It has been months, I know. I am sorry, it has been crazy times. Let’s start at the very beginning. The hike from Benageber to Chelva was absolutely spectacular and I am so happy we did it. It was my very first overnight hike and I made sure I caught all the best pictures and wrote down every little thought I had. It was intense. Our hiking mapas were a little bit messy, so the difference in altitude was worse than we thought we had read, resulting in us going up and down (on 25-30% slopes) for ages, in the burning sun, with our backpacks. We made it, but it was nothing short of torture, the final 5 kilometres. We were soooo happy finding out that Chelva is a town of springs (fountains), and the moment we reached the city borders there were multiple fuentes to stick our heads under and cool our bodies. You laugh, but it was a heavy trip. I would’ve shown you, if it wasn’t for me, dropping my phone in one of the fuentes, turning it back on and killing it. Well done, Syl. Bye, bye pictures and notes.
So that’s why there is no blog about this amazingly beautiful, but intense hike. In Benageber I ordered a new phone, which was funny as well. My cousin Wesley knows everything digital and IT and he usually helps me find the best phone for me. And this time (yes, I know) it wasn’t any different. So I looked the phone up on Spanish websites, to see if they have it here and if so, if it’s cheaper. Well, no. It was actually 100 euros more expensive than in NL, which is really weird, but I checked everything. The only time the phone was the same price, was when I would choose a refurbished one. Luckily I saw that Belsimpel.nl delivers to Spain! What? YES! So I just figured, I’d buy it there and let it send to this really tiny mountain village in the middle of nowhere in Iberica. So that’s what happened. I ordered it online, got sent an email stating that it would be delivered in 2 working days…. I beg your pardon? 2 working days? Are you sure? In Spain? They also gave me a track & trace so I could follow my pedido (teaching you all a bit of Spanish along the way), and it was well on it’s way within 2 or 3 hours. It was crazy, within 12 hours it was on Valencian ground, travelling from the Netherlands to Cologne and then to Valecia by airplane. But then we were at the mercy of the Spanish delivery Gods and it came to complete halt. The stereotype ‘mañana, mañana, traquillo’ is really not exaggerated and you need patience to live here and get anything done, but that’s another story.
After sitting in Valencia Airport (about 100 km away) for about 4 working days, we saw it was on the move and it would be delivered that day between 2 and 6 or something with UPS. You’d think that is a well known, smooth working company, well… not in Spain. The day after I saw a note of the delivery guy stating that ‘I wasn’t home’. We are sure he didn’t want to drive up the mountain for this one lousy package. Another delivery is planned for the next day, so we decide not to go on a hike, but stay near the camper (which is on a giant parking spot at the entrance of the village – you cannot miss it), just in case. That afternoon we get a call from a non-English speaking delivery guy. Thankfully Marc speaks really good Spanish, but on the phone it’s very difficult to understand and they speak like they are AK-47’s, so it has its challenges. Having mentioned that, we decrypted his message, saying that his UPS van broke down in Utiel (30 km down the mountain) and if we couldn’t just come and pick it up. That’s Spain for you. Delivery men asking you to come get you package. We refused. With a vehicle that drives 1:11, it’s hardly any fun going down and back up the mountain again and plus, YOU ARE THE DELIVERY GUY. He told us he won’t be working on the weekends, so then we would have to wait to Monday. That’s no problem, take your time. On Monday I got another phone call (I was using an old phone) when I was down in the shop, and I was again AK-47-ned, so I handed the phone over to the lady of the shop. She AK-47-ned him back and now he knew where to go. An hour later I got my phone delivered on the parking spot in Benagéber. It always works out, some days a little bit faster than other days, but it always works out.
And because I was so pissed off over my phone breaking, I couldn’t be bothered to write a blog about the hike. I promise, I will make it up to you.
After that I had a string of social things, I went to Manuel in Sitges for 2 weeks and in august I went back to the Netherlands for a month, as I usually do. My nephew Oliver was there again and it was amazing to be able to hug him, after not being able to see him for 2 years (for people who don’t know, he lives on ‘Isle of Man’), because of the Covid measures. It was so nice seeing my friends and family again, and I always realise how much I miss them (and a social network in Spain). So when I got back to Valencia, we decided to really focus on getting a place to live for (at least) upcoming winter.
We have been travelling around for a whole year in the Valencia region, so we know this part by heart and love it. But because mountainous Spain is really cold and rainy in winter, we decided to stay (and look) near the coast. Last winter, we spent some time on a small camping in Moncofa, right at the beach, where we got to know the owners and regular visitors. The town has people all year round, there is a market every Saturday, there are no high rises, and it’s an hour train ride away from Valencia City. It’s a sleepy town, but there is always something going on. We really enjoy it here, so it was only natural that we started our search here. We informed Fran(cisco, the owner) that we were looking for a place to rent and asked him if he could keep us in mind if he ever heard something. We sent messages to people putting their houses on Idealista and even had an appointment for a viewing, but the house was poorly located and the (Spanish) owners never showed. We even put up handwritten signs with my phone number, asking people to call us in case they wanted to rent out their apartment. Nothing. September came and went and we had no outlook on ANYTHING, which is very frustrated, because there are so many houses for sale and for rent in Spain. But then, at the beginning of October, Fran came to us, saying that he might have something for us and we could come and view it that night. It was one of the (not-so) mobile homes he has on the campsite. We were immediately attracted to it. It has a big living room with open kitchen, a bathroom WITH BATHTUB, 3 bedrooms and 2 aircons (which also heat in winter). So, since a few weeks we are occupying a casita, where we have hot water (yes!) and a shower, which now is luxury for me. We will be staying here for at least 6 months, so people are more than welcome to visit. We have plenty of space plus the camper.
So, now that we (read: I) have peace of mind because we know we have a (non leaking) roof over our heads this winter, we can get back to hiking on weekends and if weather permits. New adventures await!