A day without plans turned out to be a day with plans that were thwarted. During the fairly relaxed start to the day we determined to go up into the mountains in search of photographic subjects because the wild flowers are in short supply in drought blighted Calpé. So, having decided that, and after I discovered that we had run out of honey in which to macerate the strawberries I picked from the garden, we decided to book lunch at El Riu because it is next to the Cooperativa that sells local honey. From there we planned to go up to Guadalest where I could capture both wild flowers and mountain views.
The drive to El Riu is always interesting because our route there involves scary, hairpin bends and some narrow parts of the road. It was made even more interesting because we got stuck behind a lorry that was going slooooooooooowly on a part of the road where it was impossible to overtake, but bless the driver, at the first possible opportunity he pulled over so that the queue of cars behind him could get past. After that it was pretty plain sailing, or swerving.
We got to the restaurant ten minutes early in spite of Garrath’s prediction that we were bound to be late. N.B. Garrath’s definition of ‘late’ is arriving on the same day as the appointment instead of his preferred time, the day before! We settled into the table, were greeted by the lady who has served us hundreds of times before and who remembers my dietary needs without having to be prompted.
Appetisers are always Aioli and salsa with bread for Garrath and boiled potatoes for me, and they succeeded in making us both very hungry. Garrath had Croquetas De Carne for his starter (Meat croquettes) while I had a special salad.
For the main course I had Conejo Al Ajillo (Rabbit with garlic) and Garrath had Secreto De Cerdo Iberico A La Brasa ( a Spanish cut of Iberico pork from the Pata Negra pig cooked over the wood fire.) To my delight I am always able to eat the Patatas Fritas (chips) there because they are home made and uncontaminated.
Desserts are as ever very limited for me, lemon ice cream or coconut ice cream but Garrath had his absolute favourite, Tarta De Nueces (Walnut tart). I confess to being seriously jealous at his freedom to eat this because it looks delectable and coconut ice cream is a very poor substitute.
The repast finished with green tea for me, cafe Americano for Garrath then a double helping of Moscatel for Garrath because I was driving.
At the end of the meal we were debating where to go next so we resorted to our phones to find maps to see if my desired destination, Tarbena, was easily accessible from there. that was when something quite shocking happened. An elderly English female expat who was leaving the restaurant leaned over our table and declared imperiously,
“You two have got a problem!” Sadly the arrogant bitch scooted off before I had the chance to retort, “Yes, we have a problem with judgemental, arrogant English busybodies,” but I confess to being shocked at the old bat. How dare she? I don’t know her, don’t want to know her, but would never, ever presume to interfere and shove my face into her space with a judgement like that. Can you see now why we don’t like the English expat community?
Tarbena proved to be too far via a too convoluted route so we went up to Guadalest. This is where the thwarted plans came in. Though it had been cloudy ever since we started climbing we had seen view of Guadalest through the clouds in sunshine and hoped that this would continue. Unfortunately when we got there, there was low, low cloud, wind and it was chilly too, so not a single photograph was taken.
The trip was not wasted though. I managed to find a beautiful, really high quality, all leather, back pack handbag in one of the shops there. A quick tea and wee stop at a local cafe enabled me to transfer the contents of the clapped out old handbag into the new one, then we found a waste bin to dispose of the old bag and I was off with new style and panache.
After Guadalest I drove back via the lengthier but easier new road that was built to accommodate the tourist buses from Benidorm (the route that has lots and lots of photogenic wild flowers but no stopping places) and came back to Calpé where it had been sunny ALL DAY! We did a few shopping stops for mundane stuff, then got back to the house, unloaded then repaired to guess where – The Chicken Shack. Here we met with the gardener and paid him, had a few drinks and I wrote this.
Thwarted plans, who cares? There will be another day for a mountain run and photographs. In the mean time I have a very stylish new handbag and a full stomach.