Holy ensaladilla rusa! Are you all in Orito then??? I must have got lost on the way, wouldn’t be the first timeHaha...You may still be there Laurie, but the rest of us are in Orito, and heading onward tomorrow.
And yes...the banter can be pruned. Though I will say it's an essential and wonderful part of a virtual camino, and what creates an actual shared experience and sense of community.
Holy ensalada rusa, I just realized it's late!
And I need to get some sleep so that I can keep putting one foot in front of the other! (I hope no-one minds if I leave the albergue window open?)
Hmm...if you can live with the distortion, you can slow the speed down to 75% of normal on youtube videos by clicking on the gear icon for settings in the lower right corner. (Or if you are a glutton for punishment, speed it up to 125% or more! )
Holy ensaladilla rusa, we have witnesses.I'll behave !
Si, si, Peregrina!Holy ensaladilla rusa! Are you all in Orito then???
Oh, great idea!you can live with the distortion, you can slow the speed down to 75% of normal on youtube videos by clicking on the gear icon for settings in the lower right corner.
Hahahahaha!(Or if you are a glutton for punishment, speed it up to 125% or more!
Also:There are beautiful beds, kitchen, washing machine, dryer and your own living room! The old albergue here no longer exists. Tienda on the corner near the building, restaurants 100 metres further down.
Elda is known for its footwear industry, in particular for women's shoes. Tourist sites include the Footwear Museum, the Archaeological Museum, the Torre del Homenaje del castillo (a tower dating from the 12th century), Castelar Square, Count of Coloma Palace, the Town Hall and the church of Santa Ana. It also celebrates the important festival of Moros y Cristianos
Sorry to correct you, @VNwalking , the Amigos guide has the first stage ending a little bit earlier:Novelda is the end of the first stage as listed by the amigos.
Not that it matters anyway, as we stayed in Orito last night.ETAPA 1: ALICANTE – MONFORTE DEL CID (27,8 KM)
I have spent some time looking for a room rate for that hotel, and the only thing I haven't done is call the hotel. I couldn't find it listed in any of the usual online reservation websites, and it doesn't have its own website.Hotel Avenida, apparently very expensive
3,7 km MONFORTE DEL CID , Recomiendan Hostal Avenida (965.626.333). Oferta hostelera. Todos los servicios.
There are no albergues in Elda, and the Amigos list Hotel Santa Ana and Hotel Residencia Elda. A map search shows also Hostal Carrizo, and AC Hotel by Marriott Elda. In Petrer, you'll also find the Sant Bonifaci.Albergue municipal rural Ferrusa, Pda. Ferrusa, s/n, Teléfono 966989400 (Ayuntam.)
According to this website that VNwalking linked above, the Castillo is open every day of the year. Winter 10:00 -14:00 and 16:00 to 19:00; Summer 10:00 -14:00 and 17:00 to 20:00. If I have time to kill waiting for it to open, I might take this short 4.48 km walk around the base of the castle's hill:You will not regret doing the little detour climb up to Castillo de la Mola Novelda.
I was parroting the information in the English guide; clearly, he had the same amount of luck as you.I have spent some time looking for a room rate for that hotel, and the only thing I haven't done is call the hotel.
One will find places for breakfast in every corner... at least in Novelda. I usually arrive too early in an empty Monforte, where everything is closed!If you've walked the Lana before, and have a recommendation for a good place for breakfast (first or second), please feel free to sing out!
After Novelda there is a pleasant walk on a dirt road, and sometimes through bushes where the path is narrow. This is an area popular for walking and cycling so you will meet people doing exercise, at least in summer. Or riding horses, as in the 3rd picture below.BP has promised us more moonscape, but after Novelda, the Camino bends more the northerly direction, and begins to follow a riverbank toward Elda — which should provide some relief
From Monforte del Cid, there are two paths, one to Elda (via Novelda), the other one to Petrer (18.7 km).
In April 2019 we weren't diverted via Petrel.Before 2019, one would cross that stream and enter Elda after a few kms. Now the Camino veers further to the right, slightly ascending and instead entering the twin town of Petrel.
In April 2019 we weren't diverted via Petrel
There is no albergue at Sax and we stayed the night at the very pleasant Fuente de la Cura - 25 euros each for a twin room - a bit of a budget buster but highly recommended
Intriguing and clear views.Yay, we're on our way!
The Amigos guide gives the distance from the Basílica de Santa María de Alicante in Alicante to the Plaza Nuestra Señora de Orito as 23.9 km.
