

After enjoying the civilised part of Benidorm, we headed down to the bay that is frequented by hoards of British tourists.  At this time of year it is quite pleasant.  There were a few old folk on tandem motorised scooters and definitely more English tourists than other nationalities but nothing to be ashamed of.  I suspect it is rather different in the Summer.

The more touristy beach in Benidorm

Altogether a very enjoyable day out.  The tram back was fine, correct tickets again.

27 November -Trip to Finestrat

Whilst at Vila Joiosa, we visited the old town of Finestrat which was only a few kilometres away.  We took the van and set off in the direction advised by neighbours on the campsite.  Of course, they were all either cyclists or motorbikers!  That should not have mattered but, when it comes to small towns and parking a campervan, there is a difference.  We drove into Finestrat and up through the town and out the other side without finding anywhere to park.

Puig Campana mountain viewed from Finestrat

The resulting journey up the usual winding mountainous roads up around Puig Campana mountain, took us to a wonderful high road above Benidorm.  There were fantastic roundabouts complete with fountains and a parking place with far reaching views across Benidorm to the sea.  However, we did not stop as we were determined to get to Finestrat.  Now we had our bearings, we made another assault on the mission and found a space outside a covered car park right near the town.

One of the main streets in Finestrat complete with Christmas decorations

Unusually for us we had managed to get there before siesta and the Tourist Information centre was open.  We picked up a map and information and followed signs that took us around the best bits of the old town.  We enjoyed a wander around the narrow streets, popped into the  church where piped music broke the silence (rather nice), and called into a lovely little shop to buy savoury pastries and cake for our lunch.

One of the beautiful alters in the church at Finestrat
Finestrat church decorated by students

Now that we were practically locals, we managed to find our way back up to the parking place with the lovely views and put the kettle on.  Our spoils from the shop in Finestrat were greatly enjoyed with a nice fresh cup of tea.

One strange thing about Finestrat was that it has a beach that is not attached to the town.  Unless we were really mistaken, it was actually nearer to Vila Joiosa.  Still, we had not gone there for the beach so we never got to visit.  There is a street of houses hanging over the rocks apparently.  We missed that particular spectacle.  You can’t see everything.

22 November – La Vila Joiosa

Another destination on our way towards Alicante.

We had made a slight error in our calculations whilst in Northern Spain and assumed we would arrive in the Alicante region by early December.  Experienced Winter in Spain travellers had advised us to book somewhere for December as it gets very busy.  We innocents abroad soaked up this intelligence and booked a campsite South of Alicante for a month.  By the time we realised that we would be beyond there by mid November, it was too late to change.  So, we decided to make the most of it and give the places we stayed more of our attention than usual.

Our Spain guru from MMM, Andy Stothert, had kindly visited this area and written about it.  He advised that La Vila Joiosa was exactly that.  With great expectations, we studied our ACSI guide and identified a nearly new campsite at the very location.  We tipped up unannounced and were fortunate to be given a very pleasant pitch with mountain views.  We met some very nice people there too.

On the second day we decided to walk down to the old port.  It was quite a trek through some very unprepossessing back streets.  However, once there, the  seafront was interesting and there was a well developed promenade along to the old town.  In fact, the port end was not up to our exacting standards so we didn’t return.  I did spot this rather unusual figurehead on a boat that was under construction.

Boat under construction. Unusual figurehead!

Our next trip to the town involved a visit to the Tourist Information office, as usual in Spain, cunningly hidden!  The gentleman in there was very informative about the five chocolate factory shops/tours and not much else.  We accepted a map of the area and followed our unerring sense of direction towards the bits that looked interesting.

The old town is renowned for it’s colourful buildings.  There is not a lot more to the town but it is comprised of the typical Spanish old town narrow alleyways and has a charm of its own.

Vila Joiosa is known for its colourful houses in the old town
Old town Vila Joiosa. Government building

We had a couple of trips out from here and they are documented on the next post.

21 November – El Castell de Guadalest

We left Altea and the campsite full of geriatric Dutch and German folk.  The excitement was getting too much!

As we had been on the coast rather a lot, we were looking forward to a trip inland and upwards to El Castell de Guadalest.  This is a hill town based around a castle built by the Moors on a rocky crag.  It is an impressive sight as you approach.

Guadalest castle from below

We were directed to the lower car park and advised that we could stay overnight.  The princely sum of €4 was exchanged for 24 hrs parking.

We walked up to the village square and had a look in some of the rather touristy shops.  The highlight of the day was lunch at the terrace cafe overlooking the valley.

View from the terrace restaurant at Guadalest

Next day, after a very peaceful night with some friendly German neighbours to chat to next door, we went back to see the castle.

The castle had been beautifully lit up in the evening but we were unable to take any really effective photos.  However, we were glad to be staying close enough to enjoy the spectacle.

It was a good, healthy climb all the way up.  The entrance to The castle is through the family house Casa Orduna.  Also an interesting place (family home for many centuries),but overshadowed by the chapel next door.  As we approached, we heard singing and so, in we went.  There was a group of 4 men taking advantage of the acoustics for the sheer pleasure.  It was an amazing sound and all the better for being impromptu.

Inside the chapel at Guadalest

The climb up to the castle afforded ever changing persectives on the view.  The clock tower was a good measure of how far we had climbed.

Distant view of the bell tower at Guadalest
The bell tower from above. Half way up the castle steps

After another visit to the terrace cafe for coffee, we couldnt resist the view, we headed off to our next destination.