After what can only be described as an eventful trip to Spain house-dog-and-cat-sitting over Christmas and New Year, it was finally time to return to the UK. Geoff and Pam’s house is in a stunning position with views up the Jalón valley (a.k.a. Vall de Pop) and, after over five weeks living in it looking after their menagerie, we had come to regard it as home. It is fair to say that neither Carol nor I wanted to leave. It’s always pleasing to make new friends and we now feel have two new ones in Geoff and Pam. If we get the chance, I’m sure we will accept their kind invitation to return to use their apartment as a holiday base should we wish. We do wish. 🙂
Our travel day dawned grey and overcast with some drizzle once again in the Jalón valley, which softened the blow for us. However, as we drove out of the valley towards the coast to hit the autopista for Alicante airport, the skies looked much brighter. It really is amazing how localized the weather can be in this area of Spain; just crossing into the next valley the weather can change. By the time we reached Alicante, there was just some wispy high cloud and the sun was shining. Turn around Geoff – take us back!
The easyJet check-in had been open for a while but, amazingly, we seemed to be in boarding group A. Before joining the rush for seats, though, we had plenty of time for a last Spanish coffee and a trip to the so-called duty free shop. Having become quite fond of a Spanish brandy called “103”, I wanted to take a couple of bottles back with us. Duty free price: €9.50. Typical Spanish supermarket price: €8.25. Courtesy of the world’s terrorists, of course, one can not now buy booze in local shops to take on a flight, unless one is prepared to risk its being broken in hold baggage by over-zealous baggage handlers. It’s a captive market. Nonetheless, courtesy of our outrageous tax levels, it isn’t possible to buy even a bottle (750 ml) of a decent brandy for £10 in the UK, far less a litre, so it’s still a good deal.
All over Spain one sees silhouettes of black bulls. I did wonder if it was a Valenciana symbol but it seems to be a country-wide icon. Quite natural, I suppose, given the Spanish love of bullfighting. They adorn the countryside and many Spanish cars sport a bull silhouette on the back. (Actually, you can see the black bull silhouette on the brandy bottle pictured above.) As a final treat, while rummaging around the duty-free shop, Carol managed to find a very fine bull silhouette for our caravan, Billy, toaccompany his growing collection of French stickers. Billy may not actually have been to Spain but his occupants have and he will be very pleased with his new acquisition.
It’ll be time to start planning this year’s activities, now, to help us through the remaining winter gloom.
[If anyone is interested in renting Geoff and Pam Richardson’s beautifully appointed apartment in Lliber, Spain, details and contact information can be found at: http://www.casadelosocasos.co.uk.]