When you've bought a holiday home, you've got to keep going there...
A spring week with just the two of us. Dexter was left with a house-sitter from Vancouver Island.
The number of times we have now been to El Campello means that there are fewer new things to take pictures of. We did however see some mist coming in from the Mediterranean, and found a lovely restaurant overlooking the harbour.
This turned into a brilliant holiday - thanks mostly to the company.
We flew out with our friend Phil who stayed until the Friday, and were joined on Tuesday by Jackie with whom we flew back - and whose birthday we celebrated during the week.
During the first few days we looked for new places to explore with Phil, who was of course on his second visit. First was Altea. We had visited the coastal side of the town before (some shops and a few restaurants, but the only beaches are a walk away), but were delighted to find the old town. It is on a hill, and has great views - many from the terraces of restaurants.
Another new place was the Cova del Canelobre, a large cave just inland from El Campello. While not the most interesting cave we have visited, the cool temperature was welcome.
Having picked up Jackie the previous evening, Wednesday morning was spent exploring El Campello's weekly market. The next few days included our usual afternoons on the beach, but we also went on a trip through the mountains behind the coast - including stops at the towns of Elche and Guadalest, and the waterfalls of Les Fonts d'Algar.
We celebrated Jackie's birthday the night before the actual day (because Phil S was leaving on the Friday afternoon) in La Cova restaurant, which we had discovered on our previous visit. On the day itself, we went into Alicante on the tram for a traditional (late) breakfast of hot chocolate and churros. After dropping Phil S at Alicante Airport, we took Jackie up to Santa Barbara Castle to experience the views along the coast.
We also took Jackie to Benidorm. Like most of our guests, Jackie was... impressed (?) by the number of northern Europeans packing the two main beaches.
Our final night in El Campello turned out to be a local festival. Although religious in nature, the celebrations for us consisted of drummers and dancers performing along the sea front, followed by a fireworks display, and finally a party in a local square.
This was the best holiday we've had for a while, thanks to our having such brilliant friends.
A few days after his 60th birthday, Phil and Dexter set off in the van once more. This time they came across the centre of France, crossing into Spain on the Mediterranean side. The final site before arriving back in El Campello was a lovely one on the beach at a small town called Lametlla del Mar, where Dexter found a doggy-friendly cove for his first Mediterranean swim of the year.
They were only in the apartment for a few hours before it was time to collect Steve from Alicante Airport. A second trip was made there two days later, in order to pick up Sue and Martin, friends from our hotelling days in Torquay.
We have now honed our tour guiding skills, and soon Sue and Martin were being whisked away on the tram to Alicante. After the city tour and seafront stroll, it was up in the lift to Santa Barbara Castle for the magnificent views. The following day we took the van up to the pretty (but touristy) mountain village of Guadalest.
On the third day we stayed in El Campello. An hour or two browsing in the weekly market was followed by a relaxing couple of hours on the beach. We were a bit more adventurous on day four, fitting in visits to both the pretty old town of Altea, and the slightly less pretty Benidorm. Sue and Martin seemed impressed by both. Being their last night, we took them to our 'special' restaurant with views overlooking the marina and coastline.
Having waved off Sue and Martin's flight, we realised that we had better find some new places to take people in the future. So, during our remaining week or so, we made some excursions to the south and west of Alicante. Firstly we explored Elche, which turned out to be quite a pretty town, which included a large park full of palm trees. Another expedition took us to the smaller town of Orihuela. We gave it the fifteen minutes it needed to explore and having failed to find anywhere to eat, headed to a nearby beach resort for a late lunch. We also found some pretty coastal walks for Dexter near Alicante.
The last few days saw the start of the annual 'Moors and Christians' festival in El Campello. With all the fireworks, Dexter at least was glad when, having dropped Steve off at the airport, he and Phil headed north once more.
On the way back through France Phil and Dexter found two new campsites. The first was just over the border with Spain, overlooking a beach in Saint-Jean-de-Luz. The second was in Normandy, and was situated by a woodland walk which led to the extremely pretty village of Le Bec-Hellouin.
The three of us set off in the camper for our second Spanish Christmas. This was to be a family Christmas, with Phil's sister Pat and brother-in-law Steve due to spend the festivities with us. But we managed to get a few days of serious relaxation in first.
From the moment we picked them up from the airport, Pat and Steve were happy to be the perfect tourists as we led them through the Alicante city tour one day, and visits in the van to Altea, Calpe and Guadalest.
We tried to have a traditional (vegetarian) Christmas dinner with crackers etc., but made sure that we managed lunch on the doggy-friendly beach south of Alicante. Just for the photo!
After dropping off Pat and Steve at the airport, it was just a few more days before we closed up the apartment and the three of us set off for Canterbury. On the evening before leaving however, Dexter was picked on by a neighbour's dog - requiring metal staples. Coming so soon after the attack on him in the fields near us, we're a bit concerned that he'll get a complex...
The new find on the drive back was yet another campsite in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, with a nice walk for Dexter around a lake.
Return to Holiday Index