Altea - 38 35.336 N 00 03.29 W

Charles & Maggie Bevis
Wed 11 Sep 2013 17:26
We had two very pleasant days at Villajoyosa. Maggie lived here for a very brief period many moons ago when it was a small fishing village, but oh my goodness, how it has grown. Nothing seems to have survived from the past, however, it is a very pleasant town and extremely colourful, with the majority of the buildings painted in a variety of colours, making it look most attractive. The residents are mostly Spanish, although there do seem to be quite a few expats around, predominantly from the UK.

From Villajoyosa, we motored/sailed/motor sailed/motored to Altea. With a distinct shortage of anchorages anywhere along this coast, especially the Costa Brava, we have little choice but to go into marinas. Some, like Alicante, very expensive, but the majority now seem to charge between 42-50€ per night. Still expensive, but what choice do we have?

A small marina here in Altea but pleasant and we have the added bonus of a good restaurant within the marina and the swimming pool, which we have used.

So, today was "trip down memory lane" time for Maggie! We caught the local bus into Benidorm, 35 minute drive, 1.50€ each. Horror of horrors... The place has grown beyond belief and everywhere was wall to wall with hotels and cheap shops and bars/restaurants, if you can call them that! It was like being back in China with all the shops stacked to the roof with absolute rubbish! The beach was packed full with large adults, mostly over the age of 50, all bronzing themselves to extreme and with large bellies and bosoms on display, hard to differentiate in some cases!!! Even more bizarre was that most of the British expats seems to be reading the Sun newspaper! Make of that what you will. Add to all this, exposed areas of bodies in items of clothing that left little to the imagination, then, there you have it... awful, awful, awful! There are thousands here, all over the beach and everywhere in the town - not a pretty sight, in fact, blooming horrible.

After trying to find the hotel where Maggie worked as a hairdresser, (success, but it has changed, as has everything else), and the apartment where she lived whilst working for the mighty Torrubia family as a nanny, (failed), and the hotel where she worked as a tourist rep (success), we had had more than enough and after a quick bite to eat, we headed for the train station and a quick escape back to Altea. 15 minute ride at 1.35€ each. Neither of us will ever be going back.

Note: the trains/trams/buses are really good here now and VERY cheap. All are well used, in particular by the locals and expats. In general, we have found the transport in Spain to be easy, reliable and more than affordable wherever we've been, not that we're expecting any of you to come and sample it!

Tomorrow we move on again...