The Camino passes just south of the cemetery, and bus number 4 goes there. So I found these options from the Plaza de Santa María to Plaza Cementerio:
View attachment 87665
This probably shaves off about 5 km from the total.
For those who didn't follow my wife and I on the Levante, for a number of reasons, we aim to walk short stages where possible, and this would give us a first comfortable day of about 18 km.
Indeed, from the bus stop (linea 07) in Rebolledo, it's about 1.2 km to the Camino, and from there about 10 km to Orito. In a real life Camino, we would probably then walk on to Monforte del Cid, which is an extra 3.9 km from Orito. There we can stay at the Hostal Avenida. Incidentally, the Amigos' published first stage on the Lana is from Alicante to Monforte del Cid.
Here is a video of the Cueva de San Pascual. Great views from up there!
Sounds excitingOh yes, Las Hogueras, non-stop fiesta during the week of San Juan! (Around last week of June)
First you’re woken up every morning at 8 am (!) by bands walking and playing very loudly through the city centre.
Then at 2 pm it’s the ‘concurso de mazcletas’ in Plaza de Luceros. Every day.
It’s a competition of ‘firecrackers’ - as in ... the loudest wins And it is not just VERY loud, it makes all the buildings shake
And like in Valencia, they have spent the whole year making very elaborate figures (some huge) depicting or deriding politicians and various things that have happened in Spain that year. They all get burnt on the last evening ‘La Quema’. It’s very impressive and the ‘bomberos’ (firefighters) are absolute stars, whenever they can dousing the crowds with water
And of course there are lots of processions in the evenings, everyone in local traditional gear, ending up at the concatedral covering its façade in flowers.
Does anyone know if this has any ramifications in the Lana hinterlands? Are towns that are more tourisic booked out because people have holidays? I'm like @Undermanager, and prefer to wing it rather than calling ahead — so if there is and expected surge of visitors because of something like this it would be good to know.Massive partying on all Spanish beaches that night!
No idea, but the RWTH (Roaming and Wild Teenagers of Hispania) association have their annual get-together at the square in Orito at San Juan until five in the morning. Don't know if they put fire on anything, but it wouldn't surprise me!Does anyone know if this has any ramifications in the Lana hinterlands? Are towns that are more tourisic booked out because people have holidays? I'm like @Undermanager, and prefer to wing it rather than calling ahead — so if there is and expected surge of visitors because of something like this it would be good to know.
If you want to avoid crowds, it’s better to avoid Alicante altogether that week. People come from far and wide and it is very, very busy. I guess that all accommodation (in the town itself and around it) is booked up.Does anyone know if this has any ramifications in the Lana hinterlands? Are towns that are more tourisic booked out because people have holidays? I'm like @Undermanager, and prefer to wing it rather than calling ahead — so if there is and expected surge of visitors because of something like this it would be good to know.
Masses of (mainly but not only) young people on the beaches around bonfires until early morning.This Hogueras de San Juan is actually always on the same night, the shortest night of the year, June 23rd, San Juan's Day Eve (Saint John's day is on June 24th). Massive partying on all Spanish beaches that night!
I would definitely be staying here!Small and very tidy little town with all facilities. The castle is of Roman and Moorish origin it’s ownership causing tension between Aragon and the Castile during the Reconquista.. There is no refugio here but the three star Hotel Fuente el Cura, Tel. 966969013 (recommended) does a Pilgrim price of 26 Euros with breakfast. (Credencia) It’s about 800 metres on your right as you enter the town, and happily on the Camino! Tiendas, supermarket, restaurants.
Not necessarily! It's only a 22+ km walk between Elda and Villena. And the last train back to Alicante from Villena doesn't leave until 19.16. So how long does it take you to walk ~13.5 kms between Sax and there?when we pass Sax today it will be too early for those delightful bubbles. Yes?
Finca el Caprico, tel. 965070857:Yesterday was great, especially because we had a fabulous and totally unexpected place to stay in the hills just outside Sax.
Well, taking it from a slow walker's perspective, we could actually break this stage in two days. We won't on this virtual Camino, but in a real life Camino, we would be tempted to stop in Sax. I know that would be two short stages, 9 km from Elda to Sax, and another 13.7 km to Villena, but sometimes that's what is needed to allow energy to build up, in particular for when we will need it in the next few stages after Villena.Can totally recommend Fuente de la Cura. Too bad we won’t be staying overnight.
We tried the Hostal Los Almendros which my info quoted at 30 euros for a shared room. The place did not look very salubrious and is situated on the edge of town. We declined the host’s offer of a shared room for 40 euros, preferring to pay a bit more for a lot more comfort. The host argued with me that his offer was far superior to the hotel – he got quite het up. I cut him off and we left. As we were approaching the hotel this guy pulled up in his car and continued his argument. What?! He must have been very desperate.
