Day 6: Denia to Benidorm - Grampies Go Valencia to Paris: Spring 2024 - CycleBlaze

February 12, 2024

Day 6: Denia to Benidorm

A Type 2 fun day

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White tablecloths, fancy rooms, and many staffers are not the only ways a good breakfast can add to the base rating it gets from having bacon, soft cheeses, and croissants. Today we ran into the quality factor. Our hotel, the Marineta, not only put out the likes of berries and cherries, and croissants, and yogurt, but it made these standouts by their being top quality. The berries, for example, were as fine or finer than what we take from our own garden, and the croissants were tender, and warm. And the coffee was from top brand Illy. To boot, the owner at the end gave me a hug and wished us a great trip. We left the Marineta with a lot of energy, and a warm feeling.

Top quality fruits.
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Great baking, still warm.
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A view to the Balearic ferries.
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Out on the street and by the water, we eyed the large yachts. "Those are not for us" observed Dodie. "Oh", I replied, "Maybe these boats down here are more our speed", indicating the bevy of small craft in the main marina.

Not our yacht.
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Run of the mill boats.
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"Nope", said Dodie, "more like this rowboat, down here".

Could be our boat?
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It was, of course, a silly conversation, since we have no ambition about owning a boat at all. So I turned my attention to another of our non interests - fishing. "I wonder if they have any fish in here".  And looking over the side - 'Yes, they do!"

Fish! in the Mediterranean.
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Over ahead, of course, were fishing boats belonging to real fishers.

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Turning our attention back to land, we observed some of the large apartment buildings that face the sea.

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And here are some boutique hotels, much like the one we stayed in.

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We started on our track, heading out of town. When we had a little distance we looked back and could now see a bit of a castle on a hill. We captured it, for Kelly Iniguez.

Castle on a hill.
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We also passed a minaret type tower, perhaps recalling the Moorish past.
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Everything was going well, including the temperature which had started at a slightly cool 14, rising rapidly, so that we kept stopping to shed layers. Then came the opening salvo of what was to quickly become the theme for the day. For this, the track directed us down a steep slope of dirt and large rocks. We balked, and were standing there taking the opportunity to remove more clothes and also to search the GPS for a real road, when another cycling couple came along. They were from Netherlands, but seemed to know the area. They assured us that in a short distance the track would return to pavement. With this, they unhesitatingly dove down the slope. 

The way to Benidorm?
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No hesitation from Dutch cyclist.
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Karen PoretFiets route from Netherlands 🇳🇱 “guide” are always the best!
Goed!
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2 months ago
Karen PoretTo Karen PoretOn second thought.. are you certain he’s Dutch? He’s wearing a helmet! (but not spandex)🤔
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2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Karen PoretLaw here to wear helmets. When in Rome....
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2 months ago
Karen PoretTo Steve Miller/GrampiesYay! Thank you for sharing this and educating me at the same time! Bravo!
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2 months ago

The Dutch cyclists turned out to be (sort of) right, as the track did return to pavement, for a while anyway. We traveled through the customary oranges, even observing some being harvested into crates and loaded onto transport trucks.

An orange harvest
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A flash of multicoloured birds caught our attention next. At first I thought we had come upon some exotic bird colony. And it did turn out to be something exotic. It was a flock of Spanish painted pigeons. They are part of a very traditional sport, in which male pigeons compete to determine who is the best at courting. The males fly around, vying for a chance for some private billing and cooing with a female. Eventually most lose strength or interest, leaving a victor. To determine who is who among the pigeons, they are spray painted in various colours. You can read more about this strange birding activity at this link.  

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We found a souvenir feather!
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We left the pigeons and continued on the track, regarding with mild interest the various mountains and hills all around.

Nearby mountains
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and hills.
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Building up a hill
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A poster board described a phenomenon we had already noted - round towers on some hilltops. These turn out to be the remains of wind powered mills. There are enough of them that the poster set out a walking circuit among them, for those so inclined!

Some of the "Mills of Gata"
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We were obviously climbing during all this, or we would not have been photographing mountain top mills.  But our concern grew as we looked ahead, and saw that the main road was getting ready to snake through a pass. What did that mean for us?

The main road climbs away.
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The answer was that our track followed the road, but by wiggling around beside it or crossing underneath. To do this, however, it used rough and steep gravel.

Our road becomes rough and heads up.
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Now too rough to cycle
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The main road is above, we are below.
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Finally our path became steep and rough enough that Dodie could neither pedal nor push on it. So we sent her up walking, and I jockeyed both bikes along, by going up with one and walking back to get the other.

