Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Chara to Gandía

I never really took to La Unión the small town I lived in last year. One small plus though was that a local firm, operating under the Zafiro Tours franchise, organised day trips by coach.

The model was simple. An early morning start, a guide or guides to show us around before lunch then maybe a bit more visiting in the afternoon before the inevitable dribbling and snoring on the trip back to La Unión. The all in price was usually in the 30 to 40€ bracket.

The first time I did it I thought it would be a bit of a hoot going on a coach trip with a load of older Spaniards. I imagined myself chatting away whilst we gawped at this or that before troughing down on the local delicacy. It never quite matched my expectations. I was always a bit of an outsider but it wasn't because people were unwelcoming. More my fault than theirs.

The trips though were good. Interesting destinations and good guides. So I kept going. Obviously as I no longer live in La Unión the trips aren't much use to me now. However, it just so happened that today's trip to Gandía came pretty close to our house - well it passed through Alicante at least. With a bit of negotiation I persuaded Maggie to give it a go and I talked the coach people into picking us up en route.

The day was fine. The morning guide was pretty good but when a woman in our group broke her thigh bone in a fall one of our two guides had to go with her to the hospital. That left the remaining guide to cope with a group of around fifty people. That caused problems. People who were too far back to hear started to get bored and then to chat which made it difficult for other people.

Lunch wasn't great. We went to a big hotel in the part of Gandía on the coast. To call the food average would be generous. Maggie's broccoli was liquid enough to flow. The buffet style service also meant that we were able to choose a table on our own as were all the other affiliations of familiy and friends. So no new Spanish pals for the day.

The afternoon guide took us to see the Borja or Borgia Palace. If you're old, like me, you'll remember the series on the telly. All sex and poisoning.  The Borja's made their home in Gandía and they gave the world two popes and one saint in that time. Nonetheless our guide decided not to focus on the family and their doings. Her delivery was of the style "And on the left is a wall hanging made from silk and wool by the renowed Valencian artisan José de la Spiga Granja. It was produced in 1589 and depicts the exaltation of Saint Thomas." Reducing the extraordinary to the ordinary.

So it wasn't a huge success. I somehow suspect that even if I wanted to I wouldn't be able to persuade Maggie to go on another one.

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