This time last week I was in the lovely little seaside town of Javea on Spain’s Costa Blanca. I was sitting at a table outside (yes outside!) a restaurant near the fishing port with young Susan me lass, eating a gargantuan plate of sumptuous paella mixta. I won’t pretend it was tropical because at ten o’clock at night I did find it necessary to put a jumper on. And I won’t pretend the meal was completely perfect as Susan ate all of the mussels so I couldn’t really comment on them.
The meal rounded off a day which we had begun with us leavin’ on an easyjet plane from mucky wet Bristol, and had seen us seek shade from the sun to sip coffee outside a Masymas supermercado café and lounge around in a magnificent outdoor pool at our even more magnificent villa with incredibly magnificent views of the majestic Mount Montgo that smiled down on us like a big smiley smiling elephant's head (complete with an eye but no ears or tusks).
This time this week I am in Chippenham and it is cold and dark and wet and bloody miserable. Tonight I am further convinced that I was born in the wrong country.
Being out and about in Javea and its environs further convinced me that I could easily live in another country. Susan herself, although Englishish, had lived there for many years, knew the place and the people like the back of her suntanned hand and was fluent in the language. But I also met some of her British chums who had moved there and settled without any difficulty at all.
Despite being located on the Costa Blanca, Javea was largely unspoilt. A sleepy little place devoid of huge ugly concrete tourist hotels, drunken English yobs, Premier League Football, tat shops, British bars, fish and chips and bingo. It was a holiday destination for Spanish people.
I was more delighted than disappointed that I had enormous difficulty in finding a shop where I could buy a fridge magnet.
I loved the cobbled streets, historic buildings and tapas bars in the Old Town, the Arenal sea front with its bustling cafés and ice cream parlours, the almost wilderness walk up the cliff side to the lighthouse at Cap de Sant Antoni, tilting at the Don Quixote windmills on the hilltop overlooking the town and the blue Mediterranean beyond, the lovely little town of La Lloso de Camancho and its lovely little traditional Bar Emilio, the free Muscatel, the huge phallic stalactite in the Cueva de las Calaveras, the baby squids stuffed with black pudding, Montgo, talking until the early hours on the naya, the El Miracle vino and the most informative, hospitable and loveable holiday guide I have ever met.
Our weekend away was a perfect little antidote for my most recent bout of Anglophobia. So if you’re reading this and you like what I’ve written about Javea, please don’t go there. I don’t want it to get any busier. I want it to be my secret hidden little unspoilt Mediterranean jewel forever.
Viva España! Viva Javea!