Dodie becomes a hiker.
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Karen PoretShe’s so good at adaptation!
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2 months ago
Ah yes, here is my bike. Need to grab it and get a little further and higher.
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After quite a long and hard struggle, we came upon two other cyclists resting on a rock. They were from Netherlands, and so spoke English. They were coming the other way, and let us know that the tough gravel ended not too much further on. Dodie set off, and the Dutch man said "Hey, you forgot your bike!" But once he understood how we had been doing it, he took Dodie's bike and jockeyed it up and through the rough gravel after her. This speeded things up a lot for us, and I hope we thanked him enough, as he parked Dodie's bike in a smoother spot, not so far from where the pavement began again.

The Dutch couple
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Scott AndersonWhat good Samaritans!
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2 months ago
Karen PoretTo Scott AndersonDank!
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2 months ago
Dutch cyclist helping Dodie through the rough gravel.
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Jacquie GaudetSuch a nice fellow!
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2 months ago
They are arriving at a smoother spot.
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Around us there are still lots of mountains.
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and the rough conditions are not over until
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it's over!
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Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Karen PoretThat was our thought.
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With the pavement restored we could continue on our merry way, for instance observing a farmer cultivating the dormant grapes.

He is not using a rotovator, but the result looks similar.
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In short order we came to a spot where we could see the sea again, and it looked like all there remained to do was to spiral down, and we'd be there. Ha! what a foolish presumption.  

We followed our track until, whoa, it wanted us to go down the hillside seen below, and with no real path in evidence.

Turn right, down the hill?
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Again we balked, and I had the bright idea of getting Osmand+ to show us a way out of here. We programmed that in, and now had the authoritative voice of the program speaking "turn left" "turn right" and the distressing "you have now been off the route for 60 meters" (so get with it?)

Unbelievably, Osmand now took us a different way, but soon also up a goat track with large rocks.

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Up and up we struggled, thinking Osmand must know what it was doing.

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Finally we agreed that this was ridiculous, and we turned back one more. We vowed not to go on another road that was not paved, and headed down.

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Practically what it meant was finding our way to N-332, the standard car road to Benidorm.

N-332! Now we oughta get there!
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From N-332 we could see that some of the mountains were not lurking behind the coast, but were on the coast!

Wow, who dropped this among all those buildings? It's the Penon de Ifach, at Calpe.
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N-332 had its own challenges. For example, we approached a headland and wondered if now we would have to climb that as well. "N-332 will never have to climb over a thing like that", opined Dodie. And she was right. Instead we ha to go through some challenging tunnels!

There were lots of cyclists on road bikes on this road.
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Light at the end of a tunnel!
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Finally we landed at the beach, and again I was sure our problems were over. We even saw and later identified two new to us Gulls.

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24129 Black-headed Gull - adult, breeding plumage
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24130 Black-headed Gull - Juvenile or non breeding adult
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Lots of road bikers were here as well. I think these were part of a German cycling team.
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The beach ran into yet another headland, but this time the road successfully ducked behind it, without needing any tunnels.

Tis put us on track for Benidorm, and good thing, because our strength, batteries, and time left before evening were all running low.

Our first view of Benidorm was as a town of tall towers.

We arrive at Benidorm.
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A typical tower
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Karen PoretLooks like a stack of oreos🙄
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2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Karen PoretOh my gosh, you're right. Did not notice at the time.
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2 months ago
Karen PoretTo Steve Miller/GrampiesProbably because your mind is more on pastries..🥮 😉
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2 months ago
The town seemed to look like this
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and this
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As we descended closer to the beach, we found a large mostly walking street parallel to the water. Then at the water, another large area with many people strolling past shops. We took a street that was at right angles to the shore, and that too was packed. We noticed a lot of noisy bars too. Overall, the impression was like Playa del Carmen on steroids.

This road parallels the beach
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The scene at the beach. The light is dropping!
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Benidorm near the beach looks like this!
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and this
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I was glad to follow in Dodie's wake, as we plowed with the bikes through to our hotel.
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Paloma Blanca at a fountain.
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We bust out of the crowded area, but could see that the city extended for quite some distance.

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At last we found our hotel, the   Marconi. It's quite cheap, but efficient. For example, we like the number of plugs, with one on each side of the bed. The scene below is directly across from the hotel, not that in our cheap room we have any view. MO

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Today's ride: 66 km (41 miles)
Total: 187 km (116 miles)

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Karen PoretCongratulations!! What a day!
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonThanks for being a pioneer for us! It prompted me to go back and check the route we’re planning on taking through here.
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2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Scott AndersonJust so you avoid the one we took! There are some small roads closer to the sea, a bit longer and maybe over the headlands, but at least you would be riding, not hikeabike.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesThat’s definitely our plan. It’s longer but we’ll be breaking it in half with a stop in Calp, a spot Rich Frasier spoke highly of.
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2 months ago
Suzanne GibsonWhat a day, no type of fun for me! Except for perhaps the friendly Dutchman who gave you a hand.
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2 months ago
Sue PriceThank goodness for friendly bikers, eh? What a day for you both!
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2 months ago