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 Walk Across Europe

2008-03-21 - Trip 12

Spain, Alicante

Beccles to Altea

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1542.3 km from start.
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 Travel: Car, Air, Car.

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Uneventful. 1 Hour take-off delay. Small mix-up meeting the taxi.

Had we walked right along the coast, this walk would have had little to offer apart from mile after mile of sea front. Whenever possible we headed inland an walked on quiet roads and on mountain paths. The terrain was varied and interesting. There were lots of wild flowers. We even found a few we had never seen before.

Our trip to Alacant was mostly uneventful. In the early hours of a blustery showery Friday morning, Ian gave us a lift to Stansted in return for a donation to the School for Peace in the Congo. Amazingly there were no queues either at check-in or at security. In Spain, there was no passport control because the airlines submit all the passport details electronically.

At Alacant we had a bit of trouble locating the chap who was going to drive us to our base in Altea. The e-mail he had sent never arrived. After a couple of calls on Anne's mobile, we looked for the man with the beige baseball cap with a Mercedes logo on it. That worked and the rest of our trip was smooth.

Anne is still using Freeserve for her Internet access. This free service (you only pay the dial-up phone bill) is still going even though Freeserve has been taken over twice. The quality of the service is dubious hence the lost e-mails. Once we are in the new house, we will all have broadband. Neil has used Demon Internet for years. They are not the cheapest but the technical problems have been rare and the call centre support less painful than most.

Bugger, bugger bugger bugger bugger. I have lost all but two lines of my worms. Where have they gone? I can't imagine. I try to revert to saved but I am told the file has not changed. This has never happened before so I was unprepared. I will now save each day as a separate file and indeed save it twice as I did with my PHD although then I saved it three times. Will I remember all the salient points? Luckily I still have my parper version but the titbits will have disappeared.

Our trip to the airport was uneventful. Ian took us and we checked in straightaway. Even so we were only in group B (the first time this has happened to us) so lots of other people anticipating crowds must have come early. None of has to open our bags or take off our shoes so we must look unsuspicious for once. I have no jam in my hand luggage and Mini has no banana. On arrival we look for Ian (another one) He has agreed to pick us up and has emailed to say so but has not confirmed that he has received arrival times etc or made a rendez-vous. We look everywhere but can’t find him so I telephone Lynn and she says he has gone to the airport. She rings him for us and then rings me back. This phone call rings but doesn't connect. I call her back. Yes he has been there since 9.30 (our flight is 45 minutes late having had to stand in a holding bay for a space after a fault in the paper work earlier. He is wearing a beige Mercedes baseball cap.

Neil and I look all round the airport and I do find one man with a beige cap. I ask if he is Ian and he asks if I spik Frønch. I explain and apologise. Then we go back outside. Mini can see a man with a beige cap leaning on a railing opposite. I go over and it is Ian. He is slightly shirty because he has sent an email some time ago saying where he would be, and a further email in response to my last minute one reiterated this. I didn't get the first email and if I got the second didn't read it because once it got to the afternoon I had switched off and unplugged. Any way all is well now and we get to the apartment quickly. Lynn and Ann are there - totally reliable as I had anticipated from my contacts with them previously.

With Ian I had always felt it was touch and go. Ian did not know where the flat was so it was lucky we had Martin’s directions. The flat is on the ground floor and has three bedrooms and proper central heating with radiators. Shall we need it? We don’t. The electric fire in the living room was quite enough and even then we only needed it in the evenings. We unpack, have lunch and then a little sleep. In the afternoon we go out to look for a Moroccan shop which might be open even though it is good Friday. We find a Chinese shop which sells everything except food. I find some potential curtains and a little purse for 1 euro as I have not brought my euro purse with me for some reason.

We don't find a food shop so we will eat our emergency supplies. Ian had told us in the car that there has been a landslide between Altea and Calp so buses are being used for this section. He also asked if we knew about the phallus. Deciding this was something I should not know about I said no. When he described them as a festival at the equinox when ephigies are made of prominent characters and burned I realised I did knew about them having read about them in Spanish Lessons at Rob’s house at Christmas. They are fallas.

His pronumciation had misled me. He then said political correctness did not worry the Spanish and they had also made an effigy of illegal immigrants in a boat which they had burnt. I think politicians are fair game for such treatment but to pick on the destitute and dispossessed is somehow sick. Political correctness has nothing to do with it. Version 2 seems to be coming together nicely. How long will it take to catch myself up.