Picture of the Week

10 March 2013

Week 10: Tabarca by bicycle

Filed under: — Administrator @ 12:07

Most of this week’s pictures are from the island of Tabarca off the coast of Santa Pola, on the last day of the week (Saturday). But first a few images from earlier in the week.

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I love the colourful recycling bins around Alicante. This one is right around the corner from where we live:
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An interesting, albeit messy, weather phenomenon. In the winter, it sometimes happens that we have a period with strong wind from the south, blowing dust from the Sahara desert up to our part of Spain. If it then rains, as it did last week, everything is coated with the reddish dust:
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And so, everyone cleans up:
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Saturday night, we went to a wine-and-food evening at a casa rural in Aigües, the mountain village to which I often cycle. The place is called Finca El Otero, and it has recently been bought and seemingly renovated by two guys from South Africa, who live here themselves. One can think of it as a sort of luxury bed & breakfast. They have decided to have these monthly wine tastings coupled with suitable food, and this was the first one:
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They have a couple of cute dogs which spent the entire evening lounging in front of the fireplace at one end of the dining room:
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Sunday night we went to a concert at Café Loft, an upscale bar in El Campello. The performer was Liron Man, an Israeli musician who splits his time between Israel and Spain. His instrument looked and sounded like nothing I had ever heard. I thought it was some sort of ancient instrument from a tribe in some exotic place, until he explained that in fact, this instrument was invented in Switzerland 13 years ago or so and is called Hang:
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This is how the Hang is played to produce a surprisingly rich repertoire of sounds:
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Later, he was joined by a violinist whose name I did not catch. The music they produced was both strange and strangely captivating:
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Music by Liron Man can be enjoyed here.

The rest of the pictures are from Saturday’s bike ride to the island of Tabarca. I had long wanted to visit the island on the mountainbike, and yesterday I finally got around to it. To get to Tabarca, one can take a boat from Alicante, sailing for one hour, or from Santa Pola, 30 km south of Alicante, from where it only takes about 25 minutes. I chose the latter option, also in order to have a proper ride too.

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On the way to Santa Pola, I passed this spot with its usual assortment of campers. Of these three, two were from northern Europe, and one had Spanish license plates:
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Further south is one of my favourite spots, this tiny roadside chapel with the large housing estates of Gran Alacant in the background:
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Once in Santa Pola, I got on the boat to Tabarca. While we were leaving the harbour, I noted this very impressive boat, certainly not local:
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The boat I was one was nothing like that. In fact, it was not even the usual large catamaran that sails on this route. Because it is winter, and there are few visitors to the island, they use smaller boats:
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The only passengers besides me and my bike was this Dutch couple:
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The captain let it rip and we left Santa Pola in our wake:
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The village of Tabarca, which has about 200 year-round inhabitants. There are quite a few restaurants and even a couple of hotels, but most of them were still closed for the season:
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The island is not big, to circumnavigate it on the bike is about 3.5-4 km. I moved quite slowly, not only because the terrain is a bit rugged, but mostly because the views are beautiful:
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The village is located at the end of Tabarca closest to the mainland. At the opposite end the landscape looks like this:
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The only sign of human activity on this end of the island, besides the cross on the rocks in the preceding picture, is the island’s cemetery:
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I cycled back to the village. It became quite cloudy, but fortunately it stayed dry:
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There are no cars on Tabarca, and no predators, so basically the cats are at the top of the food chain. There are more cats than people:
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Most of the cats are feral, but people treat them well (the scraps from the restaurants are their main food source, it seems) and so they are quite approachable:
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It is the end of the lunch time slot, and the cats congregate outside one of the open restaurants:
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The garbage containers are a rich source of seafood leftovers:
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I really enjoyed having the bike with me on Tabarca, and will certainly do it again.

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