Aug 312012

Back to visit us again!

It was with great pleasure that we welcomed Marie, Anton and their daughter Jana back to Villa Florencia again – this was their third visit and the second one in our self-catering apartment. They live in Switzerland, although originate from South Africa, so are always pleased to see some of our warm Spanish sunshine – and this visit did not fail to disappoint, with beautiful warm weather and lots of time relaxing in the pool and gardens.

They stayed with us for a week here on the Costa Blanca and during that time also went to the city of Valencia, specifically to see the Oceanografic aquarium at the City of Arts and Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias). This was as a belated birthday treat for Yana, who loved all the exhibits there and especially the glass tunnels that you walk through with marine life swimming all around you. Other excursions included a trip to the nearby Monastery of Sant Jeroni de Cotalba, which they found well worthwhile and which forms part of the La Safor monastery route and pilgrimage.

Marie and Anton immediately felt on holiday here, as they were already acquainted with the house and the local amenities, so were able to make the most of their stay with us. Routine trips to the supermarket and shops were all very easy for them, and most of the time they catered for themselves in their apartment. One evening, however, they joined our other guests for a barbecue in the gardens and on another occasion took advantage of our evening meal service up on the terrace. Their final night was a Thursday – one of the nights that many of the cafés and bars in Gandia participate in a special promotional tapas evening – so we were pleased to be able to take them out to the town and show them some of the places frequented by local people on an ordinary night out. This way they really felt they were able to get a proper feel for the town, in a way that they might not otherwise have done.

Their week’s visit soon came to an end, however, and it was time for them to drive back up to Barcelona and catch their flight home to Switzerland. It was a real pleasure to see them here again, and we are glad that they feel so at home and relaxed at our Casa Rural. We very much look forward to seeing them again with more of our Costa Blanca sunshine to warm them up!

Aug 302012

Our First Polish Guests

A few weeks ago we received a booking from Tomasz and Tadeusz, who were looking to spend nine days with us here in search of some reliable sunshine and warmth and an escape from what has not been a very reliable summer in Poland. They were to be our first guests from Poland, so of course we were delighted that we could accommodate them for the time they wanted. Their arrival was delayed by a few hours due to problems with their flight from Krakow, so they only reached us in the small hours of the morning, but they were very glad to find us with no problems even in the dark.

It was a lovely surprise for them, therefore, when they woke up the next morning to find themselves in such beautiful surroundings with the La Safor mountains almost in the front garden and the swimming pool beckoning to be tried out! Having had such a late arrival they were very glad to be able simply to relax and take it easy for the first day and to get used to their new surroundings, so after a leisurely breakfast, that is exactly what they did. They soon felt very much at home, and wanted to know all about the area and where they could go for lunch and dinner on different days, as well as taking day trips to some of the surrounding towns and villages.

They were most impressed with the blue flag awarded beach at Playa de Gandia, and went for lunch to the Club Nautico there on more than one occasion, as well as exploring towns such as Xativa with its imposing castle and the monastery at nearby Simat. This was by no means the first time they had visited Spain though, having spent time in Andalusia, the Basque Country and Cataluña, but they had not been to the region of Valencia before. They therefore took the opportunity to go to Valencia city on a couple of occasions, once specifically to visit the City of Arts and Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias) where they wanted to spend time at the Oceanografic – the largest aquarium in Europe. They returned to Valencia later during their stay in order to acquaint themselves with the rest of the city and especially the historic centre, which they found to be a delightful place to visit and tour around.

The rest of their time with us was spent largely relaxing in the gardens and swimming pool and often going to nearby beaches in the earlier part of the day. They also took advantage of our evening meal service on more than one occasion, and joined us and the other guests for a barbecue one night as well. They had a thoroughly enjoyable time with us and managed to fit a lot in to their holiday whilst at the same time relaxing and making the most of the really beautiful weather that lasted for the whole of their visit. The nine days seemed to go past very fast indeed, and all too soon it was time for them to leave and return to Poland, but they assured us they would return to us if they ever visited the Costa Blanca again. It was a pleasure to have them stay with us in our Bed and Breakfast, and we look forward very much to the time when they return.

