After a brief overnight stop just out of Malaga, we set off north – first to Taberno to pick up our stored belongings and bike and then to our B&B in rural countryside. Once again, I had picked a location based on its accessible remoteness. Cortijo Las Nubes was certainly remote – off the main highway to Granada, along a side road and then a gravel track. Our poor new rental car became very dusty very quickly (we had been extremely fortunate when picking up our rental as the guy who served us had spent a year working in NZ and upgraded us to an almost new automatic Peugeot 208, which was very nice to drive).  We based ourselves here for two nights and enjoyed great hospitality, our hosts welcoming us into their extended family for dinner both nights. The remoteness made this a great option to settle back into the Spanish way of life.

The next day we set out to explore the area, travelling west first to see the tiny town of Velez Blanco and its larger neighbour, Velez Rubio; the castle undergoing restoration; the views across the stunning valley beyond; and a climb up to the caves nearby to see where ancient rock drawings had been discovered. Once sightseeing was done, we headed in the opposite direction for some time at the beach. Knowing this coast from our time in Vera, we chose a less commercialised beach – enjoying time relaxing and the warm Mediterranean waters again.

We were headed to our next housesit, again in familiar territory, in Javea – just up the road from Calpe. We had met the homeowners while in Calpe and had been introduced to the house and cat. Ollie, our new charge was a very affectionate and easy-going cat, with one issue – he had a condition that caused him to sneeze often and occasionally, messily! It was always a bit fraught not knowing if you were going to be “plastered” while cuddling up.

We enjoyed being in a home again, but oh! it was so hot. To keep the cat out, we needed the bedroom door closed and, with only a fan to keep cool, the nights were very sticky. Thankfully, during the day there were many shady spots to sit and enjoy the large property and pool. We tried along with many others to watch the full moon rise and see the start of the blood moon eclipse, but haze on the horizon and a desire to get some sleep put paid to that.

We wandered the streets of old town Javea (Xabia) one day, enjoying the narrow lanes and the decorations that remained from a recent festival, the indoor market, and then to the beachfront where Carolyn returned to sip on her favourite sangria. No other sangria has met this standard yet!  The main (sandy) beach was jam-packed so we gave it a miss, as the water was heaving with people and looked to be extremely shallow far out. So far, we think the beach at Moraira is one of the better ones – sandy, clear water, mild swell rather than waves, great free parking and a family atmosphere. This was only a fill-in sit, for a week,  so we had not much time or inclination to get out and about – but we did head to Moraira beach a couple of times, and also visited our old charges Attie and Dave and their mum in Calpe, who was back at last from Australia.

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