Day 7: Benidorm to Alicante - Grampies Go Valencia to Paris: Spring 2024 - CycleBlaze

February 13, 2024

Day 7: Benidorm to Alicante

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I seem to be running a series on slightly unusual aspects of the included  breakfasts we are experiencing in the hotels. Today's entry could be titled the Grumpy Old Men's breakfast.

It started when we showed up at 7:52 for the 8:00 breakfast. Everything was ready and out there, but as we strolled toward the seating, a (grumpy old) man leapt from behind the bar, and sternly told us in Spanish that the breakfast did not start until 8. Dodie replied in English that she would just go then and sit and wait. But she was thereby continuing her stroll, and the man slightly freaked . He took out his cell phone and with animation  pointed to the 7:52 readout on the clock. His intent was to show that we were eight long minutes too early. As it happens, I also had my phone out with the clock on, and I brandished this back, but my intent was to show that it was as good as 8:00 as anyone could want. So here were two grumpy old men brandishing cell phones at cross purposes, to start the day right.

We used our eight minutes to select just the right table, from the dozens in the large room. We chose a double one, because we are messy and generally need space. This triggered the man to again leap from behind his bar and ask us in Spanish if we were to be two people or four.  When we admitted to being two, he launched an elaborate procedure of separating the table  into two. I snapped a picture of our newly separated table, so as not to forget this essential story:

Tables properly arranged by the grumpy bar man.
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I also took this shot, to show that there was not exactly a shortage of table space.

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I think we decided we no longer had an affection for our separated table, and chose another one, closer to the buffet tables. Dodie walked to the chosen table, and put her bag down beside what would be her seat. But a few moments later (and Dodie certifies it was later) a grumpy old man came a plunked his pill case in the middle of our table. "Hey", said Dodie in English, "this is our table". "No way", said the man in Spanish. "see my pill case!".  There was a brief grumpy old man/old lady confrontation, and surprisingly our forces withdrew to the next table over.

These events, and others during our stay, led us to conclude that this hotel had many long term residents, and that they were typically grumpy old men. Dodie decided that with the pills situation, she had intruded on what was probably that old man's customary table. The net effect was that so much unlike our experience in Denia, we felt uncomfortable and just quickly ate and left.

We did leave with some sandwiches in the disputed handlebar bag, and were surprised that the bar man had not picked up on it!

Pill case man, and other possible long term denizens. Hey, how did those two get to keep their doubled table??
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The rather sour vibe inside the hotel was countered by the beautiful beach just outside, though all those high rise apartments do not necessarily make for the most idyllic image. They are stunning in their own way, though.

The beach in the southern bit of Benidorm.
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I walked onto the sand for a look at the birds there, and found a rather common but nice Yellow Legged Gull.

Yellow legged gull
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and some Black Headed Gulls in flight.
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or squabbling in the water.
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The beaches here go on for dozens of kilometers.
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All along this coast there are massive apartment buildings. Some are imposing perhaps block long and twelve story high monoliths, and some are almost imaginative narrow skyscrapers.

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Karen PoretHey! Climb to the top and slide on down! ( building on top upper left of this photo)
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2 months ago
This one has a bit of styling.
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Our route seems destined to generally follow the N332 or N332A highway. In parts this can be very nice, such as with the bike lane shown below.

Bike lanes here are strange, because they run down the centre of streets.
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All along the way, there are dramatic mountain scenes. The dry slopes remind me on some in Arizona. And often rather than an interconnected range, there are standalone huge rocky things.

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Some interesting houses on a hill.
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Very often on the road as well one can look at peletons of road cyclists. touring cyclists are almost non existent, but we like to see cyclists of all types.

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Even though N332 would bring us to our destination, we still are interested to see if our Google Mymaps generated track has something quieter or more interesting. I guess we don't learn, because invariably what it has is some sort of Grampie trap.  Here below is what it had to offer during one of its deviations from N332.

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We backtracked, and had to get on the main road again. One benefit of this was that we ran into a road cyclist, Geir Kristiansen, from Norway. Geir said hello as he pulled up from behind us, and we managed to have a cyclist meetup as we moved on down the road. Geir cycled beside us, unperturbed by the passing traffic, or just waving to motorists that may have felt we were using too much space.

