Altea, Anarchist,s and Fellow Travellers

Trip Start May 22, 2006
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Trip End Aug 05, 2014


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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Anarchists
Before starting this blog it is worth expounding a short history lesson about anarchism. Prior to 1939 Spain had the most active anarchist movement in Europe. They became key players on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War - they were also the most organised anarchist party in the world (strange but true). When he won the war Franco had them all shot - or so he thought. They are now surfacing again as bus drivers, train drivers, parking attendants and the people who devise supermarket opening times!
 
Altea
We left a sunny Campello on the 3rd April to head towards Altea, 24 miles down the coast. It was an interesting coastline, especially as we had been to a lot of the places by land with Pete & Sylvie.
 
The marina has excellent facilities, charming and helpful staff, supermarkets etc are virtually on the doorstep and it costs less than 20 euros a night. So far so good.
 
It is set in a pretty bay surrounded by mountains, with a lovely Old Town overlooking the sea & marina. Although it is a coastal resort there are no hi-rise developments, which make for a pleasant seafront. All the amenities are close to the marina & there is free Wi - Fi. Rob is in 7th Heaven!! (all except for the bloody anarchists!).
 
It is a favourite with moneyed Scandinavians so is a fairly upmarket town.

Guadelest

On Maundy Thursday we decided to take a trip to Guadalest. The Tourist Office (certainly staffed by bloody anarchists) informed us there was a bus at 9.40am.
 
We waited for 20mins & nothing appeared (bus driver probably an anarchist) & we assumed it was a Bank Holiday. A taxi was waiting in the bay opposite so we decided to ask how much he would charge.
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He said 25 euros so we decided to go for it. The drive took about 20mins & was a steep climb into the mountains. There was very little habitation. It was beginning to look a long walk back!!
 
The taxi dropped us in the village square, & informed us that there were no taxis in the village (ha - anarchist taxi services)! The temperature was a good 10dgs cooler than the coast, so after a fortifying coffee we went into the just - opened Tourist Office.  The lady there informed us there was one bus at 12.30pm to Altea & not to miss it. Three or 4 rather shifty looking guys were lurking around the car park, they later took on the role of car park attendants.
 
We could enjoy looking round the village now!
 
It was breath-taking. Guadalest is a 16th Century Moorish village built into & atop a crag overhanging a valley & dam. It is in a bowl of mountains & only appears as you are on the last few bends of the winding road.
 
You enter the Old village by a hole in the rocks. The castle (or the 1 wall that is left of it) is a steep climb up. Once there you can see mountains for miles & a view of the distant sea.
 
The house beneath the castle was owned by the aristos of the area and has been preserved as a museum. Apart from the historical stuff it also had an exhibition of anarchic sculpture. Our favourite was a tubby little old lady toting a sub machine gun, it was really rather unsettling.
 
We descended in time for the bus, only to be told by the driver that it left at 1pm!! (I was right about anarchist bloody bus drivers)Arghhh. We could have had lunch if we had known. Instead it was another coffee & Rob had a local brandy. (the measure being about 3x ours!!) Funny he didn't complain about being cold after that!
 
Guadalest definitely rates as one of our top places on the trip so far.

Easter in Altea
On good Friday at about we headed for the beautiful church in the Old Town as the Easter Procession was due to leave at 8pm. Upon arrival it seemed to be the usual Spanish Mayhem (anarchists), but right on cue the first Icon of Christ left the church supported by 16 pallbearers and bands surfaced, as if by magic, from among the crowd. There were 4 Icons of Christ showing the Crucifixion, 1 of the Virgin Mary and 3 bands. These were followed by women in black gowns & mantillas. 
 
As it was growing dark the icons were lit up, people were carrying candles, it was quite a sight. Rob & I found it a moving experience, not from a religious angle but as a remarkable piece of community spirit. It is a marked contrast to home to see all ages & families getting involved.
 
Saturday at midnight I awoke to a beautiful peal of church bells followed by a salvo of fireworks to announce that Christ had risen. Rob slept through it! God help him if the Messiah arrives while he is asleep.
 
We have been hearing about the good weather back home. The last couple of weeks here have been very changeable. Easter has been showery & a chilly Northerly wind.
 
The same North wind will probably mean that we stay here a bit longer, as we will
have the wind on the nose all the way to Ibiza. A good reason for Rob to get on with the accounts & learning his Italian & me to struggle with learning Greek!
 
Guadelest again
Easter Monday & we had a call from Peter & Sylvie about meeting up for the day. We decided to go back to Guadalest as there were a couple of places we'd missed seeing.
Weather was dull & drizzling, but there were lovely cloud effects on the mountains. Just like home! Also of  note were the parking attendants who were directing traffic into and out of parking areas with no logic, organisation or even regard for their own safety (nobody can say that anarchists lack courage) they created a comprehensively chaotic situation with cars, coaches and camper vans going nowhere and in all directions at once.
 
We went into a museum showing how people would have lived in earlier times. It was an actual cave house. Rob & I could have bought it there & then! It was over 4 floors, whitewashed walls & cool or warm depending on the season.
 
From there we went into the prison! It was a tiny hole in the wall & 3 floors going down into the rock A bit spooky.
 
On the way back in the Valley of Guadelest, Peter stopped at a craft stall and motorbike museum (brilliant) where they sold local olive oil, honey, almonds & fruit. The oranges were 2kgs for 1euro, & the avocados were 2kgs for 2 euros!!
 
By the time we got back to the boat it was pouring; so we snuggled down below with the heater on & had a bottle of wine & lunch at 3.30pm. When Peter & Sylvie left at 6pm the sun was shining, it was warm & a beautiful evening. It's not just Tarbert that has 4 seasons in a day (but they, of course, are also paid up, card carrying members of anarchy international)!
 
Alicante
On Tuesday we took the train/tram into Alicante and were really surprised by the town. We were expecting the worst but found a very lively, friendly and interesting town with a lovely old town, attractive cathedral , interesting fort - interesting because it was a near vertical 700ft climb to gain entrance (lift not working - bloody anarchists again).
 
We had a 10 Euro lunch in a smart restaurant and, because they made a cock up with our order which took all of 2 minutes to correct, didn't charge us for a lovely bottle of red wine we had consumed.
 
The train journey home was made notable because the 1st train pulled in to an area seemingly without a platform and then, just as we got to the door, promptly pulled out (you guessed it, anarchist sodding train driver).
 
Friday 13th - gulp
On checking the weather there appears to be a weather window on Friday. We now expect to leave here on Thursday to go to Moraira and then make the 60 mile crossing to Ibiza on Friday 13th - gulp! Let's hope the bloody anarchists haven't yet infiltrated the Spanish Met office.
 
By the by, why do anarchists drink herbal tea? Because proper-tea is theft!
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