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May 26 thru June 2, 2012| Alfaz del Pi, Spain

The drive from Costa del Sol to the Coasta Blanca region was about 7 hours long. We traveled through the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains making our way to the eastern coastline. All along AP7, the autopisto (tollway), especially through the province of Almeria there were miles and miles of greenhouses except that they were white; white plastic everywhere.  At times the entire landscape was literally blanketed in white plastic from mountain to the sea. 

It wasn’t until later that we learned that Spain is a leading producer, in Western Europe, of fruits, especially citrus. Because of the arid environment all of these crops are grown in these fully protected and irrigated green houses. Spain is also one of the world's leading producer and exporter of olives and olive oil. Olives are grown in nearly all of the southern and eastern provinces and I can attest that they are delicious, better than any I’ve ever tasted before and they are readily available in any of the local markets.

Our ‘home’ for this week was the Alfaz Paradise Club located in the town of Albir. A typical European venue, this 2 story flat was a little older and a little smaller, by US standards, but the view was stunning. Albiz, the beach town within Alfaz del Pi, is very much an international town where you will find restaurants representing every country in the world. The high points in Albir were the weekly market, the Enrique Mendoza winery, the scenic hikes to the Albir Lighthouse in the Sierra Gelada and the beautiful bougainvillea that were everywhere.

Altea
Just a few miles away is ‘Old Altea’; probably our favorite spot in the Alfaz del Pi region. It is a very quaint very hilly section of the city of Altea with tiny alleyways that are shared by pedestrians, Vespas, bicycles and cars…all at the same time. It also has a pretty little church sitting high above the rest of the town with a beautifully aromatic arched entryway covered in Jasmine. Down an alleyway near the church we found a wonderful treasure, an artista de ceramica named Eugenio Mira. With very little English being spoken, we managed to break the language barrier and enjoy a ‘conversation’ with Eugenio, learn about his art and wonder through his workroom.  His ceramic work uses beautiful earthy colors and a creative interpretation of nature. We loved it all.    

Benidorm
Also just a few miles down the coast is Benidorm; a large city with skyscrapers lining the beach.  Hotels, tourists, bars and restaurants can be found all the way down the beach promenade; more ‘happening’ and crowded than Albir, Benidorm is a perfect vacation spot for the beautiful beach crowd. One of the highlights of Benidor is the  Benidorm Palace. Their floorshow is similar to something you’d see in Vegas, with talented acts, lots of lights and a live band for dancing after the show.

Next stop is Barcelona!

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