Picture of the Week

28 May 2020

Week 21: back on the Vía Verde, back to Hostal Maruja

Filed under: — Administrator @ 05:36

During the week, I continued to enjoy the newfound freedom to cycle where I want (almost), and Monday was a significant day for three reasons: it was my daughter’s birthday, bars and restaurants were allowed to open, albeit only with outdoor seating and an appropriate distance between tables, and as of that day I was allowed to ride my bike not only within the limits of my municipality but anywhere within the province of Alicante, which in practice means that I have a radius of close to 100 km. I decided to take Thursday off and visit Hostal Maruja in La Marina–our favourite seafood restaurant, well worth the 40 km drive.

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On Sunday, I cycled up to Villajoyosa–not allowed yet, but I figured that I might get away with it as long as I did not go into the town centre (and I did). Passing the harbour of El Campello, I stopped to photograph the early morning light and the people enjoying the weather:
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My target was Playa Bol Nou, a beautiful secluded beach just south of Villajoyosa. Sadly, this is what greeted me:
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But I snuck across the tape for a minute to enjoy the view. Looking south towards Alicante:
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Looking north towards Benidorm and Villajoyosa:
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On Monday morning I did not take my usual bike ride; instead, I went for a long walk along the beach. The early morning light was lovely, even on prosaic objects like this door:
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A selfie on the paseo:
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El Campello, illuminated by the rising sun:
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Another photo that is mostly about the light:
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The beach is being cleaned up after the winter storms, in preparation for the return of the tourists later this summer (hopefully):
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More light and colours:
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Playgrounds are still off-limits:
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And this restaurant shows no signs of opening even though it could; this is a choice made by several restaurants, presumably based on their calculations that they are better off remaining closed until the restrictions are relaxed further in a couple of weeks:
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Some people just stroll, while others exercise:
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A surfer arrived in his van and proceeded to change, using the rear door to protect his modesty:
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Another surfer arriving, using a different mode of transport:
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On Monday afternoon, I had a dentist appointment. Not something one normally looks forward to, but it was to finish some work started back in January that had been interrupted due to the lockdown, and the fact that she had re-opened was yet another sign of return to normality. The dental clinic is in the neighbourhood in Playa San Juan where I used to live, and I enjoyed the sight of the blooming trees, but even more so the people sitting outside the bar, enjoying an afternoon drink for the first time in two months:
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Close-up of the flowers:
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More flowers, this time my mother’s Magic Cactus and its children, getting ready for a coordinated blooming. This is how things looked Monday evening:
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And less than 24 hours later:
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A couple of cats seen during my morning bike rides. This one is just outside Busot. The building looks like some kind of stable, home to a small flock of goats. I guess the cat is the guardian:
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Another cat, on the main street of Aigües, tiptoeing towards his home:
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Waiting to be let in by his humans:
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The Thursday arrived. I got up early as usual for my bike ride. When I returned home around 10, Monica was just coming home from the beach, having enjoyed the paddle board we bought her for her birthday earlier in the week:
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Then lunchtime arrived. As part of the social distancing measures, Hostal Maruja now takes reservations, both because there are fewer tables due to the 2 meter distance requirement, and to avoid that people spend time bunched up, waiting for a table. So we arrived at 2 p.m. and saw the welcome sight of the restaurant entrance with the sea in the background:
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The terrace, less crowded than usual, but still full:
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Once we sat down, we discovered another little change, now common in the bars and restaurants that have re-opened. Paper menus are a thing of the past, to avoid having yet another item to disinfect between customers. Instead, there is a sticker on each table with a QR code. But what counts is that the delicious food is the same as always, and we happily gorged on several favourites, starting with patatas bravas:
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And continuing with boquerones fritos (fried anchovies), followed by pulpo a la plancha, calamares and the coup de grace, a delicious vegetable paella:
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On Saturday morning, another first for 2-3 months, a ride on my mountain bike on the Vía Verde del Maigmó, a disused railroad track converted to a 22 km long gravel path for cyclists and walkers. Just to get there is a nice ride of about 24 km, first on little roads like these:
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And then a few km on a field path set among vineyards:
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The beginning of the Vía Verde in Agost:
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The nicest part of the route is around midway, at km. 10:
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I met a few other cyclists and walkers during the ride:
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This is probably my favourite view from the track, a field of almond trees with the distant mountains:
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And so ended the first week in relative freedom.

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