Finally some sunshine, following huge downpours over a twenty four hour period. We shouldn’t grumble though as this was the first significant rain for TWO YEARS in the orange groves clinging to the plains between the coast and inland hills. The oranges are magnificent, huge and so juicy. We paid just €3.00 (£2.25) for an enormous net full from an honesty stall on the roadside.
Some of the old hilltop towns are very picturesque, with narrow cobbled streets that have not changed for hundreds of years and, by their nature are pedestrian only, even bikes have to be pushed and sometimes carried.
We spent a couple of nights in a really quite campsite up in the hills, the scenery was magnificent, with towering mountains giving way to hundreds of acres of orange trees, either resplendent with a bounteous crop waiting to be picked or already pungent with delicate white blossoms for the next harvest. All of this leading down to the azure blue of the twinkling Mediterranean sea.
Given this tranquillity we bypassed the heaving mass of high rise apartments and urban sprawl that is Benidorm to another very quiet area just west of the strategic and much fought over naval port town at Cartagena. Our bike ride into this ancient old town from our campsite was one that Gavin terms ‘world class’ climbing over the pass between the hills along sweeping hairpin bends. The long slog uphill was well worth the resultant views and freewheeling down the other side. Cartagena has been fought over and changed hands since Phoenician times which makes it a fascinating place to visit. In the 1980’s the remains of a Roman Amphitheatre and Town Forum, including baths were discovered, with restoration works and further excavations continuing .