November 2006 Archive

Wednesday 29th November 2006

Javea Apartment

Javea is becoming the most desirable place to live in the Costa Blanca. People from the UK and Ireland are finding good value investment apartments in Javea. Why Javea? Its location is on the most easterly point of mainland Spain. It is called The Dawn of Spain, Amanecer in Spanish. The first rays of the sun, bathe Javea Cabo de la Nao and the Cape de San Antonio.

There is a new era of interest, that will see prices soar in the next few years. Promoters and developers are realising the full potential of the property market in Javea and prices are set to climb between 10% – 20% per annum. New complexes are selling 3 and 4 bedroom penthouses from 320.000 euros, plus i.v.a. or v.a.t. The Arenal in Javea is beginning to see the infrastructure of new roads. Street lightings and under ground cables for electricity and mains services are being install to make the way clear for easy access. New luxury apartments are going to be constructed here, priced from 595.000 euros for a 2 bedroom apartment and up to 950.000 euros for a 3 bedroom duplex, that’s expensive, is what people are saying. Nevertheless, the apartments in Javea are selling. The developers are aware of the trend of the purchasers needs in Javea and they are, Location, Quality and Price, in that order.

I remember back to 1995, talking with a Javea estate agent. He was telling me that the Javea town hall was taking building applications for over 2000 apartments in the next 5 years. Where will the buyers come from, he asked? Where is all money going to come from? Where will we all park? Apart from the last question, they have arrived, purchased, sold, reformed and resold. That was over 10 years ago, what has changed? The weather? No. The location? No. The prices? A big YES!

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Sunday 19th November 2006

Spain and Restaurants

Becoming a Relais & Chateaux member

The mission of the Association is to further the cultural and economic stature of its unique hotels and restaurants throughout the world by collectively promoting its members while recognising their heritage and the soul and spirit of Relais & Chateaux.

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Sunday 19th November 2006

Moraira Property

I recently visited Moraira to enjoy a coffee in a seafront cafe, in the El Portet area of Moraira. It is a magical bay, surrounded by villas and small apartments, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and sheltered from the north winds.

Moraira Property

As apartments are built in Javea and Moraira, usually almost 100% of the property is sold before the complex is finished. Why is this? Typically the property purchasers are from Madrid or Northern Europe. Those from Madrid may be attracted by the property prices, always lower than the property prices in the city of Madrid. Also they can holiday in their new homes by the sea, escape the heat of the summer months in the city and enjoy the refreshing sea breezes, the beautiful surrounding scenery and the Mediterranean lifestyle.

Property purchasers from the UK and other northern European countries are attracted by the off plan property prices offered by the constructors. The other benefit is of course the summer holiday rental period, which can provide an extra income to help to pay for their property investments. Javea has seen over 2000 apartments built in the last 10 years. Each year more and more people visit the area and then decide to return and live here all year round.

It is a real pleasure to see young families arriving to live in Spain, wishing to improve their lives and escape from their mundane jobs, high mortgages and the dull weather. They have decided to live their dream and start a new life in the Mediterranean sun. Be careful though, as many have to return to the UK because of lower wages and private school fees. Eating out in Javea and Moraira is cheaper than in the UK, so you tend to eat out more often. So do your sums well. It’s easier to spend money than to earn it, anywhere in the world.

Moraira has fewer new apartments, due to the scarcity of land along the Moraira coastline. Javea in turn has more land available to build new property and apartments. Therefore the property prices of apartments in Moraira are a lot higher. New builds are costing up to 4,000 euros per square metre in Moraira, while in Javea prices for new apartments start at 2,200 euros per square metre.

I visited a fantastic property in Moraira, an apartment. The property owners have invested a lot of time and well spent money on reforming a three bedroom apartment in an older complex. The transformation was brilliant. No expense was spared on the property, new fittings, kitchen units, floor tiling, new electrics and even creating an extra shower room in an area which was originally part of the entrance hall.

Every area in the property has been finished to a high standard, the floors, walls, marble worktops in the kitchen, new doors. It also has hot and cold air conditioning. The property refurbishment was one of the best that I have seen. Well done to the owners! And good luck to the future Moraira property purchasers, as they will be delighted with their new 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment in Moraira, just a 5 minute stroll to the old town and the beach. Alternatively, there is a large pool on the 5th floor, if you fancy a dip, just metres from this fantastic apartment!.

