Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Spanish rock climbing and hospitality

A evening out in Calpe (fabulous seafood restaurant!)

Our ‘holiday’ continues. Tea brought to us in bed most mornings by Elizabeth, lazy breakfasts and then the difficult decisions of what to do today. Whatever it is we’re usually back by late afternoon for drinks and nibbles on the terrace, followed by E’s excellent cooking (roast pork, roast potatoes and three veg last night, followed by nispero crumble and custard) and plenty more wine until late into the evening.

Dean, Sarah and Jackie at the crag
We’ve been out for a couple of days rock climbing and had the added pleasure of meeting up with our old friend Dean Beard and his partner Sarah today.  We know Dean from years ago as a member of our Solihull Mountaineering Club, but he disappeared about 6 years ago to follow a new career as an outdoor expedition leader and now leads groups of people to climb such exotic peaks as Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua and Island Peak in remote and inhospitable parts of the world. Facebook is a wonderful thing and we happened to see a post he put on to say they were off to Alicante for some Spanish rock climbing for two weeks, so we replied to his message asking if they wanted to meet up and, today we did. 
The view at the crag. Benidorn middle distance, Mascarat gorge and the start of the Bernia Ridge on the right
Dean tackles the crux at the top
It was great to catch up, but there was so much talking to be done that rock climbing became a bit of an aside, but we still managed about half a dozen routes at a crag called Toix, which overlooks the sea by Mascarat gorge and out to Benidorm in the distance, so the company was good, as were the views and the climbing!

While Sarah belays
And Jackie consults the guide book to decide what climb she's doing next

Dean looks like 'Mr Cool' as he abseils down his climb
Dinner on Jane and Michaels terrace
As well as E’s cooking we’ve also had the added pleasure of invites for dinner to Jane (E’s sister) and Michael’s and to Dagmar and Michael’s house, who live across the road to R & E. It’s quite amazing how people live around here, Jane and Michael rent a quite exclusive apartment 5 minutes walk away for a very reasonable price (about the same price as we rent our smaller house for in Alvechurch). It has a huge terrace/balcony with fabulous views (similar to those at R & E’s house), a large lounge, three bedrooms and, to top it all, free use of a massive outdoor common area, beautifully landscaped with three swimming pools and views to die for. We have to say to ourselves, why live in England when you can have all this for the same price as a small house in England, with as much climbing and mountaineering as anyone could reasonably want and with sea and sand nearby?

Jackie, Elizabeth and Michael on their terrace/balcny

And look at the common outdoor area (this is only a small part of it)
Brian doing a bit of touch-up painting, inside and out
Wow, look at Jackie with make up on, ready for Sunday lunch
Dagmar and Michaels house, opposite R & E’s is modern, and similar in size to R &E’s with, funnily enough, almost identical views. Michael cooked a BBQ outside by the pool while we relaxed in easy chairs taking in the view, sipping wine and eating excellent nibbles and the whole thing going on from Sunday lunchtime until we went home at about 21:30 having talked almost non-stop. They are a great friendly couple and have travelled quite a bit, so we could discuss what we’ve done and get some tips for our future travelling from their experiences.

Michael and Dagmar at the BBQ
The view of the ridge from their terrace

LtoR: Richard, Dagmar, Jackie, Elizabeth and Michael
Teddy hasn't been neglected!
Our time here has been fabulous, but it’s going quickly, we leave for Bilbao on Monday next to catch the ferry back to the UK, but before then we have a coach trip out with R & E on Thursday and a night out at Benidorm Palace on Friday night for Jackie’s birthday, which apparently is on par with the Moulin Rouge in Paris, so we can’t wait for that. If time allows we may even meet up with Dean and Sarah for a bit more climbing. It’s all very exciting!

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