Dunes and Pine Woods, quiet roads and some busy roads.
Our usual bus ride gets about 30 minutes shorter each day as we make progress. The smooth lady who drove so nicely was replaced by another woman who was almost as bad as Lurch.
At Torrevieja we set out into the freezing wind again. Where possible we avoided the open beach areas and huddled behind buildings and walls to keep warmer. We had our English winter gloves and hats on, but the wind cut straight through these. At least there were only a few spots of rain.
This stretch includes some delightful dunes and woods where the pines bend to the ground away from the wind. The dunes are diverse with little micro-habitats. Here there was shelter from the wind and the walk was really nice. Nearer Guardarmar, we crossed an open area and got frozen again. After central Guardarmar, we headed for La Marina, atempting with partial success, to avoid the main road. We walked west of the main road. There might be a better route to the east through more pine woods.
At La Marina, we just missed the Alicante bus. Rather than freeze for an hour we got onto the Elche bus and went home by quiet inland roads. At Elche we changed bus and got to Alicante just as fast as we would have otherwise. We had lovely smooth and friendly drivers. The busy coast road must take its toll on the nerves of its drivers.
We take our hats and gloves again. The ladies are not about. Neil will eat his lunch at least.
As we were going through Torrevieja, I was keeping a lookout for a shop where I might find the kind of tarts we had in Mallorca. This has become a focus ever since I read "Spanish Lessons" in Calabardina where the people had them in Gandia. In La Mata, we passed a bollería and pastellería and inside they had some very similar tarts. We got two slicks and had them in the sand dune, pine woods for our first lunch. Later again in La Mata, we came to a magnificent mercat with juicy strawberries, succulent asparagus and bulging alcachofas. These will form the basis of tonight's supper.
Once we had left Torrevieja which was enlivened by the exciting "see food" purchases, the walk to Guardamar was lovely through dunes and pine woods. It was still very windy and not warm but there was shelter in trees and the sea was spectacular with "fort marejada" or big waves. Beyond Guardamar is a big river which we planned to cross at a ford beyond the fierce road. As we made our approach, we came across roadside map with walks on it. As one seemed to be going our way we took it. I am almost certain it took us round the backside of Quesada which was between Guardamar and Torrevieja. The path was lovely as it skirted a river bank. There were coots, duck, small white egrets, great grey herons.
Unfortunately the path was not going where we were going after all and a walk that was already long was becoming longer by the minute. My feet were killing me and my left pinky has got a blister because the absence of rest days has not given it a chance to reinstate itself. I never got one at Christmas or in Santiago. We had to do three sides of a square instead of one but we did get over the river on a very attractive pont of which Neil has taken a picture and we passed rice paddies irrigated by a grid of canals and slucks which was very interesting. On this stretch, we saw two beautiful Elx doggies. Years ago, when I was staying with Mini in La Marina, we went to the Botanico in Elx and while walking round the town I was joined by a beautiful grey heart's desire doggy. Here were some delightful puppies from the same mongrel breed. These two could have been his descendants. I like to think so.
Neil suggested we could pick up a bus at Mercadona but that seemed ever so sad as it was still almost on the outskirts of Guardamar and it would feel as though we hadn't gone any where so I said why not go to the Buena Vista bus stop in La Marina. We carried on up the fierce. Unfortunately, we failed to cross over the fierce at Mercadona where there was a traffic island and there was no slip road that we could access as we had by this time moved over to a pecuaria. The only thing to do was climb over the crash barrier and wait for a space in the traffic. You (Mini) may remember trying to cross the road in La Marina to get to the restaurante and for walks and the main road has not improved.
Once close to the village, the main road swings west as a by-pass so the village itself is now much nicer. We eventually got to the Buena Vista urbanisation and Neil took a picture of the restaurante and the backside of our house. When I said let's walk to La Marina I meant this La Marina but Neil had meant the centre of the village where he had woomarked a stop earlier in the day. It was 15 minutes till the next bus and the centre of the village was still a fair way off. There were two buses five minutes apart. We might just make it. One hundred metres before the stop both buses come past and as no one seems to need to open the side to get luggage out they both sail away before we can get there. Friction in the team. Will they make back to base that night?
It was very cold at the bus stop but we didn't dare leave it in case any other companies than Costa Azul served the route. We decide if a bus comes for Elx we will go on it and use the trip to warm up and research tomorrow's walk. As we wait numerous people go into a shop called Caroline and come out eating something. A lady at our bus stop had done just that. It was she that made us think a bus going somewhere must be coming soon. We are quite peckish but daren't cross over to get anything in case we miss another bus. Very soon a Vegabus comes along. It is going to Elx. Our lady gets on and so do we. The chairs are soft and the bus is all warm. The ride to Elx is short and when we get off we go to the información and get a timetable which will be useful for the next day. There is a bus to Alicante at 7 o'clock and it is now five to. I look for the Surbus cossack but it is shut so we go to our platform and the man says "Ticket". I say I went for a ticket but there was no one there. He said there was another cossack at the other end. I go there and get the tickets and come back and now we are allowed on. We get home much earlier than we would if we had waited for the direct bus and we had seen our route for the following day and we had kept warm.
Perhaps that is what the annoying man is doing that we keep meeting on the coastal bus. He probably has a some syndrome or another and he probably has a free bus pass and can keep warm all day by going up and down to different lands. Last night had a horrible boy who began by playing a gameboy thing with loud clicks and squawks as he tried to kill whatever he was killing and then he put on his headset and proceed to whistle tunelessly through his teeth very loud (because of the headset). I don't know which was worse. The Elx buses were quite different, scruffier, cheaper and very civilized.
We nip into our Argentinian shop for essential supplies. We get tick bread to have with our salman and some more drinks and two tubs of Häagen-Dazs. We decided we could each choose our hearts desire and have it every night until departure. Neil got tiramisu. I got leche dulce which is ordinary vanilla with swirls of caramel through it - truly heart's desire. We just have as much as we think is sensible out of our own pot. I hope mine lasts till the end. We got back too late to cook the alcachofas and asparagus so we had a jar instead (of asparagus). We had been eating the strawberries through the day prioritising the squashed ones as Neil was carrying them loose in the top of his mustang. Lovely lovely. Today we didn't get wet although there were a few spits.