Sunday, 31 December 2017

My Week in Review to 31st Dec 2017

Christmas in Denia 
We've had a good Christmas week here in Denia. Last Sunday, Christmas Eve, we hiked to the Cova de l'Aigua to see the Roman inscription and the fabulous views. Then on Christmas Day we went into Denia for a sunny stroll around the marina followed by a mojito (for Dave) and a small beer (for me) in this pretty plaza. I had spotted the cocktail-serving bars here on an earlier expedition and we were delighted they were open for Christmas morning. Dave's last sunny Christmas Day mojito was three years ago in Torrevieja!

Friday saw us on rather more of a hike than we had planned. We wanted to walk from Denia to Xabia for lunch and then back, with a stop at the Unfinished Village en route. We succeeded on all counts and I will blog photos from the Village in a few days. It's a bizarre place! We were shattered by the time we got back to Bailey at the end of the day though. Our proposed four-ish hour hike actually ended up being six hours of walking!

We don't have anything in particular planned for tonight, especially as we need clear-ish heads tomorrow for taking town our awning and generally getting packed away. We're back on the road on Tuesday heading further south to Mazarron. So in the meantime, here are a trio of art and sculpture photos from around Denia:




Happy New Year!


 

Artisan Rainbow

Literary Flits

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Currently reading

Waiting for the Barbarians
tagged: currently-reading, fiction-africa, and charity-shop-find

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Saturday, 30 December 2017

My Best Books of 2017

I'm going to post my December Reads roundup on Monday so you can catch up with everything I have reviewed or Spotlighted (Spotlit?) this month. First though I want to reminisce even further back in time and present my favourite dozen books of 2017 and, of course, crown my Book Of The Year!

I have made my choices from books I read during 2017, but they aren't all newly books. Hopefully you will see some here that haven't made it into anyone else's Best Of lists. You might even find a couple to buy with your Christmas gift Amazon vouchers! Click the book titles or cover images to visit my original book review posts.

So, without any more procrastination, in order through the year, here are my Books Of The Month ...

January: Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman



February: Three Daughters Of Eve by Elif Shafak



March: The Dollmaker by Harriet Arnow



April: Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier



May: My Own Story by Emmeline Pankhurst



June: The Rights Of Man by H G Wells



July: A Horse Walks Into A Bar by David Grossman



August: Midwinter Break by Bernard MacLaverty



September: Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie



October: Money Power Love by Joss Sheldon



November: Dreams Of Maryam Tair by Mhani Alaoui



December: The Gray House by Mariam Petrosyan




I enjoyed looking back through my reading year because there were so many fabulous books to recall. April's book, Rebecca, I think is my favourite novel of all time so it has to be my Book Of The Year! However, I had read it before and there are two more to which I would like to award joint runners up. So after (far too) much deliberation, my Top Three Books of 2017 are:


Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Roman inscription at the Cova de l'Aigua

View from outside the
Cova de l'Aigua 
We had a good hike on Christmas Eve, climbing part way up the Montgo mountain to a cave where Roman soldiers were garrisoned hundreds of years ago. When I say climbed, of course, I don't mean in a mountaineering sense! The track got pretty steep in places though and there are leg-achingly big steps towards the end. There's also a dizzyingly long drop from a short section of footpath so if heights aren't your favourite thing, maybe don't do this walk!

We parked in the street opposite the Ermita Pare Pere which is a pretty shrine and worth a brief diversion to look around. If all the parking is taken here, follow the road upwards and there is more space just past where the walking route leaves the road. For full walk instructions, Click This Link. It describes a circular walk of 5.4k which we intended to do, but didn't due to the rocky footpaths after the cave detour being very slippery. We reckoned we would probably manage to climb up to Raco del Bou, but I didn't fancy potential accidents on the slide back down!

The initial ascent however is toddler friendly. It's continuously uphill but not especially strenuous and was a popular family walk on Christmas Eve. Part way along this gravelled road, clear signs indicate the footpath up to the Cova de l'Aigua. A later fork in this footpath is also clearly signed. We were high above Denia at this point and there are spectacular views across the town and out to sea. The winding path admittedly doesn't scream 'Romans were here' in the same way their distinctive straight roads do. It gets steeper the nearer we got to the cave and in several places large steps have helpfully been cut into the rock. Once we turned off the track to the footpath we had it completely to ourselves which was great as I didn't feel as though I needed to rush. I could imagine that it could be tricky trying to get up here and back at the same time as lots of other people - on a summer weekend for example.

The Roman evidence - an inscription in the rock dating from 238AD - is now protected by a metal cage although it had already been partly graffitied before the grille was put into place. It's not actually in the cave itself, but just before the last few steps. You can see the edge of the cage in the bottom left of this photograph. For an idea of scale, Dave can just be seen climbing up mid-picture.

And the inscription itself is here:
(You might need to squint!)


The cave itself is believed to have been in use for thousands of years before the Roman visitation and for hundreds of years after they left as well. We could walk into the large first chamber and along a dark passage - you'll want to take a torch - from which we could peer into a flooded second chamber. Clay pipe remnants buried in the floor show where this mountain water used to be piped out to a now vanished hillside village. By medieval standards, this was valuable fresh drinking water - we didn't taste it!

Dave in a Cave!

Sunday, 24 December 2017

My Week in Review to 24th Dec 2017

We're on a beautiful campsite in Denia, Spain at the moment. It's called Camping Los Pinos. There are large pitches under loads or mature trees - pines obviously, as well as palm trees and (possibly) beech trees. A pair of red squirrels run around most days showing off how good they are at flinging themselves from branch to branch! We can see the sea from our pitch and walk along the promenade most days. The other campers are almost entirely non-Spanish which is a bit odd. We are a mix of mostly Brits, Dutch, Germans and French. The facilities are good and the staff friendly and, after 7 nights, the price has dropped to just €12.50 a night including electricity.

On the downside, our mobile wifi gadget doesn't work here - presumably because the Montgo mountain that towers over the campsite is blocking its signal - and the campsite wifi, while free, is pretty useless for most of the day. Consequently I've been concentrating on keeping Artisan Rainbow and Literary Flits going and rather neglecting posting over here. Oops! Fortunately we've not been doing much to tell you all about anyway!


We have been cycling and had a walk up over the hill towards Xabia. We reckon we could walk all the way there, have ourselves a lunch and walk back so we're looking forward to doing that between Christmas and New Year. In fact, having driven the winding road to Xabia on Wednesday, it might almost be quicker to walk! We camped in Xabia three winters ago so it was fun to walk around again and reminisce. The excellent Indian grocer is still in the Arenal part of town so we stocked up on spices. Then we walked to the beachfront and treated ourselves to coffee und kuchen at the Austrian Cafe. It was almost nothing like being back in Vienna but very good all the same!

Wednesday evening saw us eating out again - twice in one day and we were out after dark! The Indian Palace restaurant was almost deserted apart from us, but the food was absolutely delicious. If you're ever in Denia, I am happy to recommend it to you.


Merry Christmas!


 

Artisan Rainbow

Literary Flits

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Currently reading

Waiting for the Barbarians
tagged: currently-reading, fiction-africa, and charity-shop-find

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