My word, what a Helter-Skelter ride of a day, and that was just the roads I drove on! After the usual slow start, ablutions, breakfast and slapping my phizzer on (putting on my make-up) we set off early to go to The Cooperativa Agricoles El Progrés in Parcent for lunch. It is one of our favourite places, a sort of local agricultural workers club, social centre and restaurant. They do a great menu del dia (menu of the day) for 9 euros, they know me and cater for me very well.
The reason for the early start – this was to be a photography day with frequent stops for such delights as ruins, wild flowers, town and mountain views. I had determined to capture a particular, Lupin like flower but every time I saw some on the way to Parcent there was nowhere to park and I don’t do the typically Spanish thing of just pulling up, putting the hazard warning lights on and sod the consequences.
We got to Parcent nice and early and Garrath suggested a wander around the town before lunch. That was very rewarding because in the ten years we have been going there we have seen nothing of the town. We found (and photographed of course) some lovely streets and squares, some Swallows’ nests and delighted in the fact that everyone we saw greeted us. Simple greetings like hello (Hola) how are you (Como esta) and it’s a lovely day (El tiempo es muy bien) make a stroll around a strange town such a welcoming pleasure. In England people only greet people whom they know. In Spain they greet anyone because it a pleasant and polite thing to do.
We got to The Cooperativa at around 13.30 only to find that our chosen main course menu items had already run out. Sadly, this could be our fault. We discovered the Cooperativa about ten years ago and at that time it’s clientele was exclusively Spanish – apart from us that is. Regrettably, in retrospect, we took our friends Keith and Audrey there, Keith and Audrey told all their friends about it and now the place is extremely popular with English expats. The English eat much earlier than the Spanish so the bloody English had already eaten Garrath’s pigs cheeks and my sausages!!!
I have learned from previous visits to The Cooperativa to listen to the recommendations of the large lady who always greets us. She is lovely and she understands my dietary requirements very well. She recommended the fish so I had the fish and it was deeeeeeelicious. I think it was a kind of Mackerel, but whatever the species, it was very well cooked and extremely tasty. I even got a pudding, the ubiquitous Spanish Flan (creme caramel) and very nice it was too.
After lunch Garrath was determined that we try a new mountain route in the hope of me getting the photographs I wanted. We followed said route and joy of joys, not only did I find stopping places, I also found the Lupin type flowers I wanted to capture plus species I didn’t even know existed before. I also found some of my favourite photographic subjects – ruins.
The mountain ride was hair raising, with scarily narrow roads, hairpin bends, precipitous drops and absolutely stunning views that made the Helter-Skelter drive 200% worth it. We found sufficient pulling off places for me to take loooooooooads of photos. Only time will tell whether they are good ones, but at least it has broken the photo curse of this trip.
The drive back from the last photo stop continued to be a navigation of hairpin bends, narrow roads and hair raising stops when we met something coming the other way. That was until we got to the main toad near Benissa. After that it was plain sailing. When we got to Calpé we had a quick stop at Mercadonna for essentials, them homeward bound.
During the drive we had a debate about whether to go freezer diving for tomorrow’s jam making session or to go to The Chicken Shack. I contended that we can go freezer diving tomorrow and thaw stuff in warm water so when we got back Garrath put stuff away and declared,
“Right, time for The Chicken Shack.” Well it would be rude not to go, wouldn’t it?