second star to the right and straight on till morning …

no we weren’t going to Neverland, this was a Jet2 transfer from Alicante to Calpe

“He’s heading to the motorway, not the N332“

sunday 11th december

We said we’d never come back, but here we are again. Although I’m tempted to confirm in writing that this will be our last visit, I can’t. As we sat this afternoon across from the fountain in Bar Arenal it somehow felt like we belong here. The rain and 14 degree temperature didn’t really change that feeling.

Back to the ‘Neverland’ transfer: just to be clear I’m not complaining about Jet2 – far from it. Everything was fine (apart from the bumpiest, bounciest plane landing ever). Just be aware that Calpe is the last stop on a Jet2 coach transfer; you have to suffer the joys of Benidorm drop-offs en-route. Just sit back and enjoy the ninety minutes. (You do get the bus to yourself for the last thirty.)

We had arrived at Alicante aiport earlier, around 10.30am local time. It was cold and raining heavily. If someone had said the pilot had done a U-turn and taken us back to Glasgow, you could have believed it.

It rained until three, then it turned showery. Around five the sun made a valiant attempt to break through the grey, and for a brief moment the heating was back on.

We decided on El Pomodoro for dinner, a great little Italian restaurant on Carrer la Santamaria in town. Venison ravioli and a Diavola pizza were the picks. The pizzas in El Pomodoro are different class (standard ot gluten free bases).The venison ravioli must have been good too as it wasn’t on the plate for long.

We’d been up since 2.15am so it was back to the hotel for an earlyish night. We are staying at The Suitopia, all 29 floors of it. (The Sky Bar on the 29th floor.) We were upgraded and have a suite on the 17th floor. The room is stunning as are the views. Back in the hotel lift we pressed 29 instead of 17. Some rather nice cocktails followed.

monday 12th december

I don’t think it was the alcohol (although that Canadian Club cocktail may have had something to do with it), but I had a headache this morning. So I made a morning cocktail:

  • One coffee
  • One pineapple juice
  • One paracetemol
  • One hour

Pretty much ok after that and ready for our trek to the ceramic shop at the other side of Calpe, on the road to Moraira (sounds like a Bing Crosby, Bob Hope & Dorothy Lamour movie).

It’s overcast and cool; the TV display in the lift says 16 degrees and cloudy. What clever lifts. There are six lifts. They were manufactured by a company called Schindler – I like to call them Schindler’s Lifts.

Our walk takes us past the salt lake and its flamingoes. Pink flamingoes don’t look pink when it’s not sunny. Three miles and one hour later we are browsing the merchandise at Ceramicas Valles. Christmas for some is sorted.

Our return walk is along the paseo on La Fossa beach. It’s pretty much a ghost town, even at one in the afternoon. What locals there are sport puffer jackets, scarves and hats. I’m still in a T-shirt at this stage (spot the nutter from Scotland). Probably three quarters of the bars and restaurants are closed, mostly ‘cerrado por vacaciones’, but some have obviously seen harder times. We end up back in town at Restaurante Jimy; €10.80 for 2 courses with a half bottle of wine thrown in. Not exactly Michelin star, but it filled a hole.

There are a number of fishing boats in the bay this afternoon, which is unusual. We hear later that a local fisherman has fallen overboard and the boats are searching for him.

Dinner at Il Tavino was better; it must be three years since we’ve been here but the owner remembered us – not sure how she did that but the warm welcome was appreciated. The braised ox-tail and garlic chicken were tasty, but the lemon sorbet with champagne out-shone those. The complimentary Baileys and Brandy were a nice touch.

Sky Bar


tuesday 13th december

It was nice to see the sun this morning and I enjoyed my eight minutes of it on the balcony lounger. Spanish shops today – we need some Christmasy stuff (we are hosting Christmas dinner this year). Suitably Feliz Navidaded we head to LaCena for lunch. Waiter messes up the order; also tells us we can’t have fries as we are on the lunch menu. WTF?

3pm Rain. Back to cocktails again: rain, wind with a dash of sun.

Different view of the sea today. The surfers are out in force – which kind of says something about the weather. They are a hardy lot – getting on for three hours and they’re still out there.

Surf’s up

We had planned on some gins and tonics at La Fragata in Calpe’s old town. (It’s the coolest pub in the world). We decided to go for a Chinese meal beforehand at a restaurant just past the old town. It was closed but there’s another almost next door. It doesn’t haven’t as good reviews as the one we thought we were going to. Now I know why.

Just to seal the deal La Fragata was closed too.

Is the whole town closed?

miercoles 14th diciembre

Last full day and according to every weather forecast this is the day when we’ll finally see some sunshine. A day on that comfy lounger beckoned. True to weather forecaster form it’s cloudy and cool. A walk around the old town was the decision – a last look in case we don’t come back. Calpe isn’t what I’d call a pretty town. The old town is nice and well worth a visit. Elsewhere it’s in danger of becoming Benidorm 2. High rise building continues apace, some of it of questionable design.

Different …

It’s 15:38 now. We plan on visiting one of our favourite restaurants tonight (Porque No?) and if we have the energy to climb the hill up to the old town La Fragata too.

We fly home tomorrow morning (we have the joys of the Benidorm hotel pick-ups to look forward to). The hotel suite and the views from it are outstanding. I’m still asking the question ‘Will we ever come back?’ Most likely not; we’ve seen some of our favourite bars and restaurants (and their owners) open and close, and their replacements aren’t ever the same.

I decided the pictures in this post would be in black and white – as it turns out it’s fitting reflection of the weather.

But it’s not all monochrome….

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