Friday, 10 November 2017

Altea, Spain – Days 18 to 24

Jackie abseils with Mascarat gorge and the Bernia Ridge in the distance
Another week here in Spain and numerous bottles of wine and beer have been drunk and plenty of good food. It’s been hard work as well (I have the blisters to prove it), but mixed in with a bit of play in the form of mountain walking, rock climbing and socialising with friends and family.

Jackie, Jane, Michael, Elizabeth and Richard enjoying pre-dinner drinks
There’s been a pretty dramatic downward shift in temperatures this last week though, still mainly sunny with a few partly cloudy days, but a cold wind making daytime temperatures between about 17C to about 22C and night times into single figures of 8 or 9C so, although it’s still hot in the sun in the daytime, gone are evenings of sitting outside after dark and, last night the first fire was lit in the lounge. The bonus of this though is that the cold wind is the result of a low pressure sitting over the Alps bringing the first fairly heavy falls of snow onto the ski resorts, so it’s looking good up there. We’ll keep an eye on that and head up there when it’s all open.

Richard looking nervous as the builders unload their materials
Jackie and her dad peering over the balcony
The hard work on the swimming pool has been continuing, the earlier wire brushing of the old grouting was not sufficient in certain areas so serious scraping to get the old grout and mould out all the way round the curve between the walls and the bottom was required using various screwdrivers to get in. Taking into account that the tiles are less than an inch square there was a huge amount of screwdriver work needed.
And they are off with the first bricks in place
Back, shoulders, fingers, stomach muscles and skin on fingers all suffering, but the job is done, the re-grouting done and briefly looking good before the builders turned up on Wednesday to build the new steps to give easy access to the pool. They have worked amazingly quickly and, as I write, they are virtually finished having built five steps, re-plumbed one of the water jets and tiled in two days – impressive work! All that’s needed now is a new rail to be fitted once it arrives. Interesting for me to watch and the balcony gives a great overview of how they are doing, but they probably didn’t much like being watched. I attach a few photos of their progress as I’m sure our readers will be very (yawn) interested (is that the time?).

Jackie and I went for a coffee in town with Elizabeth leaving Richard in control at home
Its all going on!
Anyway, we’ve been out on a few walks into the mountains and the cooler but sunny weather is really ideal for energetic walking (but sunscreen is still required) and even out rock climbing in direct sun is no longer a problem, maybe a bit hot in sheltered spots, but nothing to complain about, it’s almost perfect weather for that.

But they make amazing progress. Here he is repiping the water jet
Bit of an incident on today’s walk, I quite fancied a steep walk up from Algar up to do the west summit of Pena Severino, which is the very last, relatively insignificant peak on the Bernia ridge, which we’ve never done. It’s not actually part of the ridge, but is a separate much lower point, but I really want to tick it off. Jackie thought an easier walk to see the waterfalls at Algar might be nice, which I’ve also never seen and quite fancied. The falls are very touristy and relatively short, but are worth the €4 entrance fee, so I agreed to that and then casually mentioned that we could continue up the mountain path towards the Pena Severino summit afterwards if we fancied it…

Still the same day and now he's rendering
Nice waterfalls, cool but sunny day, too cold for swimming in the pools but really quite nice looking, and very few people about (apparently they are packed with tourists in the summer months). The arboretum was relatively uninteresting, but a pleasant walk and it finished at a picnic area all shut up for the winter, except for the very excited, but very thin black cat that ran up to us for fuss and to see if we had anything to eat. We hadn’t, except for some brioche that we’d taken for a snack, but she seemed quite happy to eat anything we gave her and wanted as much fuss as we were prepared to give. A nice moment and she seemed quite happy when we left going off to patrol her empty property, so hopefully she’ll managed to feed herself and possibly her babies that it seemed she might have somewhere judging by the look of her.

And today its the tiling. The finished pool will have to wait until the next blog
So the incident occurred after we left the waterfalls and headed off up the hill towards Pena Severino on the mountain path. We reached a path junction and there ahead were a big group of beehives (don’t know what you call a collection of beehives). Jackie went to have a look, standing 20 or so feet away but, after a couple of minutes several bees came after her and no matter how much she swatted and ran away they were not to be deterred, following her quite a distance until one managed to get into her hair and stung her.
A scrambly walk over the Bernia
I managed to pull the sting out, but a big red circle appeared in her hairline with a smaller white circle and, right in the centre, an angry looking red point. That was the end of the walk as we thought we ought to get down as fast as possible just in case she got any sort of reaction. She didn’t, we got back down, went and had lunch at a bar by the waterfalls and headed back home for an afternoon beer on the balcony and a look at the workers finishing off the tiling on the swimming pool steps. The mark on her head has gone, she’s fine and the western summit of Pena Severino is yet to be done!

Lunch on the balcony with Jane and Michael
The socialising has also been in full swing here, from Sunday lunch on the balcony with Jane (Elizabeth’s sister) and Michael, a fabulous all you can eat seafood buffet in Albir with R&E, followed by a dancing show and a live two piece band where we were able to do some ballroom dancing (what a pity we didn’t take the dance shoes, but we managed anyway), fabulous Chinese meal with R&E and Richards half-sister Dee and partner Robert and, this Saturday, lunch at Dagmar and Michaels. All very pleasant.

And this was lunch, what about that for a leg of lamb!
Must finish it’s almost time to open the early evening, pre-dinner wine and crisps and watch the sunset, before wrapping up and lighting the fire!

A little scramble on our walk

It was worth it for the view from the top!

A view of R&E's house from up high. Their house is dead centre of this photo, but you can hardly see it amongst the trees

About to go over an edge on the way down

Looking down from my belay on a climb with Jackie preparing to climb

I'll just enjoy the view while she messes about down there!

Jackie abseiling back down

The Algar waterfalls today

The Algar waterfalls. Very touristy but a pleasant hours stroll

The waterfalls from a distance

Here's the very thin black cat in the deserted picnic area that really wanted to see us

The beehives on the mountain path just before they set upon Jackie

And this was the sting I pulled out of her head

Views on the way back down. I call this art!

No comments:

Post a Comment