Aha, that is good news. I may leave Sax at 17.00 then ... one can fly on bubblesNot necessarily! It's only a 22+ km walk between Elda and Villena. And the last train back to Alicante from Villena doesn't leave until 19.16. So how long does it take you to walk ~13.5 kms between Sax and there?
It looks to me like you could wobble out of Sax at 15.00 and still be fine.
It looks to me like you could wobble out of Sax at 15.00 and still be fine.
We're so envious of you flying peregrinas...Aha, that is good news. I may leave Sax at 17.00 then ... one can fly on bubbles
We also.I love walking with Pilgrims
Wow, this place looks fantastic!
How could they not love us??because a big group of peregrinos might not be welcome in all linen table cloth restaurants.
Emotions are funny things... I'm finding this lockdown harder than the one in March. I should be walking. I logged in an saw the image of the castillo on the hill and a little tear plopped down my cheek.
I think I might need to stop off at Sax and get some bubbles too and lighten my mood... I love walking with Pilgrims
It has been very, very good for the pilgrim soul during our 3 months strict lockdown in Melbourne. We could walk our (short) stages virtually on the Camino whilst being physically confined to an hour's walk not more than 5 km from home.Most of you have done several virtual Camino’s before this I think, so you already knew it is good for the (pilgrim) soul in these times
I count myself very lucky to have completed my first Camino (CF) just two weeks ago. Having experienced the pilgrim family and felt safe and accepted within it, I am happy to be reliving some of those feelings virtually. @AJGuillaume, Melbourne is a little freer than France now, here we can only exercise within a km radius of our home. Let’s wander freely in southern Spain. BCIt has been very, very good for the pilgrim soul during our 3 months strict lockdown in Melbourne. We could walk our (short) stages virtually on the Camino whilst being physically confined to an hour's walk not more than 5 km from home.
And it keeps our dream alive!
Elda to Sax is pretty interesting: from Elda you have to walk straight up several barrancos - I don't know what to call them in english - as a shortcut to avoid the road. In Elda, aim for the hospital, and the ascent starts kind of behind it. Cyclists will probably take the longer way on the road. So it's a bit of a climb. I see that Nina & Maggie took another way round to look at the Yacimiento Monastil (roman ruins? What is it?) Was it worth it?The Camino leaves Elda along the river, but after 3.5 kms, it follows the railroad easement until 2.5 kms before Sax.
Santa Eulalia is a depressing place. It looks abandoned. The guía says the population is 26, but it was obviously meant for many more people. Seems like everyone left decades ago. I'm sure the people who live there (summer residents from nearby Sax; Alicante?) love it, but it's not my cup of tea. It's my least favorite place on the Lana, I think. Also because I have never seen any bar there. On Google Maps there is a "Cafetería Santa Eulalia" right on the Camino: yeah right, perhaps in 1975. I will believe it when I see it.After Sax, we again fillow the Rio Vinalopó until Sta Eulalia, another 5.5 kms.
This is wonderful! I never knew there was a restaurant a few hundred mtrs from the Camino, near Santa Eulalia! Looks so close on the map, but must be hidden from view on the Camino. Definitely checking that one out.Near here, a short way from the Camino, there is another restaurant, La Casona.
I think I might need to stop off at Sax and get some bubbles too and lighten my mood.
... one can fly on bubbles
As far as I can remember, we followed the arrows and I don't recall seeing the Yacimiento Monastil, so have no idea what it is!I see that Nina & Maggie took another way round to look at the Yacimiento Monastil (roman ruins? What is it?) Was it worth it?
Try turning on auto-generated subtitles and changing the speed to 0.75. Any slower and the pronunciation gets weird. I do it all the time with YouTube when I'm practising español listening skills. I aim only for the gist of what's being said. Auto-generated subtitles aren't in sentences as such, but assist meaning.Oh! Wonderful.
Right up my alley.
Edit... but for the Nth time I found myself thinking, "Why do Spanish people talk so fast?!"
Let's get a bottle for Laurie when we meet up with her tomorrow.And bubbles is/was my treat in Sax.
This looks fantastic. I'm sorry I missed it when we went through Elda, but I will edit the entry to include this link:Yacimiento Monastil
Brilliant. Thanks, I didn't know about auto-generated subtitles.Try turning on auto-generated subtitles and changing the speed to 0.75. Any slower and the pronunciation gets weird. I do it all the time with YouTube when I'm practising español listening skills. I aim only for the gist of what's being said. Auto-generated subtitles aren't in sentences as such, but assist meaning.
