Directions and road signs in this part of Spain can be mightily confusing to those unaware of the two conflicting languages. The first-time visitor could easily drive around for some time looking for signs to Javea (pronounced with a guttural “j”, roughly “Khhhavia”) whilst studiously ignoring some other unpronounceable place called Xabia (pronounced with a guttural “x”, roughly “Khhhavia”). Be that as it may, they are, in fact, the same place, the second name being in the Valenciana language. This town is also a classic example of the relatively common interchangeability in various world tongues of “b” and “v”. I have, for example, seen Indian restaurant menus selling variously “vindaloo” and “bindaloo”. But I digress …

The day was dry but unscintillating so we decided to head for Javea/Xabia. Being reasonably well-versed in jays, exes, bees and vees, we managed to follow the correct signs and ended up in Javea/Xabia without mishap.

We tried the southernmost side of the town first but that looked much too much like Clacton in the sun, though the sun, today, was sporadic at best. Admittedly, Clacton probably does not have a business called Austriaco, with an associated Cafe Wien, though I can’t help but think that it would be greatly improved were it to have such an establishment. Be that as it may, we soon headed for the northern, harbour-end of town.

A spaceship from Zog and some of its crew on a red carpet.All was well here – the cafes were doing some brisk business and there was still a Tiffany jewellers which Carol had spotted on a previous visit. Economic downturn – what economic downturn? As we were wandering along to the harbour itself we heard what sounded like church bells. Looking in the direction of the sound, we saw nothing that resembled a church. We did, however, spot a concrete construction that seemed to be the source. We wandered around a few back streets and saw that a spaceship from the planet Zog seemed to have landed cheek by jowl with a dense collection of Spanish shops, houses and apartments. Several Zogians seemed to have been welcomed with a red carpet.

NuestraSenoraDelLoretaInside Nuestra Senora del Loreta nativity scene This did, indeed, turn out to be the source of the bells which seemed to be signalling the end of a service as the congregation was now leaving. The church is Nuestra Señora Del  Loreta and its architecture, though a distinct clash with everything in the immediate surroundings, was fascinating to behold. We have since discovered that it is supposed to represent the bows of a ship forcing their way through waves. I think I can see the resemblance, though I’d never have come up with that interpretation myself. We just had time to look inside and get a few pictures of some very effective lighting before the power was turned off. Just look at the shadows cast of Christ on the cross. Like other churches here, quite a bit of effort seems to be put into a nativity scene, too.

Not a stunning day but a reasonably stunning church.

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