The middle of June onwards we spent in the Costa Blanca, enjoying the coastal sea breezes again, before road tripping north. Our Playa Vera sit, thankfully not at the “naturist” end of town, involved looking after a very old and spoilt dog and a hideaway cat while their owners took a break to family in England. This was our first sit in a gated community, with terraced housing and community pool. The house was a very good size compared to some we’ve seen on the “Place in the Sun” programmes and had both a front and back yard. We didn’t notice the neighbours much but were given a good introduction to those around that the owners interacted with for support options in case of emergency.
Because we were based in a relatively flat area, I hired an e-bike from a local shop and got up early with Chris twice for rides along the coast before the heat of the day. Once, we headed north towards San Juan along the coast, climbing a few hills on the way, covering around 25 km. As usual, I managed to keep ahead of Chris (thanks to the e-bike) on the hills but on the downhill and the flat Chris was in a different league! Another ride took us south past Mojacar, and the early morning views of the sea and coastline were lovely before the summer crowds arrived.
Chris headed out most days before the sunrise when riding alone and got some fantastic views of the sunrise over the sea. He enjoyed this time and is coping with the early starts as it allows him to ride before the heat of the day and before the roads get busy. He is very aware that the Spanish roads and drivers make cycling easy, with wide shoulders and (mostly) ingrained courtesy towards cyclists.
Charlie the rescued dog had definite routines and her morning and evening walks were the shortest we’ve ever given a dog, even on a wet day! But, she enjoyed getting out and we enjoyed taking her. Smudge the cat ventured downstairs daily to use the litter tray (usually just after we had cleaned it out!) and then skulked back up again.
We didn’t really plan to do much sightseeing during our time here, and it was nice to just “live” again with the house and surrounds as a base, shopping for groceries, cleaning and enjoying home cooking. We enjoyed the community pool, which was reaching a very acceptable temperature, and took some trips to local beaches north of Vera. The water of the Mediterranean had warmed enough for this water wimp to actually wander in casually rather than taking it inch by inch. The beaches in this area varied in the sand quality, and the swell was not overwhelming. Our first trip took us furthest away to Aguilas, where the beach was not very busy and the water was clear. Next trip we detoured to a “hidden” beach, with its own “chiringuito” a seasonal beach bar/snack shop that pops up over summer at most beaches. The beach here was very nice, a few sunbathers and swimmers, but not busy at all. Our last excursion took us to a much busier beach near San Juan, where the crowds were building, as school was out now in Spain, but I’m sure that once the British holidaymakers arrive, there would be very little room to spread out. We were certainly enjoying the warm summer weather and my tan is definitely more than I’ve ever managed in a whole NZ summer previously.
Once the homeowners returned, we headed off again en route to Barcelona for our flight to France to see Deefer and Rocky again. We had arranged to drop our excess winter bags and Chris’ bike with our hosts from our Taberno sit, it was only a short detour there and a chance to meet the two new family members, Bruno and Pepe. I’m sure we are going to have our hands full when we return at Christmas time.