For those joining late, I have been travelling around Spain looking for a possible retirement location. If you wish to follow the blog, you can subscribe below to get updates sent directly to you.
Pulling up by taxi to my new accommodation was a welcome relief from the hot sun. The cool sea breeze off the Mediterranean evaporated the perspiration on my forehead as I found my unit with no issues. I’m on the third floor (no lift) but the stairs are straight making it easier for my feet to plant themselves firmly. With all the stairs I’ve been tackling and of course walking to get to most places, my cardio has vastly improved. The place was cleaned this morning, and although not up to my standards, it was certainly suitable for habitation.
I opened all the windows to air out the place. Stepping out on the terrace is the view I had been waiting for. No barriers, just the beautiful, blue sea, palm trees and sand. My lungs inhaled a huge gulp of fresh air, and on exhale, I let out a big “Hell, Yeah!” It was beautiful. For the next 3 weeks this will be my home.
I needed some supplies and discovered an Aldi 300 metres away. What I wasn’t sure of was whether the water was drinkable. It has been drinkable everywhere I have visited, and Spain is proud of the quality of their drinking water. I didn’t want to take any chances, so I picked up a 5L jug and some essentials, bread, coffee, milk, eggs, jamón and cheese. It is important to plan carefully as I have to lug it all back home and up the stairs. My biceps will get a good workout for sure. There is a cafeteria next to the grocery store (Cafeteria La Luz II) that also has freshly baked bread and pastries and wifi. I must remember that for the future. When I arrived home, I was drenched from the 30C heat. Groceries put away, it was time to get on the swimsuit and head to the beach. I discovered one critical missing item, a beach towel. No swimming today, but I walked along the shore and went up to my knees in the beautiful warm water. Tomorrow I will walk into town and purchase a beach towel.
My host dropped by to say hello and brought me a bag of oranges from his own tree. The sweetness of these oranges is a nothing I’ve tasted before. They were warm, juicy, sweet and I was touched by his kindness. He doesn’t speak a word of English, and comes in equipped with Google Translate which we had fun using.
Ive been here for two weeks now and won’t go through each day but here are some of my highlights and what I’ve learned:
Sleeping – I’ve had some issues sleeping back home, but not on this trip and especially in this location. I fall asleep to the soothing waves rhythmically lapping the shore. The palm trees make a beautiful rustling sound, and the light pollution is low. Bliss! Unless you get a mosquito in your room. There are mosquito screens on the windows but those devils do float in with the breeze. I have become a mosquito hunter most evenings and it is working.
Friday/ Saturday – As I mentioned sleep quality is excellent except when the locals head to the beach on the weekend. There is a pool outside my window (from the next complex) and the music and frolicking can last until the wee early mornings. The solution, I close my windows and storm grates and throw on the air conditioning. ¡No problema!
Food Scene – I miss my barbecue! There isn’t a lot of grilled meat in this area of town. Rice or paella for sure. I’m in the Valencia region and paella is the star. Of course fresh seafood is plentiful (shrimp, calamari, octopus, tuna). Dénia red prawns are a delicacy and a must try if you are into that. Be prepared to pay the price. After just over 2 months in Spain, I am craving a barbecue steak or chicken. I’m getting lots of salad, seafood, olives, and of course paella. It’s not that I can’t get the steak or chicken. I have to travel into town for it, and I would prefer not to do that at night. The next building over, there is Restaurante Marina Playa. It isn’t open on all weekdays until July, but is a great find. Nellie and Jean-Claude have befriended me and even gave me a couple of free paella lessons. Jean-Claude is from France and Nellie is from Dominican Republic. Jean-Claude is the genius behind the flavour profiles and presentation. Nellie is the operations manager. The grilled calamari is my favourite along with the berenjeta (fried eggplant) drizzled with azucar miel. Amazing! The beer is ice cold and the hospitality is warm.
Mornings – I love waking up early to see the sunrise from my bedroom window. The position of the terrace is slightly left of where the sun appears, so I just sit in front of the open window and thank my lucky stars for being in such a beautiful location. I then, teeter my way to the kitchen to make my stovetop coffee and get myself ready for the day as it brews. With coffee in hand, I head to the terrace where I write for an hour or longer. This is a ritual of mine. Once done, I then give myself permission to do whatever comes to mind. Walk the beach, go shopping, swim and sometimes all three. Life is simple where I am.
