Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Chulilla Wrap-up

We squeezed the most out of our final time in Chulilla. The weather forecast was poor, but we ended up with three good days and a single evening of rain, which was not bad all things considered. Some last photos from the trip...

Chulilla in morning light.

Cliff line above the Turia River gorge.

One of two bedrooms in our apartment at Las Cuevas. It was very comfortable and started to feel like our home away from home very quickly. The owner, Jesus, was very friendly, although he didn't speak a word of English, nor did his wife.

We saw lots of fish (some large) in the Turia River, but fishing was prohibited.

Another photo from the day in the thermal river near Montanejos. Elise gets full points for putting her head in that water and snorkeling. I didn't dare get my hair wet - it was too cold.

Restored castle above Sagunto, a pretty city north of Valencia.

Climbing route name tag.

Citrus fruit grew everywhere around Chulilla, especially oranges which were truly delicious.

Fishing regulations for the reservoir north of Chulilla. I guess using fruit as bait is okay!

Fooling around in the trees by the river.

On limestone, a water streak that builds up to form a protruding column on the rock is referred to as a "tufa". They form in the same manner as stalactites, and there were many in Chulilla. They're great for climbing!

We can always trust Elise to spot fossils on the trail. She has a keen eye and spots the details that Pam and I miss.

Market day in Chulilla. We were off to the Valencia aquarium and Elise wore her Christmas "stuffies" around her neck along with her purse. She wore this heavy necklace all day and it ended up chaffing her neck, silly girl!

The aquarium in Valencia, which is located in the riverbed that runs through the city. We spent a few hours touring the exhibits. My favourites were the glass tunnels, but Elise liked the dolphins best, of course.

After the aquarium, we went to a park for Elise to play. The playground consisted of a giant statue of Gulliver lying on the ground complete with ladders, ropes and multiple slides. The kids swarmed the statue, much like the Lilliputians in the famed story. It was really unique and Elise loved it. She's posing on Gulliver's fingers.

Valencia city beach at sunset.

For our last day, we gave Elise the choice of a few different activities. She choose a "via ferrata" adventure, which is basically a route that follows a series of metal ladder rungs up a cliff face. These are very popular in Europe, but have yet to gain much traction in North America, partially because they can be a bit unsightly due to all the metal necessary. The one in Chulilla was rated "experts only", but we didn't really know what that meant. I think my very words were, "A ladder's a ladder. How hard can it be?" Talk about famous last words. It turns out that "experts only" means the rungs are quite far apart, the terrain is steep and traversing and an ascent requires a mixture of ladder pulling and rock climbing. To make a long story short, we climbed two pitches which took us about half way up the cliff and then retreated, mostly because the rungs were too far apart for Elise. Regardless of the difficulty, she seemed to have fun and enjoyed spitting (!) off the belay ledges.

Looking up...

Still feeling optimistic.

Pam and Elise right before we turned around and rappelled back to the ground.

After the via ferrata "adventure", we decided to tack on one more activity, a hike to Las Cuevas. The weather was looking a bit ominous, but we had rain gear and it was our last day!

The first cave we visited was the long, horizontal roof near the bottom of this picture. It was quite interesting.

After hanging out in Cueva del Gollizno, we continued on to Cueva del Teroro.

This cave was far different, and kind of resembled a snake hole in the side of the mountain. Pam wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole, but Elise was keen, provided I go first. It was hands and knees all the way and ended with a tight squeeze into a small chamber. Elise kind of panicked when we saw daddy long leg spiders on the walls illuminated by our headlamps. I had to calm her down for the return.

Here she is coming out, looking a bit worried after the spider sightings.


We spent our final evening socializing with our friends from Penticton. Our journey home was long, starting at 4:30 am in Chulilla and ending at about 9:00pm in Squamish, but we encountered no problems along the way.

The trip was short but memorable, and both Pam and I were sad to leave. Elise, however, was very excited to get home, see her friends and go back to school! Sometimes I just have to shake my head...

This is what greeted me on the truck in our driveway the next morning: two weeks worth of frost needles from a dry and cold Christmas break. That's the windshield wiper, by the way.

Back to winter...

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