Aug 252012

We received an unexpected phone call earlier this week from Mariolina and her husband Antonio, who were on their way northwards from Andalucía. In fact, they were already in the Alicante area, and wanted to know if we could accommodate them for a night or two as they passed through the Costa Blanca. They were having a driving holiday in Spain, and had spent the last four weeks touring the country before heading towards Barcelona and the ferry back to Italy.

As it happened, we had a vacancy so were happy to await their arrival later that evening. They made good time from Alicante and soon arrived with us and settled in to their room. They loved the house and gardens, and were so glad that we had room for them at such late notice, having read reviews about us on Trip Advisor. Having already eaten on the way, they did not want to take advantage of our evening meal service, but were happy to enjoy a drink in the garden with us.

They ended up staying for three nights, and took the opportunity to explore the area a little, see the wonderful blue-flag awarded beaches in Playa de Gandia, and visit the Borja Palace in Gandia itself. This was of especial interest to them, as it was the summer home of the Borja family who of course produced the only Spanish popes. They also joined us and our other guests for a barbecue in the gardens on their final night’s stay, before finally having to leave us to head north to Barcelona for a couple of days in the city there, and then the ferry home. They were most appreciative of their stay here with us, and it was a real pleasure to welcome Mariolina and Antonio to Gandia Alberghi Rural. They loved the house, the gardens, as well as our dogs and cats, and we sincerely look forward to the possibility that they might well return to us at some point in the future.

Aug 242012

Pet Friendly Accommodation Spain

We were pleased to welcome an Italian family who came to stay with us for a few days last week, Christian and Paola with their daughter Elena and their two beautifully behaved black setters – Maggie and Martha. They soon settled in, and Maggie and Marta became part of the menagerie here at Villa Florencia! It was the first time they had visited us, and they were doing a trip all around Spain but decided to make us their base for their time on the Costa Blanca.

Maggie and Marta felt at home very quickly indeed, and when the weather was too hot for them in the garden they had no hesitation in taking themselves up to their room and staying there in the cool! Most of the time, however, they preferred to keep close to their owners and accompanied them on trips to Gandia and local village restaurants, as well as on a whole day excursion which took in the Albufera wetlands, a paella lunch at El Palmar, as well as a boat trip on the lagoon and a quick visit to the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia City! Well-travelled dogs indeed and perfectly behaved all the time!

Pet Friendly Accommodation Spain
Another family from Belgium, Herwig, Lut and their daughter Isa, were visiting us at the same time – in fact this is approximately their fifth stay here. The pet-friendly accommodation that we offer was even taken up by them too. They did not arrive with a dog, but they found an abandoned puppy on one of their day trips to the surrounding countryside. They brought her back here with them, and of course were totally won over by her and soon decided to do whatever was necessary to take her back to Belgium with them. Julia, as she was soon named, also settled in amazingly quickly and loved playing with our dogs, learning so much from them in a very short space of time.

Herwig and Lut made veterinary appointments to vaccinate Julia and thereby obtain the necessary papers for her to be able to travel with them back home. Due to restrictions on their airline they could not simply take her with them on the flight they had already booked, so Herwig stayed with us for an extra night and booked himself on a pet-friendly airline the following day and was able to take Julia back to Belgium with no problems at all. We have since had news (and photos!) from them to show that Julia had a very uneventful trip and is happily settled in her new home with them in Belgium. It seems they had been thinking of having a dog anyway, so it seemed that this was somehow simply meant to be – a happy ending for everyone!

Aug 162012
Cycling for families in Spain

A Family Holiday and Birthday Biking Trip

We were really pleased to welcome the Cameron-Jones family when they stayed with us recently, as they were not only spending part of their family holiday in Spain with us here on the Costa Blanca, but also celebrating the 18th birthday of one of their sons, Max. They had booked four nights with us, and planned to spend one of their days on a guided mountain bike tour of the area as well.

Tim and Samantha wanted to have a mix of rest and relaxation along with seeing some of the countryside in this beautiful region of Spain, so decided to spend part of each day relaxing around the pool as well as exploring some of the towns and beaches within easy reach of the villa. On the day of Max’s birthday, Tim and Max, along with his brother Alistair, went for a morning’s mountain-biking with Dave Warrington and had a great time taking in the fabulous scenery and discovering unspoilt mountain villages and hamlets, before returning to the villa for a very welcome lunch. After a well-earned rest in the gardens they set off again, this time with Samantha as well, and took in the whole of the valley opposite us, going as far as the monastery at Sant Jeromi before returning in time for evening meal. They all agreed that it was considerably less effort than they had expected, and that the high quality and technical advantages of Dave’s bikes helped considerably to make it a thoroughly enjoyable day for everyone.

