August 9, 2011 - Posted by Erin in Spain, Travel, Travels in Spain

javea, spainI’ve got a little secret to share: a little place called Jávea in the province of Alicante. I probably shouldn’t be telling you about this secret, but you’ll just keep it between you and me, right?

Located on the eastern coast of Spain, the beach town of 30,000 people stands out among the hundreds of other coastal pueblos. I can’t quite put my finger on just one thing – perhaps it’s the manicured and well-kept streets, or maybe the attractive quintessentially Spanish homes, or even the white-pebbled beaches. Then of course you can’t avoid falling in love with the rocky hillsides that jet out of the lush vineyard-covered valleys. Somehow, little Jávea blends the classy charm of Northern Spain and the laid-back vibe of the South.

I was hypnotized. And hardly taking any pictures. Guilty as charged.

We stayed at a friend’s sprawling vacation home that hangs on the hillside facing the sea. From there, we watched as sail boats swirled around in the bay. The next day, we were on one of those sailboats, jumping off the back into the salty Mediterranean waters, spying blue- and silver-tinted fish under the sea, and noshing on fried almonds.

It was horrible. Horribly horrible. I wouldn’t recommend it. Forget that I told you about any of this.
beach in javea spain

November 4, 2010 - Posted by Erin in Food and wine, Spain, Travel, Travels in Spain

I used to like to ski. I started when I was just a little tike – my dad would leave me at the kiddy ski-school where I would practice my pie-slice formation as I slowly worked my way down the miniature hills of the bunny slopes. When I hit about 20-years-old, I decided to reignite my “passion” for ski (stop laughing). I bought myself a season pass, some awesome ski pants, and was seriously entertaining the idea of getting some skis. Then I went skiing and it occurred to me that not only did the idea of careening down a steep incline on slippery sticks seem like a terribly bad idea, but I absolutely hated being cold. Really, really hated being cold. I haven’t gone skiing since.

So this brings me to last Saturday’s scuba adventure when I sat submerged under ten meters of freezing cold, murky water while I got sloshed around like I was in the laundry cycle. Wrapped up like a sausage in my dive suit, all I could hear was the sound of my oxygen mask and my really loud thoughts saying “didn’t we agree, Tortuga Viajera, that all activities involving being cold truly suck!?? Oh, look, there’s a fish. Oooooh, hello fishy. But back to the point, Tortuga, what the heck are you doing!?!?” This was nothing like diving in Thailand where the weather was toasty and the water was crystal clear. Talk about false advertising.

This was the first of what should have been four dives in the Mediterranean off the coast of Murcia. I was there to get scuba diving certified so that Jacobo and I could go diving in Tenerife this coming December (which, gosh darn it, better be warm or else the only place I’ll be diving is in a jacuzzi). Our dives were cut short, however, presumably because they realized, after the first three dives, that it was a miracle that none of us drowned or went into hypothermic shock. So, with that, we were faced with the option of staying in Murcia, a region of Spain seemingly covered in plastic due to its countryside being full of covered vegetable crops, or check out some place new. The idea of staying in Murcia at our bizarre hotel was indeed tempting – at first I thought it was the worst hotel on the planet, but then I found myself relishing in finding new tacky animal figurines nestled in peculiar corners of the building (plus, I really do appreciate how they’ve embraced Halloween like no other Spaniards have). I would go into more detail about the strangeness of this establishment, but will refrain for fear that I might offend someone who happens to really like excessive amounts of animal figurines. (But Mom, seriously, I think you should consider getting rid of that weird stone rabbit in the backyard. The turtle, however, can stay, for obvious reasons.)

The idea of possibly better weather elsewhere was the deal breaker, so we hit the road and headed north to the community of Valencia. We were wrong, the weather was still horrible (and by horrible, I mean below 75℉), but at least I wasn’t haunted in my sleep by stone troll statues coming to life. For this second part of our journey we stayed in the coastal town of Altea, where we spent the day traversing its hillside streets, and stopping for drinks, coffee and tea in just about every spot in town. The highlight was surely our coffee on the terrace of the restaurant La Claudia where we were able to savor a full view of the Mediterranean and city below us. Not having had enough, we returned there later for a spectacular dinner, which was hardly Spanish, but rather a bit more San Francisco-ish (fusion cuisine versus large traditional dishes). Each dish was perfect, and made a break from my cherished Spanish cuisine a sacrifice worth making. My life is so rough.

Now I’m back in Madrid and still not a certified diver. I’m only certifiably insane for subjecting myself to an experience that can only most closely be compared to that of a stranded Titanic passenger. Let’s just hope that Tenerife can turn my scuba-frown upside down.

This post is a part of the Lonely Planet Blogsherpa carnival in which travel bloggers share some of their most regrettable trips. Head over to The Turkish Life to read more.

*As usual, pictures of the trip can be found on the La Tortuga Viajera Facebook page. Don’t get too excited – there aren’t any of me in my super attractive, full body scuba gear.