Feb 252012

On Monday we welcomed a guest from just about as far away as you can get – Australia. Nic was travelling on his own and doing a bit of a tour, visiting his father in the U.S. before embarking on a trip around Europe. He had visited his sister in Edinburgh before going on to see Amsterdam and then Berlin before making his way to Spain. However, he felt that he now wanted a break from busy city sight-seeing and was looking for a spell of getting back to the countryside and nature so decided to visit us here in Gandía. He thought we would be well placed for a tranquil, rural setting but within reasonable reach of Valencia city if he wanted to have a quick day trip.

He arrived by train in Gandía, having flown in to Barcelona from Berlin earlier in the day. We were happy to collect him from the station, and he dined in with us on his first evening. When he arrived the previous evening, it was already dark, so the following morning he was very impressed with the surroundings of the villa and felt he had made the right decision in coming here for an away-from-it-all few days. We asked us for a packed lunch, and then we dropped him off at the hiking centre up in the mountains behind us, near the village of La Drova. He then spent the rest of the day hiking through the mountains along the well-marked routes, and had a thoroughly enjoyable time in the beautiful surroundings. The weather was just perfect for a day’s hiking as well, so he was doubly rewarded on his first day with us.

On the next day, he felt he wanted to sample more of the same but with a difference, so we suggested he come out on a mountain biking trip, organised courtesy of Mountain Biking Valencia, a local organisation based in La Drova. This was a great idea, and Nic was taken by Dave Warrington (the owner) in his people carrier, complete with bikes, to a suitable starting point – and the day started from there. Nic had a wonderful day, completing a round trip of over 40 kms, and seeing so much of the countryside that he would otherwise have missed out on completely. Mountain rivers, gorges, a ruined castle and a beautiful reservoir were all on the route, so Nic really felt that he was getting to see the true beauty of the area and leave the bustle of the cities that he had visited earlier on his trip way behind him.

Thursday was a day for sightseeing again, and Nicholas did not want to miss out completely on seeing the city of Valencia when he was so near. It was another beautiful, sunny day and he caught the train into the heart of the city and soon realised that there was a large contingent of British visitors wherever he went. He was soon told that there was a football match taking place between Valencia and Stoke City! Thinking that this was an opportunity not to be missed, he bought a ticket to see the match – a great experience for him, and one that he enjoyed greatly. He nevertheless managed to fit in a good deal of time exploring the historic part of the city as well, so by the time he returned to us on an evening train, he felt he had had a really full day experiencing not only the beautiful and elegant city, but also seeing at first hand the passion the Spanish feel for their football games. Once again, he had a really great – and totally spontaneous – time, and one which was a contrast to anything else he had experienced on his trip away from home so far.

Friday was time for his departure, and basically a reverse of his arrival. He had a flight already booked from Barcelona to the UK where he was going to be revisiting his sister in Scotland, so we dropped him off at the railway station to catch a train to Valencia and the on to Barcelona in time for his evening flight. Nic said that he had enjoyed his time with us hugely, and that a country break was just what he needed as a change from the hustle and bustle of the cities that he had been visiting on his trip until now. A day in Valencia was great too, but the tranquillity and beauty of the La Safor countryside was a real tonic for him. Days spent hiking and mountain biking were a great contrast and an unexpected pleasure, and he was greatly surprised by the rural delights that this part of the country has to offer.

We thoroughly enjoyed having him visit us, and who knows – maybe he will come here again next year and see the area in the warmth of summer and make the most of the stunning beaches we have here too!