For the last 17 years I have spent my summer holidays camping in either Ireland or Scotland. We have never been abroad as a family and sometimes with the rubbish weather we get, our camping expeditions become endurance experiences rather than holidays. So when friends of ours from Ireland said they were renting a house in Spain for six weeks this year and asked if we would like to join them for a week or so we jumped at the chance!
This little beach may look a bit small and over crowded but it was actually really nice. All the the beaches along the Costa Blanca are packed but the nice thing about this one was that it was very relaxed and mostly all Spanish people just enjoying the sun and the sea.
The bay curved round at each side and there were little reefs just off to each side that we enjoyed snorkeling around. The water was the perfect depth for children to play in and as we had three young ones between our two families it was ideal for them. My older son and I enjoyed swimming out a bit to where it was deeper and cooler. Being in the shallows was like swishing about in a warm bath! A far cry from shivering in the Atlantic off Scotland or Ireland!
You can just about make out the beach bar on the right hand side of the photo above. We really enjoyed our cafe con leche here and tried our best to order everything in Spanish and taught the children to at least say please and thank you in Spanish which was met with lots of enthusiasm from the people that served us in shops and cafes.
Paseo a la playa, Punto Prima
We loved how the paseo's (walkway's along the seafront) would come alive at night with all generations of families out for a stroll, market stalls popping up along the way and bars and cafes to stop at made it all very interesting but laid back at the same time.
Paseo a la playa, Las Palmeras
Just before we left home we realised that another family we know well from Ireland were at their family apartment near Valencia at the same time as we were over there. We were based just south of Alicante and it was only a couple of hours drive up to Las Palmeras so they invited us up to stay with them a couple of nights.
This beach was just a walk down the street from their apartment and could be seen from the balcony.
Not every day dawned bright and dazzling. But it was always warm.
The sea was really rough here this day and we had a great time with body boards. You can see my son here preparing to be trounced by the waves.
Unfortunately the red flag went up and the life guards patrolled up and down calling everyone out of the water. We were disappointed but could understand why. The currents were fierce and the sand seemed to undulate under our feet. One minute we were knee high in water, the next we were up to our necks.
We all enjoyed seeing things unusual to us that we don't see back home.
Garden Oven Chimney's
Parrot's in the trees while we ate out one evening.
Lizards on the porch!
Beautiful bright flowers.
On our way back south after our visit to Las Palmeras we went via Xativa and visited it's beautiful castle perched high on the rocks above the town.
I liked this old path winding up past an olive tree. There were segments of the old roman path in places with the stones laid in a herringbone pattern.
This was the first time we had ever seen an olive tree close up!
Xativa was lovely and very quiet. The drive south through the hills was quite spectacular too.
Another castle we visited was Santa Barbara Castle in Alicante. You'd think that coming from Scotland we might have had our fill of castles but we hardly ever go to the ones on our door step.
It was late in the day when we got there but still 31 degrees! We saw the sun set and heard some traditional musicians play while girls in traditional dress danced. There were lovely wooden market stalls in the court yards and the whole place was very welcoming and relaxed.
Santa Barbara Castle, Alicante
Down by the marina below the castle we saw this impressive old pirate ship so we made our way there and found yet more market stalls, street entertainers and bars and cafes. The children loved eating out at a street cafe at that time of night with all the lights and noise and people around.
We met Edward Scissor hands as well hahaha.
All in all we had a very nice time. I'm not sure if I can go back to roughing it in a tent in foul weather. I do still love jumping into the freezing waters of the Atlantic Ocean but a bit of sunshine to warm up in afterwards would be nice.
I loved not having to wear a coat or even a cardigan and how quickly washing dries on a line!
I loved how the children were outdoors most of the day playing in the sea or on the sand or at the pool. It's so much better that being stuck indoors in the rain all holidays at home.
Mar Menor, The Small Sea.
I'm glad to be home and all fired up to get on with my work but I'm missing my cafe con leche a la playa.