The next week of our journey around the Europe is behind us. After covering 5,500 kilometers, we systematically move towards southern Spain. We spent the last week of our trip on the border between the autonomous communities of Valencia and Murcia. We visited Santa Pola and Torrevieja, two tourist towns on the Costa Blanca.
On December 6, we were in Santa Pola. Apart from traditional ‚Mikolajki’, Spaniards celebrate the national day on that day – Constitution Day. Soon afterwards, on December 8, they have another holiday, this time church – the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Therefore, we came just for a long weekend.
In addition to increased traffic on the streets, also coastal boulevards and restaurants and cafes are located there. However, we first got to the Christmas market before Christmas. The stalls were spread inside the walls of the former Castell de Santa Pola, the castle which was in this place. To this day, the walls around the castle and a charming chapel built into them have survived.
Fair sellers offered many interesting products for us. In Spain you can see herbal medicine is popular, because you could meet stalls with herbs for all the possible diseases. The stands were full of incense and mixtures of various herbs and spices.
Later we went to the port. The main part of it is the marina for fishing boats. Due to the holiday, few fishermen today went to sea. Taking advantage of good weather, kilometers of fishing nets dried on the waterfront in the December sun.
You can say a lot about the local vegetation. In general, Spaniards care for it very much. We do not mean only private areas, but maybe primarily, public. It looks really nice. From curiosities, you can meet such gigantic varieties of cacti as for example the one below resembling a large tree with its size.
There are already neat bushes at one of the restaurants.
We are already moving to the yacht part of the coast. The richer Spaniards and probably mostly foreigners living here can afford the luxury of having their own, even small, ship.
It is worth mentioning here that Spain is a paradise for retirees from Great Britain, Germany, Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands. There are many of them. What is important – most of the time they are not here for a moment. They have houses here, yachts or just come from their country by campers and live in luxury homes on wheels.
Buildings near the quay. A lot of Spanish resorts look like this. To meet the needs of tourists arriving here in the season, it is built tight and high. In the winter, most homes are empty. There is no heating inside and the walls are extremely thin.
We are already on the seafront promenade. On the left, restaurants and places to rest among palm trees. On the right a yacht bay. The place is very neat. In spite of December there are still many tourists here. There is no denying that, for example for us the temperature around 20 degrees C is very tempting towards the end of the year.
Otherwise, the Spaniards take it away. They usually get wrapped in winter jackets, when we and other tourists in flip-flops and sunglasses. It is the easiest way to distinguish who is local and who is not.
The next day we went to the area of the city of Torrevieja. Nearby, there are salt lakes, now transformed together with the surrounding areas into a landscape park. One of the lakes has a characteristic pink color. The region itself is still one of the first salt producers in the world. The Torrevieja resort is famous for its unique microclimate and 335 sunny days a year.
The lake is actually pink when we look at it from the N-332 road running a few kilometers away or from the satellite on Google Maps. Unfortunately, approaching it is very difficult to see its color.
Here the close-up of the salt which crystals form on all surrounding edges.
After this little disappointment, a day later we went to Torrevieja. This nearly 100-thousand-strong city, in addition to the previously mentioned salt deposits and microclimate, is a large tourist center and port.
When in 1829 a strong earthquake struck the region, practically nothing left of the small fishermen’s settlement. Then the city was rebuilt from scratch. Its name probably comes from the last remaining building after the earthquake – the old fishing tower (in Spanish „torre” – old, „vieja” – tower).
We started our tour with a several hundred meters long breakwater from which one we can observe the bay, one on the other, and the Mediterranean on the other side.
The breakwater ends with a lighthouse. On the stones below the barriers, stray cats are basking. There are also many anglers who have chosen this place to be great for fishing.
We are going back to the city with a breakwater and we are looking at the coast and the seaside promenade. It’s hard not to resist the impression that it is like Santa Pola. Indeed, apart from the size (Torrevieja is much larger), the coastal region itself is constructed in a similar way. However, nobody seems to complain about it, since it is beautiful, warm and sunny.
Fishing boats today have been in the port. Recall, we have the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
There is no shortage of walkers on the seaside promenade. On this day, the Spaniards are particularly in bars, which stretch here for kilometers along the first stony coast and then the sandy town beaches of Torrevieja.
Further part of the promenade at the yacht port. Here, the roofing protects not from rain but from the sun.
Now we are reflecting off the beach and going to the city center in search of Christmas accents. Christmas decorations among palm trees are interesting.
We reach Constitution Square and we have a Christmas tree. It is nicely decorated, but it would be necessary to wait a few hours to light the lamps.
At the same square, the church of the Parroquia de la Inmaculada Concepción rises …
… and next to it … Christmas crib? Probably yes, although it is not so much the crib itself but the ancient city.
We say goodbye to Torrevieja. We ourselves chose the place of La Marina on the sea shore between Santa Pola and Torrevieja in the last week.
Taking advantage of the free time, we also built a castle on the sand on a nearby beach. Pretty?
Tomorrow we are leaving for a further journey. This time we are going to the area of Cartagena on the south-eastern edge of Spain.