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Thursday 16th November 2006

Javea Villa

Tosalet in Javea was, as the story was told to me , a pine covered hillside, purchased by Franco’s mistress. She started building a villa there in the sixties and oddly enough, had no problems seeking planning permissions from the local town hall.

Javea Villa

Large villas and generous plots are one of the main attractions of Tosalet. Views to the bay of Javea and pine covered hills make this area one of the best in Javea. The residential complex has its own garden rubbish collection every two days, security guards patrol the streets every few hours and there are security cameras.

Obviously, where there is money it will attract crime, but the local police, the guardia and people setting up neighbourhood watch schemes, minimise the risks.

Toscal is another popular area in Javea, its proximity to the Arenal beach and local shops and restaurants make it an ideal location to live all year round and it is excellent to rent a villa here during the holiday periods and throughout the winter, make sure that the property has heating as the winter nights in Javea do get cold, sometimes down to 6 degrees. During the day, we can enjoy warm sunshine and sit outside on Christmas day in 16 degrees, very pleasant. If you enjoy life you will enjoy Javea.

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Tuesday 14th November 2006

Javea Property, Balcon Al Mar

Balcon Al Mar is a district of Javea in Northern Costa Blanca. Many of the properties have sea views and close by is Cabo La Nao. This is the most easterly point of mainland Spain.

Javea property has always been more desirable to purchase than in other parts of Spain.

Balcon Al Mar

One of the reasons is the scenery. If you fly into Alicante airport the land scape is similar to that of a desert, dry and dusty and the cement and stone works add to the problem. But drive just 45 minutes north and the landscape changes, after an hours drive on th A7 take the turning off to Javea and you will be meet with green pine hills and valleys full with vines and almond trees.

Lemon and orange trees add sweet blossom scent to the clear air. El Montgo dominates the skyline north of Javea. Villas on the slopes of Montgo are surrounded by pine trees and palms. Driving south to Tosalet and up the hill to Costa Nova the views towards java’s bay are breath taking.

Balcon al Mar is an area very much in demand, because it has many villas with sea views. The little cove of Granadella is just a 5 minute drive to the south, still in Javea. It has small fishermans houses as you reach the cove and the clear water in the bay is ideal for scuba diving and snorkeling.

If you feel like a holiday, Javea is ideal for families and teenagers. Finding a villa to rent close to the Arenal beach is difficult and you will need a car to drive to the Arenal or the port areas. The best location for night life is the Arenal. An apartment within walking distance allows you to leave the car and walk to the restaurants and bars. Once you have been to Javea, you will want to return, many people purchase holiday homes and spend the winter months away from the cold northern European climate. Others leave the grey, dull and depressing UK behind for good and join many expats living the good life.

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Monday 13th November 2006

Javea, El Montgo. A walk on the wild side

During the summer months in Javea, it is wise to stay close to a pool, the sea and a cold beer. Once the warm days of October and November had settled in, we decided to ascend the Montgo mountain for the third time in 20 years. It proved a harder challenge than we remembered.

Javea Montgo

Setting off from the Javea to Denia road, drive from Javea up the winding road and when it levels at the top of La Plana and you can see a lane to your left. Drive a few hundred metres and park the car. We were well equipped with good walking shoes, lots of water, a chicken sandwich and a banana. I joked and proceeded to load rope and tackle and a few spikes and a shovel onto my back, this was met with a surprise from our climbing companions and quickly turned to laughter, as I told them in was a gentle climb, needing only good walking shoes and plenty of water.

We started the walk along a gravel path leading to the base of El Montgo. We named this base camp one. The path soon turns into a stony, rocky surface which could easily snap an ankle or break a leg. We were very careful to watch every step and stopped to catch our breaths and to admire the views towards Denia and the bay of Javea. After around an hour of zig zag climbing, the walk bears south around the trunk of Montgo and starts to turn into a scramble across large rocks and narrow foot holds, using our arms to balance. Another 30 minutes climbing and you reach the 753 metre summit.

All the way up we were blessed with warm breezes and the views just got better. At the summit we could see Denia and north to Valencia, west out to sea and south Javea, Gata and Pedreguer. The Penon de Ifach and the Las Sierra Bernia mountain range stretched further south.

