Picture of the Week

3 June 2015

Week 24: Puerto de Tudons and Takis’s party

Filed under: — Administrator @ 14:42

Last week I was able to spend quite a bit of time on my bicycle in the mountains surrounding Alicante, so most of the pictures in this blog come from those outings. But of course there are also some of the usual pictures taken while walking the dog, and of people eating, drinking and having a good time–this is Alicante, after all!

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Starting with dog walk pictures, I keep trying to get better portraits of the stray cats I feed. They are shy and always wary of me, especially since I have a dog with me. But on the other hand, they want the food:
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Somewhat toungue-in-cheek, scattered body parts on a playground:
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On Sunday morning, I drove to Valencia to vote in the Polish presidential election at the consulate there. Near the consulate there is this very striking sculpture in the middle of a roundabout. I have no idea what it represents, but it is certainly big:
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More modest street art, Avenida Cortes Valencianas (still in Valencia):
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Prospective customer:
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Monday was a public holiday, and I took advantage to do a long bike ride in the mountains, preparations for the following weekend’s “conquest” of an important mountain pass. This is the road between Aigües and Relleu. Some serious switchbacks here:
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This is one of my favourite spots during the ride; I am going downhill for a little while, getting a much needed break, but I can see in the distance that I will soon pay for that (I have photographed this spot before, but this is a better image, I think):
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Relleu is a typical inland small town in these parts, complete with weekend cyclists and cat:
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From Relleu, I rode back towards the coast, stopping to photograph some impressive rock formations along the way, both in colour and B&W:
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Back to my neighbourhood in Alicante. The lavender trees are in full bloom:
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I also continued my visual exploration of the tree stumps in the park:
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Back to Aigües, another cat photo in a sleepy town:
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On Friday night, my wife and I had the good fortune to attend a truly unique event. One of the people at the office who has worked there from the very beginning in the mid-1990s, is retiring soon. He is Greek and has a long and unpronouncable name, so he wisely goes by the name Takis. He is also one of the most popular people at the office, so it was not surprising that his pre-retirement party was extremely well attended.

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The overall setting:
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The party was a joint effort by the wine club Bacchus and the photo club Lightbox. Without question, the contribution of Bacchus was the more important of the two. This is William Copine, one of the early executives of the office, now long retired. After retirement he stayed in Alicante and went into winemaking. While his early efforts were apparently not great, the wines on this evening were very pleasant:
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The main man of the evening, Takis:
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Of course there were presents for Takis:
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Warm feelings:
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Darkness has fallen but the festivities continue:
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Given Friday’s festivities, on Saturday I did just a short 60 km ride to warm up my legs for Sunday’s big ride. This is one of the nicer views on my way to Aigües. On the left is the wall of a property called Finca Las Delicias, while in the distance on the right, Alicante is just about visible:
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The village of Busot:
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The rest of this week’s images are from Sunday’s 105 km ride, which for the first time took me through the Puerto de Tudons mountain pass which often features in the Vuelta a España bicycle race. This is the road from Aigües to Relleu, the first part of the climb up:
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I stopped for a rest in Relleu, a town about 35 km into the ride and at about 450 meters above sea level, so with lots of climbing still to do. This old sports car had passed me on the way up:
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Outside Relleu, instead of turning towards the coast as I usually do, I turned up into the mountains. New territory for me in terms of the climbing, and in terms of the views:
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Now the serious climbing has begun. From Relleu to the mountain pass is a distance of 16 km with 600 meters vertical difference, much of which is concentrated on the last 3-4 km. The barriers alongside the road still have inscriptions from Vueltas past:
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Finally, after just over 50 km of cycling, I have reached my goal:
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There were lots of motorcycles on the mountain roads:
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On the way back to the coast, I passed the town of Sella:
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As is usually the case with these small mountain towns, the highest point of the town is occupied the local cemetery:
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About 10 km down the road is the town of Orxeta. I have ridden or driven through here many times over the years. These monuments to the financial crisis have stood here for a least 5 years. Next to them are some completed homes, but evidently funding dried up before the developer could finish the work:
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After this, I rode home the remaining 35 km or so, stopping only to fix a flat in the front wheel–in other words, a complete cycling experience!

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