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 Walk Across Europe

2008-03-24 - Trip 12 - Leg 82

Spain, Alicante

Vila Joiosa to Finistrat

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25.2 km today.
53.3 km this trip.
1595.6 km from start.
36 metres minimum height.
271 metres maximum height.
495 metres ascent.
471 metres descent.
 Track Log: Logged.
 Travel: Train.

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Quiet lanes and roads. There was only light holiday traffic.

We caught the 07:20 Alacant train. Out ticket was for Vila Joiosa. We had to change at Crueta and there was about 20 minutes to wait in the cold morning air so we decided to start the walk from Crueta instead. This train, like the evening one, was very cheerful. All the youngsters had had a good night out and several had had a really good night out. The atmosphere was not at all threatening though.

The walk to Finistrat was on very quiet roads including a dirt road used for farm and forestry access. This was a Spanish holiday and everyone seemed to be sleeping. Even later in the day, the roads were empty. At our destination we had an ice-cream while waiting for the bus. After desert, we remembered that it was a Fiesta day and there might be no buses. We decided to walk an extra 5 or 6 km back down to the coast and get the train which was running. We walked to Hiper Finistrat station.

Our route is from La Vila Joiosa to Finestrat via Bella Orcheta We get the 7.20 train again and go to Cruet. This time the onward train has already left, so rather than wait for the next one we decide to set off from Cruet. We don’t have to fill in the gap because we shall fill it in at the dam. We work our way across a diagonal and soon get to the barranc. On a previous holiday we had crossed a very deep barranc using the railway bridge – not a good idea but the only way across at the time. We were then able to pick up the train at the Hospital between La Vila Joiosa and Benodorm. We turn right and go back up towards the dam.

We soon get to the Roman bridge where you can cross safely and now work our way uphill. On our way, we see a motorway above us with a sad sign saying accidente in next slip road. These signs are turned sideways so they can be turned round to face the traffic when there is an accident. Does it happen so often. Still it stops further accidents as we often get. At 10 we see our plane coming down. It is not retrarsed. There is a bit of a breeze so I go on to half throttle with my Tilley. Half throttle means having the strap under your chin fairly but not very tight. Tilleys claim that these straps prevent blowing off. This is not our experience.

We go round the far side of the dam and then head uphill towards km 14 bypassing Bella Orcheta and Orcheta. The views are spectacular and the weather to die for. We haven't had weather like this since Estepona. It has been an unusual couple of years. Neil gets covered in burrs at the break. Later we see remarkable orchids, not new, but the clumps are spectacular. One break is in such a clump. The earlier ones were not photographable because they were down a precipice. They are early purples but very big ones. Once in there we see little bees as well.

This walk is pretty much uphill all the way but not unbearably so. When we get to Finestrat we see a bus timetable and see that there is a bus at 4.15 which we decide to catch. Just time for a quick ice-cream. Our normal café where we used to ask for then to ring for taxi number 4 is shut for the holiday. Easter Monday is new holiday in Spain so we were taken unawares. We sit for a few minutes to cool off and then I go up to another bar and café to get the ice creams. It is full of English people and the atmosphere is horrible. There is an ice-cream cabinet with horrible ice creams in it all Nestlé for a start and all in trashy Great Yarmouth Benidorm wrappers. I have trouble choosing wrappers. Eventually I pick one which seems to be a biscuit with white chocolate and caramel. It is OK but rather sweet.

Once we have cooled off, I go and have another look at the timetable. As Easter Monday is now a holiday, the buses are likely to be different. This proves to be the case. There is no holiday bus timetable so there are probably no buses either. We decide to walk down to the railway. We know a nice way because we have often done it before. You go down through the village and then take the turning for La Vila Joiosa. This junction is now a large roundabout. It was here that Mini lost her camera case and every time we pass the spot we make a desultory attempt to find it. Now it must be buried under tons of concrete and tarmac. Nevertheless, we shall continue to search for it.

The first part of the descent is unchanged. We even saw some cistanches which surprised us because we thought they were a maritime plant. At the start of the walkl there was a sign with photos of one or two plants on it that you might find in the area. Later when we looked them up we found there are two forms of cystanche, a dark yellow one which likes saltings and a lighter yellow one which grows at altitude. Later the walk was skirted by a new housing estate but we didn’t need to go into it. The cement factory was quiet and not dusty because it was Easter Monday. When we eventually get to Hiper Finestrat, a bus comes down. It is 6pm but we couldn't have known. Neil fails to avoid scratching his løgs today although he claims to be good at avoiding it because at school they got told off for having scratched legs because it meant they had been somewhere out of bounds.

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