We stood on the peak for 15 minutes, just being amazed at the views, lots of photos and a repair to Anthony’s boots, which had decided to loose the soles, we prepared for the easier decent. We still had to watch every step on the way down, but it was a lot less work coming down. The knees and backs of some of the party, started to take the strain and started to ache.

The thought of a cool drink and the paella mixta, that we had preordered at the Amanecer restaurant, kept us all going. Except our tired legs, a few blisters and soleless boots we made it safely back to the cars.

Within five minutes we were seated in the restaurant and the drinks appeared, bread and alioli and a fresh salad were consumed rapidly.

The paella was marvelous and had lots of flavour, it was a little short of content and could have included green beans, butter beans and a little more chicken, but it still tasted excellent washed down with cool white wine and agua con gas. Needless to say it was a great day out and another one they can’t take away from us, whoever they are.

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Sunday 12th November 2006

Sierra Bernia

A gentle stroll is the best way to describe our afternoon walk, upwards and onwards to the west ridge of the Sierra Bernia mountain range, just north of the famous coastal town of Benidorm.

Drive from Javea to Benissa, travel up the main street, through the town and at the top of the hill take the right hand turn off, CV 750. At the next T junction, turn right then first left. Its a 20 minute drive to the start of the walk, travelling up the winding road, with views on your left down towards Calpe and the Penon de Ifach.

Parking is easy, by the old building, Casa Fabian, situated on your left. There are plenty of shady areas to park your car, which is essential on a hot sunny day. We picked a warm, November afternoon, which was forecasted light rain, but we were lucky and it turn out to be sunny and only slightly misty at the top.

There is a sign at the start of the walk which you can take an 8 kilometre circular route that takes you through a tunnel to the east of the ridge and back around to the old fort. We had decided to head west and do a gentle climb to the fort and back down the same way, which would take us about 3 hours.

The views are just as dramatic on this route, also the path is easy under foot, unlike the El Montgo assent, which we walked three weeks ago. The grape vine leaves are changing into their Autumn colours of browns, bronzes and yellows, highlighted through the sunlight.

After 35 minutes the track narrows and bears to the left and the villages of Tarbena, Polop are clearly seen in the distance. The temperature was perfect for walking and the forecast for rain didn’t happen. The sun was shining and at the peak the clouds and mists rolled in.

The old fort was abandoned, due to lack of the enemy bothering to climb the Sierra and invade the fort, so it became redundant. Stone arches and ruins are clearly visible and there are some information plaques that explain the forts layout. Its a good place to sit and have a drink and look down towards Altea and the Benidorm skyline.

There were some lambs in the distance marinating themselves, on the wild thyme and rosemary herbs that grow across the slopes.

The stroll back was easy, down hill and by now the sun was behind the summit, providing shade. A quick drink in the Casa Fabian, then we got back in our cars, to meet some more friends, waiting in the Restaurante Pepe’s, in Alcalali.

Roast pork with crackling was ordered for 6 people and the others dined on Pepe’s wonderful, steak, mushroom and kidney pie. Others, had the lamb which was tender and you could taste those herbs. Plenty of the three wines, red, rose and white were washed down with our fine fare. Desserts were excellently presented to those that had enough room.

So, until the next time, that’s another one, they can’t take away from us!

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Tuesday 7th November 2006

Verdi Vent Restaurant, Maserof

If you fancy a inland country drive from Javea to the village of Jalon, take the third turn left off the main street and travel up the mountain roads until you see a large, old property on your left. You have reached the VerdiVent restaurant and you are in for a real hearty luncheon treat.

Verdi Vent Restaurant

Verdi Vents Restaurant, Maserof. Telephone 00 34 96597 3413. Once you are seated with jugs of red wine already placed on the table, you are presented with bowls of a potato dish, mixed with chives, lavender and herbs. also large loaves of freshly baked bread. Next two large serving bowls of a creamy white soup, that had us all guessing what the ingredients were, it was delicious and we were told that it was lettuce!

A short break and plates of oil covered tomatoes and mozzarella cheese were placed on the table. Main course was a choice of lamb on the bone with a moscatel sauce or venison in a red wine sauce. Nine of us chose the venison and it was fantastic. The lamb was also excellent. The sound of guitars filled the air and the popular brothers, from the area, sang and played our favourite Spanish melodies.

The whole day was a wonderful experience,a delightful meal and one that we shall remember for the rest of our lives, or at least a until the next time.

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