Their other days were spent exploring Playa de Gandia as well as the main town of Gandia itself, enjoying the beaches of Oliva and Gandia, and of course relaxing in our gardens and pool in the truly beautiful weather that they had during their visit. As well as dining out in a couple of the excellent restaurants nearby they also took advantage of our evening meal service and were more than happy to spend the rest of that evening sitting outside in the cool of the garden. However, all too soon it was time for them to move on, and they were travelling a little further south along the Costa Blanca where they intended to visit relatives they had not seen for some time. They had had a good combination of relaxation and activity during their stay with us and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know our part of the La Safor region. It was a pleasure to have them visit us, and hopefully they will return in the future and enjoy another family holiday in the sun at Villa Florencia.


Aug 092012

Family Biking Holidays on the Costa Blanca

We recently had some members of our own family visit us – daughter Samantha with her partner Charlie and their children Adam and Elizabeth – and they were looking forward to some beautiful weather and lots of relaxing around the pool. The first few days of their nine day visit were spent doing exactly that – relaxing after the stresses of their everyday lives, swimming and soaking up the sun.

One evening’s outing took us to Gandía to take advantage of the Tapas Route that many of the bars are promoting in the town at the moment. The idea is that participating bars offer a drink and tapas for €2.00 and townspeople go from bar to bar, sampling the different ones that are available. The quality and quantity of the tapas are both amazing, and it is true to say that most people will have eaten their fill after about four. It is a real family night out for local people and a perfect chance for visitors to the town to get a true feel for Gandia and its friendly atmosphere. Samantha and her family really enjoyed it, and certainly Adam and Elizabeth in particular loved the fact that they could join in on what in England would not be such a family or child friendly affair.

After that, it was time to have a little more of an active time on their summer break on the Costa Blanca, so we decided to climb up to the rock-climbing faces of our local climbing crag – Gandia Crag, or Penya Roja as it is known locally. We set off late one afternoon after the heat of the day had subsided, and made our way up along a rocky path to the base of the climbing faces and then walked along the path that runs around the crag where true rock-climbers scale the climbing routes. The views across the valley are breathtaking and a great reminder of the beauty of this part of the La Safor region.

More family activity was planned for Sunday, with a mountain biking expedition to the famous wetlands and rice growing area of Valencia known as Albufera. Thanks to Dave Warrington at Mountain Biking Valencia we were able to have a really excellent day out – he collected us all and took us to our starting point in the wetlands, where he guided us along our route of about 15kms to the village of El Palmar, the traditional home of paella, just in time for lunch and then a boat trip out on the huge lagoon there. It is home to a wide variety of birdlife and we were constantly delighted by different birds flying around the boat during the trip. After the boat, it was time to cycle back to Dave’s mini-bus, so after a total of 28kms biking the whole family had had a great day out and enjoyed a totally different experience. The bikes that Dave offers his clients are advanced and well engineered and it always comes as a surprise to those who have not been on a bike for some time that your muscles do not protest unduly the next day either – a really great day out.

Sadly, it was soon time for the holiday to come to an end but it had been a great visit with a wonderful mix of relaxation, activity and quality time together. The weather had been perfect and everyone had thoroughly enjoyed themselves. We look forward to Samantha returning with her family soon, and maybe sampling a more challenging biking route the next time!!

Aug 092012

We were really pleased to welcome Fabien and David from France who came to stay with us recently. They live near Bordeaux, but enjoy spending time in Spain for their holidays, whilst renting out their home in France during that time.

This time they decided to spend some time on the Costa Blanca, before moving further south and finishing their holiday near Marbella. They had not visited our area at all in the past, however, so enjoyed taking trips in the car to some of the surrounding towns and villages, as well as making the most of the beautiful beaches that the La Safor region has to offer.

They stayed with us for a total of five nights, often taking advantage of our evening meal service, and even enjoyed celebrating David’s birthday here as well. However, all good things have to come to an end, and all too soon it was time for them to go on to the next part of their holiday and bid us farewell. However, they had really enjoyed their time with us and were very impressed with the La Safor region as a whole, so they have every intention of returning to us in the not too distant future.