After the peak holiday period of the summer months, which extends into the middle of September, we have enjoyed meeting a wide variety of guests who have booked with us to make the most of the continuing good weather here on the Costa Blanca, but without the high season crowds.
The main attractions of a late break in this part of the Costa Blanca are the variety of things to do and see, other than sitting on one of the award-winning beaches in the area. Sharon and Dick came all the way from Chicago, for example, and spent time here as part of a much longer tour around the country. They wanted to stay in a rural setting but with easy access to the city of Valencia and found this location ideal with the convenient and frequent train service nearby. They went to Valencia a couple of times during their visit, as well as taking some scenic drives through the beautiful mountains that lie inland from Gandia and getting to know our local town as well.
Matthias and Christian from Hamburg also wanted to visit the city easily, which they did a couple of times during their stay with us as B & B guests. However, they also took advantage of the fact that at this time of year it is possible to find good-value air fares to the Balearic Islands and took a day trip to Ibiza from Valencia airport, which is only about 45 minutes’ drive from Villa Florencia. They had a great day, leaving early in the morning and returning in the late evening, and felt they had managed to add a whole new dimension to their stay here on the Costa Blanca. Other visitors from Germany included Sabrina and her cousin Tanja, but their visit not only was to reap the benefits of some late summer sun, but also to lend assistance at the nearby animal rescue centre in Gandia, run by SPAMA. Sabrina had visited us before on a working holiday, and this time brought her cousin with her to help as well. They stayed in our self-catering apartment and combined their time working in the rescue home with visiting Playa de Gandia in their spare time to enjoy the lovely weather, before returning to a much colder Germany!
Now that the heat of the summer has passed, some of our guests had come in order specifically to take part in some of the outdoor recreational activities that abound in this area in the cooler months. Mark and Christian from Belgium spent time with us (leaving their wives in Valencia city to do more sightseeing) and booked time for mountain biking trips as well as bird watching expeditions. The weather was perfect for this, as it was pleasant and sunny without being too hot for strenuous exercise and they biked around some of the inland towns and villages on guided routes courtesy of Dave Warrington at Mountain Biking Valencia. They found the scenery beautiful and had a wonderful time visiting places they would most certainly not have discovered on a day trip in their car. Their bird watching hobby is also one that they could enjoy in the local area, with an expedition to the Albufuera wetlands south of Valencia city, arranged by Valencia Birding where they were able to spot a large number of different species, often already on their migratory routes south.
Rock climbing is also a hugely popular sport in this region and attracts many visitors from all over the world, once the cooler weather arrives. We were pleased to welcome two visitors from Canada who called on us in the hope we would be able to accommodate them, as well as give them helpful information regarding the best climbing crags in the area. We pointed them in the direction of Gandia Crag nearby where they spent the whole day, before returning to us as darkness began to fall. The following day was an early start for them, as they were intending to visit other crags to the south and find accommodation for their next night’s stay. Again, they were pleasantly surprised with what was to be found in our little corner of the La Safor region!
Other guests included travellers from England who were spending time here visiting relatives in the area, but wanting the added flexibility of staying close by rather than imposing on their family members. We were also pleased to welcome other British guests who were in fact living out here in Spain, but wanted to acquaint themselves with our part of the Costa Blanca – all part of a long weekend break to celebrate a wedding anniversary. Perhaps the most unusual reason for visiting us though was that of three Spanish couples from Asturias in the north – they visited us for a long weekend with their eight German Shepherd dogs who had been entered in a national German Shepherd dog show that was being held in Gandia. They found that the accommodation here suited them perfectly, as they rented our self-catering apartment and their dogs slept in their trailers in our secure car parking area. They were quite safe and happy doing this, as they often travel for similar events and the trailers are very comfortable and sufficiently spacious.
So there have been many reasons for our late season guests to visit us, ranging from part of a tour of the rest of the country, getting to know the area generally, working in an animal rescue centre, or taking part in a prestigious dog show! Whatever the reason, all our guests had a thoroughly enjoyable time and were pleasantly surprised at just how much there is to see and do in this part of the Costa Blanca, in addition to their main reason for coming in the first place. Many of our guests felt that they would have liked to stay longer, but existing travel plans or commitments prevented them from doing so, but hopefully we will see them again next year when they can do and see the things they ran out of time for on this occasion.