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Not quite on the road so much off on another “expedition” and more for my library of photographic images plus these smartphone versions.

Buenos diaz, we’ve arrived at our home for month. It’s hot mid 20’s – 30’s c.

Flying low over Manises, Valencia we could clearly see the fruit fields below.

Mainly citrus. This I thought would be the the economic mainstay of the region. Once out of the airport we got our car and headed toward Parcent to meet Garry who is to take us to our digs.We drive, then off the highway, through orchards and olive groves.

The landscape here is hilly, most villages which are everywhere you look, often walking distance apart or only a couple of minutes drive set on hillsides or in the valleys there must be 30 or so of them from the vantage point of our home. Much dryer here. The orchards and groves don’t look as lush as the ones seen from the plane. After two nights in local restaurants I now know the main industries are poms and fruit/olive growing. The only Spanish voices heard in the establishments (one is even called Victoria) was from wait staff.

Our home is lovely, built way up a hill in what we know as Spanish style. Seems as villages grew and the poms arrived they have spread themselves through the hills around the traditional villages.

From NZ  a stopover at Houston TX. An interesting city, our mistake was to stay out of it. The Galleria area would be great if the only thing you wanted to do was shop. Massive shopping center with all imaginable chain and department stores imaginable, but a good 20 mins from the action. That being the architecture, parks, walks etc on the Downtown or the Museum district with it scores of museums, galleries, the large Hermann Park.

Then if you camp down here you are that 20 mins closer to things like the Nasa Space Center, Galveston Island etc. If you ever want a reference for a Houston or NASA guide let me know. Elizabeth was excellent

With a couple of hours to spare before leaving, nothing to do around hotel hired a cab and headed for museum district. Oh well next time as we only have 1.something days this time.

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Adam, our very cheery Ethiopian driver really tried to be helpful, unfortunately most closed for Sunday morning but he did make a suggestion we see the Menil gallery (shot from the gallery hallway) . So we humored him. Glad we did. This is worth the visit. Don’t miss it if you have any interest in art. Would also commend Adam for a driver, got his number too if you ever want it.

 

 

 

 

Flight from Houston to Frankfurt provided me with window seat, which I like, however row 69 and about 10 around them are all over a ginormous Airbus 380 wing. It’s like looking out at a white football field.

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Great view of sky. Bugger! Nothing left to do but leap int the on-board entertainment system. seems good range but stuck on Chinese, can’t rest, ask hostess who responds “something like, oh well too bad not your day” and buggers off Disappointments come in 3’s don’t they? After the meal they bring around cognacs or Baileys, and what do they do?  Distracted by the constant asking for extras by the Indian guy sitting next to Anne they offer them to everyone all around and totally miss our seats.

 

Flying over Germany, France and Spain presented real interesting scenes below. Can’t get over  the orderliness of the Teutonic landscape below.

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Home for next month, Villa La Paz.

Now in Parcent Spain. Just arrived last night, after a small sleep headed into the village for a feed and to look around after dark.

 

 

Happened on a celebration the Bones Festes. Groups dressed up and yahooing, having a great old time in the streets of the village.

Another day, back down thru’ Parcent to Orbas. another of what must be about 30 villages that can be seen from our place. What a great little place, typically traditional Mediterranean. First stop, bar for a cappuccino at cost of only E1.20 each. Walk the streets, pick up some cookie things and pizza from a beaut little bakery joint.

Bar and street in Orba. Men supping their reds and espresso’s around mid morning.


Food, yep always important, & wine & coffee too. Some interesting experiences thus far. First in Houston Galleria all the usual suspects but decided once again to try Nordstrom restaurant to avoid American standard burgers and chips. Now here’s a tip. Always excellent food and service at Nordstrom. Better by far than the US normal places you find around places like malls or even on the street.

In Parcent last night we shot out to a place we’ve driven by a few times since  being  here. Looked ok by the signage. When we arrived noticed 3 courses, wine & water €12 but closed so down the road to Victoria’s. English fare, similar deal but €18. Running out of options so gave it a go. Well you could feed a small village on what we sent back. Not a quality problem, food was good. Just that they provided starters , bread + spreads with olives and a soup before the meal even started. No way a normal person could all this food justice. Well may except for you Gerald!! Ended up leaving without even getting to try the dessert. Looking forward to finding more tapas style places.

Quiet day today, but eventually headed to a supermarket village about 7 minutes away in Xalo. Walked the old streets for a while then stop in to a botega. Sign outside says 3 tapa + wine E9. Looks good. After the usual Hola, its ?habla ingles? then the language tryst commences. Fun. Tapas not of the style we are used to, but perfecto anyway, sometimes. Meat slices, bread and spread, potato salad and quiche. More than  a meal. We keep learning.

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Xalo form its outskirts.

Michael & Hannah and the two littlies arrive and provide more entertainment and reason to explore the narrow country roads and even narrower village streets. Again, great fun. A spot of sunbathing sounded like a good idea, so off the Grandella beach, about an hour away. For  E28 you hire (actually Michael did, thanks) 2 deck chair things and an umbrella from those all set out out in rows

 

La Granadella is a small cove set between spectacular rock cliffs all round. the beach is stones and packed more tightly than a can of sardines. Off course when people are so close interesting events occur. Like I’m sitting on my deckchair minding y own business and become aware of something quite large around my left ear, gingerly turn my head to come face to face with some guys quite ample arse in the bright orange beach shorts I’ve ever seen. For a moment I thought the sun had dropped in. Couldn’t help worrying that he had full control of his bio-systems. It was close, but then after he had adjusted his arrangements his misses stood and revolved her over-ample butt into that same space, just mm’s away I’ll swear, now my worry was about her sense of balance. It’s all very close around these beaches, if you know what I mean!

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People and shade silhouettes on the crowded beach of La Granadella.

 

 

It’s hunting season here and we are living in the Coll de Rates mountains. There’s the almost constant sounds of barking dogs and gunfire. Pretty hard to spot any wildlife, tho’ I did see a small squirrel scurrying along the power lines. He’d better be careful, we’re told they shoot anything that moves around here. wp-1471958463934.jpg

From our abode in the mountains

 

 

 

 

Just love driving around these little villages with their narrow roads, never knowing whats around the next right angle corner. The street scenes are quite picturesque, the people though are something else. The odd old lady with greet you with and hola, or buenos dias, in the main, no smiles, acknowledgements or even the cursory wave when you give way in the car. Strange.Found a couple of open churches today. Very austere exteriors and extremely ornate interiors, similar to Italian I suppose.

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Interior and main alter inside Parcent Catholic church. Was originally a Mosque, but when the Muslims got done the last time the Christians took as their own. 17th Century I believe.

 

Hope you’ve been picking up the other images posted on Instragram too. Instagram address; briansphotography

Adios amigos.

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