We live in a small beach community where winters are tough but summers are magic. And, this summer feels especially sweet in our little corner of the world after the winter we just had, which pummelled us with storm after storm after storm, wreaked havoc on our trees, flooded our basements, knocked out power more times than I care to count and stubbornly held on until late April.
So, why leave in July, when the sun is shining, the shops are open, and the warm, calm waters of Buzzards Bay offer endless hours of fun right out our back door? What kind of place could possibly be alluring enough to pull us away from all that we earned by slogging through this relentless winter? Well, I can think of a few actually, but Jávea’s where we ended up. And I don’t regret it a bit.
Jávea is where the mountains meet the sea. How poetic is that? And, also how convenient? Especially if you like both the mountains and the ocean. I do. I like both very much.
Most of the beaches in Jávea are really rocky, but there are some sandy ones too. That’s not me back there, but I did do a lot of that exact same thing.
And I did a lot of gazing out over cliffs and turquoise waters, thinking about the meaning of life. Just kidding. I didn’t do that. I mean, I did gaze out over the cliffs, but I didn’t really come to any conclusions about what life is all about, except maybe it’s all about being on vacation?
You can’t see it, but this cliff was on the edge of a beach where approximately 37,000 sunburned vacationers were packed like sardines on the baking hot sand. But this spot is perfect, isn’t it?
And this little alley is also perfect. I liked how the one house went rogue with the blue. It’s always good to just be you.
I took a picture of this Mehari because I love it.
And I also loved these bean bag chairs. This was a good spot to watch some World Cup action, which is exactly what my son is doing here.
I don’t know about you but watching people run up and down a soccer field makes me hungry. Luckily the bean bag chairs came with a restaurant.
One morning we got up really early (even though that’s against the rules on vacation) and went for a guided kayak tour.
The tour led us to the Cova del Nao, the largest sea cave in Spain. It was fantastic.
It was worth the hour of paddling over choppy, open water. Our arms felt like jelly but we barely noticed.
Because it was just so cool.
We decided that the name of the tour group was called Siesta Advisor because you need to take an extra long siesta when your experience is finished.
Successful navigation of a two-man kayak requires a lot of effort, coordination, and teamwork. The kids didn’t realize that this was a learning lesson for them. But I did. That’s why I let my daughter do most of the hard paddling (wink wink).
And it was cool to share the experience with a bunch of other people. These people, specifically.
We even had some snorkeling time, which was very very cool.
And then we took the requisite awkward family vacation photo to document the whole thing.
And then we needed some drinks. These cute little bars dot the entire stretch of beach in Javea. I’m going to propose we make this happen in my town. And it can- we watched one of these get built in less than a week. They started on Saturday and were open by happy hour on Thursday. It was the craziest thing.
Also crazy were these man-made mini-cliffs that were carved out all up and down the beach. Does anyone have any idea why this exists?
Food is so good in Spain. This is a tuna poke and it was really pretty. Also, it tasted amazing.
I love the Spanish culture because it’s one of celebration and joy and living well. I think the key is the mid-day siesta. That totally needs to happen at home.
As I mentioned the mountains are really, really close. So it was very easy to dip toes in the Mediterranean in the morning and then be up at the Fonts de l’Algar, which is this amazing freshwater spot, for a pre-lunch swim.
Nature is so cool.
And so fun.
We love Mother Nature.
And they do too.
but p.s. the water was FREEZING.
So to warm up we hiked up around Gaudalest, which is a medieval village perched precariously on a pile of rocks.
See it’s literally built right into the side of the mountain!
Have fun storming the castle…
And then, exit through the gift shop!!
But don’t forget to stop to admire the view. Not too shabby, eh?
Palm trees in the mountains. Whaaa?!
I love that there’s always someplace like this close by. I dig the Mediterranean style.
There are lots of vistas to explore.
I could totally live in that house down there and be very, very happy probably.
Summer breeze, makes me feel fine…
Relaxing beachside dinner spot also makes me feel fine.
This was La Siesta and it was our favorite restaurant because the vibe was fabulous and the food was amazing.
And the kids discovered that they liked pina coladas (but not getting caught in the rain or any of that other stuff).
Every day feels like a holiday in Jávea. Oh, wait…
And the flowers seem brighter, and the water seems bluer. What is this place? Paradise?
We had imagined long, lazy days lying on the beach, but there was just so much to see.
You can see a lot when you’re on top of the world.
For example, you can see Jávea in all its glory.
Oh and this was really interesting. You know bullfighting in Spain is really popular. This was a bit of a twist on that. These guys are trying to lure the bull into the water.
This happens in Denia, a neighboring town, and it’s an annual event that coincides with the running of the bulls. I’m actually not sure how I felt about it, because the bulls seemed so confused. And really, really mad. But bulls CAN swim. Did you know that? I didn’t, but now I do. That made me feel a little better.
Until we left and came upon the protest that was happening simultaneously. Then I felt guilty. But there are always two sides to every story. We had a long debate about this on the way back to Jávea. Another learning lesson for the kids!! Totally planned. Obviously.
This sums up our trip. Probably the best, but there are no guarantees in life.
We needed a place to watch the England-Croatia World Cup semi-final game. The Beach House seemed a good a spot as any.
This was when England was still winning and the vibe was good because we were with a lot of Britsh people.
I loved these lights and everything else about this place.
Even the drinks were pretty. And as you know, I can rosé all day…
And I could watch the sun sink behind a mountain that’s perched on the edge of the sea every single night forever. But this marked the end of our time in this magical spot.
One last observation before I go: Every time I see a picture of me and my daughter I am shocked by how much taller she is than me. And my 10-year-old son is already almost my height. It’s so weird. It makes me want to hold on hard and fast to these moments that we create together while they are still young and it makes me feel like we need so many more of these. These magical childhood memories will help shape who my kids will become. Exploring the world and experiencing new cultures helps them see their own lives through new eyes. It gives them perspective. This is why we do this. This is what we came for.