Connectivity – adding to the simplicity is the lack of data connectivity in this location. It is almost like the beach gods are saying “Back away from the phone!” There was a fire in the next building that knocked out the fibre optics and I was almost a full 3 days without wifi or data. I walked into town which is about 15 minutes for a fully mobile person, and a little longer for me. I found a café on Marques de Campo and enjoyed a beautiful moment under the shade of the plane trees while sending a birthday message to my sister-in-law, returning messages and updating family and friends on my current situation. I survived!
Beach – Spain is famous for blue flag beaches and this one (Los Marines) doesn’t disappoint. You can wade out past your waist with your feet on a sandy bottom. No need for water shoes. I haven’t experienced an undertow, and the entry into the water is smooth with no sudden dips to surprise you. From my vantage point I can see the port of Dénia, and a bay where windsurfers and SUP lessons are given. When the wind is blowing they move at quite a pace. I can watch the boats entering the marina, but my favourite is the Balearia ferry. It sounds it’s horn when leaving the port, warning others to get out of the way. I have witnessed more times than not, the personal watercrafts rushing to ride the wake of the ferry. I am sure that it is a blast. The water is 24C and is clear except immediately following a wind storm of which I’ve only encountered once. That is when I learned about Neptune Balls. A Mediterranean sea grass that has been tumbled into orbs by the waves and deposited on the shore. If you want to learn more about these cute spheres, check out this link. The sand is a golden brown and not white like in other areas of Spain, but it is lovely. I haven’t seen anyone grooming the beach like they do in Torre del Mar (an earlier post) so the beach does have grasses washed up on shore but no trash. I have not seen any public washrooms either. I’m happy my unit is a 1 minute walk away. There is a children’s playground around Playa Raset. Topless sunbathing is the norm here. Watching a topless mother and son stroll side-by-side along the shoreline, each eating a peach was new for me. Can’t imagine doing that with my sons. The beach at Playa Raset is accessible.
Services – Being a little remote, means the availability of pharmacies and stores are scarce. There is the Aldi for groceries, and a Rossman (similar to Shoppers but without drugs). I saw a physiotherapist advertised by an apartment complex and I met a lady on the beach who has a nail salon (Elements) at the top of the street, but darn it if I can find her. I must find her before I leave. Real estate agencies and bike rentals are easy to find. And there are some restaurants but again as it is not high season, they are not always open. Basically, if you want or need something, going into town is the option. For that, you need to walk or have a vehicle. If living here, a vehicle is a must as public transportation is horrible. That is definitely an improvement that could be made. Garbage is deposited in bins away from buildings and regularly picked up, and there is a depository bin for those 5L plastic bottles at the top of the beach access.
1. Don’t leave your beach chair and umbrella unattended – or at least collapse the umbrella. I went back to the apartment for a quick lunch (as many people do) when a gust of wind dislodged my umbrella leaving it to roll down the beach. The Spanish couple next to me explained with rolling hand gestures and blowing sounds that it went that way, pointing up the beach. I found it laying unscathed in the protected dunes, two boardwalks away. I can only laugh.
To wrap up the last two weeks, I was treated to free, private paella cooking lessons from the owners of Restaurante Marina Playa. It was such a great time. I’m definitely getting myself a paella pan. Just over a week left here in Los Marines Beach outside of Dénia and tomorrow I will be visiting the flea market. For the rest of my stay, I will continue to relax, enjoy the peace of the sea before heading to my final destination – Valencia.
2. Fat-bottomed girls with new knees should not sit in beach chairs – okay, can I get real for a moment? I brought a beach chair with me on this day. The chair that leaves maybe a 1/2” between the sand and your bottom. You are leaning backwards and of course it reclines. They are so comfortable and perfect for sunbathing. I watched people get up and out of these chairs all week and it looked easy enough. NOT!!! After an hour of sunbathing and my body lathered in SPF lotion, I was toasted enough that it was time for a swim. Raising the arms to their upright position, I attempt to get myself up. Not happening. My bottom is below my hips. What’s a girl to do? With all my strength, I propel myself forward landing on all fours, and in one swift move, I assume the downward dog position. Perhaps any onlookers will marvel at my impressive yoga move. I push myself into a squat and stand. “Don’t make eye-contact with anyone”, I think as I proudly prance my way to the water’s edge, humming the Queen song, Fat-Bottomed Girls covered in sand from the knees down. “You make the rocking world go round …”