Gier had a very light road bike, and though he was just idling along to chat with us, we were working quite hard on our ebikes to maintain the pace. We had a nice long chat, as often happens, about all aspects of cycling, of where we had all been, and of life in general.  One result is that we will have a place to drop in in Norway,  when we make it there .

Motorists just need to pull over!
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Comparing details of helmet design.
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We have both made a new friend.
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These black bull outlines are often seen along Spanish roads.
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Both Geir and Google suggested a diversion from the main road, down by way of Coveta. We gave it a try, and here it was likely us that screwed up. At first there were some nice houses and hills to look at:

Houses and hills above Coveta.
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But it became clear we would have to negotiate this, to reach better roads below.
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Scott AndersonThanks again! We’ll avoid this one too.
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2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Scott AndersonIf you zoom in with the RWGPS map, you can easily see our various miscues. Yesterday they were pretty major. There is some debate here about what the map shows, but I (Steve) think we were never getting out unless we backtracked as we did. Dodie thinks she sees some dotted lines and little roads that (by midnight!) could have been our hikeabike exit.
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2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Scott AndersonDodie says - take the left turn at the gas station and go down, down, down, to the sea and the good bike path. Our track does finally show this after 2 false starts.
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2 months ago
We had descended a fair bit, when a cyclist pushing up advised us that this was the wrong way to be going. So we too switched to pushing up, over the rough trail. I thought I had told myself yesterday that I was not going to be doing this! Dodie, down below in the photo, is going to need a boost to get up.
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We did get down to the beach, and with it, to the long long beach front paved walkways. In the particular bit shown, a policeman on a motorcycle came along and seemed to shout at us about not riding bikes here. It's a topic in some kind of Political Science - is it OK for police to dangerously speed, to catch a speeder?  Is it OK for police to ride a motorcycle on a beach path, to make sure no one bicycles? Fortunately with some harsh words from Dodie, this one rapidly disappeared, and we did not have to have any further  politics or law enforcement debates.

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The beachside drive soon resolved any debate, by having this great bike path.
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Nearing Alicante we crossed a dry river, that clearly had been dry for a long time. Dodie has been reading about drought that has been here for some time.

This dry river has had walkways installed.
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One of the major attractions of Alicante is the Santa Barbara castle, built by the Moors in the 9th century.  The castle was captured from the Moors by Prince Alfonso of Castile, in a battle on the feast day of Santa Barbara, accounting for the name.  We spent a long time in town looking for our hotel, and though this is right by the castle, we will not have time to visit it.

Looking up to Santa Barbara castle.
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Karen PoretGuess the street light is on to make sure you “see” it..
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2 months ago

Near the beach in Alicante, I noticed this uniquely decorated house. I knew Google would know all about it, and indeed it does. It is just a privately owned house, belonging to a local restauranteur. Apparently city council has not liked it's idiosyncratic look, and it has had to be saved from demolition. Weird.

The "Fish House"
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Fish House detail
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The streets of Alicante as we moved about, heading for our hotel, appeared to be comprised of tightly spaced up to ten storey buildings.

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This statue defines the centre of town. It's images are rather strange, including the sort of fruits atop the horses.

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Karen PoretAt least they know how to park!
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2 months ago
This neighbourhood has lower rise but still tightly packed buildings.
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A look up to the castle, from our Hostal El Patio. Perhaps tomorrow we will have better light for a photo, but we will have to return another time to do an actual tour.
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Today's ride: 52 km (32 miles)
Total: 239 km (148 miles)

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Scott AndersonGreat breakfast story! What’s the name of this place? I want to check and make sure we’re not booked there too.
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2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Scott AndersonThe Marconi
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2 months ago
Bill ShaneyfeltMarconi... Did they have an old, really old radio?
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesPhew! We’re booked at the Casual Pop Art, which sounds interesting enough. Doesn’t sound like a retirement home full of grumpy old men. At least.
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2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Bill ShaneyfeltNot that we noticed, but many of the residents looked like they could have been from that era.
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2 months ago