Tag Archives: Burano

Travels in Spain, The Colours of Villajoyosa

003

The Costa Blanca is a stretch of coastline in the south east of Spain which is famous for attracting millions of visitors every year from Northern Europe.

The Spanish don’t mind that most of these visitors go to resorts like Benidorm or Torrevieja because there are others that they seem to keep exclusively for themselves.

One of these is Villajoyosa in between Benidorm and Alicante and after we had left the holiday hot-spot of Benidorm, all glass and steel and gleaming in the sunshine like a giant pin-cushion, we quickly passed from turismo to tradicional and called in on its nearby neighbour, just twelve miles or so away to the south from the Bling of Benidorm for a quiet afternoon stroll.

Villajoyosa is a wonderful place, an ex-fishing town, now a Spanish holiday resort of coloured houses with twisted rusting balconies, rattan blinds and decorated with washing lines and pot plants looking longingly out to sea and which reminded me of Burano in Venice, Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera and of Milos in the Greek Islands.

Gaily coloured houses that rub shoulders with each other and jostle for colour bragging rights that can be seen from way out at sea and which carefully guide fishermen home after a night working at sea, or so the story goes.

After finding a parking spot we walked along the side of Rio Amadorio, the water barely a trickle today, robbed on its way down from the mountains for irrigation, then through the narrow streets of pastel coloured houses decorated with pots of shrubs and Mediterranean flowers and on to the sweeping beach arching like a Saracen’s sword and a long walk along a fine promenade flanked on one side by the houses and the other by the crisp sandy shore.

It was a delightful place, close to Benidorm but a million miles away.  The combination of quaint old buildings with multi-coloured facades crowded into a labyrinth of narrow streets, a lively fish market selling off the daily catch and its pretty location on the mouth of a river by a sweeping caramel beach were all enough to further convince me that the east coast of Spain has a lot more to offer than I had ever previously realised.

The name Villajoyosa means city of joy and I can understand why – it is impossible not to feel happy here!

I realised that this was the Spain I am always hoping to find but don’t dare count on. Old men sat in the street playing drinking wine, women hanging out their washing on their balconies and keeping an eye on the menfolk below, children and dogs played in the squares and cats wandered aimlessly around.  I have been searching for real Spain in Castile and Andalucia and Extremadura and I found a slice of it here in Valencia which was most unexpected.

A bright yellow house leaned against a blue house with a bright green neighbour, across the street was a a red house and made the colour palette complete. A stroll through Villajoyosa old town in the sunshine certainly requires sunglasses.

Anyone care to take a guess what this is all about…

Or this…

And just how do they manage to paint these houses?

More Attractive Towns and Villages

Hallstatt

Hallstatt, which claims to be the prettiest village in Austria

Santillana de Mar Cantabria

Santillana del Mar, “Le plus joli village d’Espagne” according to Jean Paul Satre

Škofja Loka Slovenia Ljubljana

Skofia Loka, Slovenia

Buchs Switzerland

Buchs, Switzerland

Shiltach River Kinzig

Schiltach in the Black Forest, Germany

Primosten from the road

Primosten, Croatia

Burano Venice Italy

Burano, Venice, Italy

Valle de Cabuérniga Cantabria Spain

Bárcena Mayor, Cantabria, Spain

Which one would you choose?

Venice, Vaporetto Ride to Burano

Burano Venice Italy

“What a funny old city this Queen of the Adriatic is! Narrow streets, vast, gloomy marble palaces, black with the corroding damps of centuries, and all partly submerged; no dry land visible anywhere, and no sidewalks worth mentioning…” – Mark Twain – ‘The Innocents Abroad’

Burano is an island in the Venetian Lagoon and on all of my three visits to Venice I have visited its smaller neighbour which is famous for brightly coloured houses and intricate lacework.

Burano is situated seven kilometers from Venice, a short forty minute trip by Venetian public transport motorboats called Vaporetto.  We waited at a stop on the Grand Canal and when one arrived waited for the boatman to secure it and then invite us to go on board and climbed to the upper deck where there was a good view of the city and the other islands.

Read the full story…

Venice, Three Visits, Three Hotels

Albergo San Marco 1

“To build a city where it is impossible to build a city is madness in itself, but to build there one of the most elegant and grandest of cities is the madness of genius.”                                                                                                                                 Alexander Herzen

I first visited Venice in April 2002 and stayed at the Albergo San Marco near Saint Marks Square. There was perfect spring weather and I was captivated by the sights and sounds of the city which seemed to belong more correctly to a theme park than a thriving industrial sea port city. We did the sights of course, the Cathedral, Doge’s Palace, Rialto Bridge and the labyrinth of canals lined with palaces and museums. Wrapped up in the atmosphere of the place we paid £30 for a drink and a sandwich in St Mark’s Square and £80 for a ride in a gondola.  

Read the full story…

Little Venice

Little Venice

Little Venice is one of the most attractive and picturesque parts of Mykonos Town and one of the prettiest places in the Cyclades.  Its charming two and three storey houses with colourful balconies, windows and doors; built precariously right on the sea, form a unique picture.  It is almost as iconic an image of the Cyclades as are Santorini’s sugar cubed houses and blue domed churches and is among the most photographed tourist destinations in the whole of Greece.

Read the full story…