We'll all get to see what our legs, hearts, and lungs think. The way from Alicante has been a mostly flat romp, but the alternative will be another story altogether!
Hmmm. A 4-day silent meditation retreat, perhaps?This time it's my turn to stay... in Villena. I wonder what I am supposed to do there for four whole days, while y'all are gallivanting on the Vilajoyosa...!
So in addition to the posts from Alan here on the Forum, there is also this blog with a lot of maps and information. We have a guide!:Here's a link to @alansykes 's recent walk from Villajoyosa, so we are all primed and on the same page.
the camino del Alba. It starts up the coast at Xàbia/Jávea and joins the Lana at Almansa, after a day on the Levante from la Font de la Figuera.
Fantastic! See you there soon.I‘ve made reservations for a 3 pm lunch
I have enjoyed myself here but am ready to go.
I'm looking fotward to this! I just had a peek at Alan's walk from Villajoyosa last year and it looks beautiful. It's incredibly convenient that the start is just a tram ride away!I’ve attached a map from Hotel Cervantes to the Mercat Central tram stop. And the schedule for tomorrow.
Here's a GPX track for the first day: https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/camino-de-santiago-desde-villajoyosa-a-relleu-12417984here's something to check out — what awaits us in the next three days:
Went there to celebrate my friend’s ‘big’ birthday! Loved it but I didn’t think it made it as a ’pilgrim ‘s place’... How wrong was I ?I‘ve made reservations for a 3 pm lunch. I’m guessing it will be closed for Sunday cena, and who wants a late night meal before we start walking?
I have enjoyed myself here but am ready to go. I took a tram ride out to Altea for a day trip. Very nice.
I’ve attached a map from Hotel Cervantes to the Mercat Central tram stop. And the schedule for tomorrow.
All three variants (starting from Villajoyosa, Benidorm, or Altea) wind up in Relleu on the first day. I will be starting from Villajoyosa. I am not a huge fan of Benidorm, and have already visited Altea. (And the Altea start simply adds 10 km to the first day by taking you to Benidorm on minor roads. My impression is that it does not go through the parque natural, so would not be much of a treat. But I could be wrong).
Álvaro Lazaga lives in Benidorm and you can see him in pictures in the guide. I think he walks four or five caminos a year. I believe I saw on one of his youtubes that he celebrated his 50th birthday on a recent camino. Some people have all the luck. I was just starting on my first camino when I turned 50!
I started at Villajoyosa yesterday morning, after an hour's tram ride from central Alicante. Villajoyosa is a pretty polychrome village which seems more Spanish than much of the rest of the coast. You then spend a pleasant hour or so ambling slowly upwards through orange and lemon groves, currently dripping with ripe fruit, before reaching the reservoir of the Amadorio River. Another few km and you are having coffee or a caña in Orxeta. You're already surrounded by beautiful hills, with the imposing 1400m bulk of Puig Campana dominating the views. The last few km up to Relleu are on a narrow steep path, paso de la mula, according to somebody I bumped in to, through wild thyme, rosemary and juniper. It felt like summer again after a month in the north, with bees buzzing around, a few butterflies, even a lizard or two. Relleu is an attractive hill village (with a modern church of Santiago) and I was soon tucking in to an excellent menú del día, including local capers in the salad. Yum. If you ring ahead, which I forgot to do, you can apparently sleep in the polidiportivo, but I had a very nice room in an (empty) casa rural for 22$. This was the view from the sitting room:
Turns out it is a documented Camino since 1734. It has been dubbed "the Italian Camino" because a lot of Italian pilgrims arrived there to start their journey towards Compostela. And... from what I gather, it is more often seen as a part of the Sureste than of the Lana.
- Tlfno. Ayuntamiento de Orxeta 966855080
- Tlfno. Ayuntamiento de Relleu 966856041 para reservar y poder dormir en el lugar de acogida con colchones, Policía Local para recoger la llave 636288756.
- Casa Balcón de Relleu, Maripaz. 20 € con desayuno. 636 85 76 95
- Casa Rural Pepa, cocina .... 20 € persona. 663894021
- Tlfno. Autobús 965121738
Airbnb lists 14 CR's in Relleu, shown on a map here. Some of them look reasonable for a group to share - eg. a house with 6 beds that charges 65 euros for 6 guests, but like many CR's on Airbnb, it has a 2 night minimum.Day 1a. Alicante - Relleu 19.7
it looks like we could take over the CR and have a super time!
Given that we are in microscopic planning mode, doing this in four days will make the most of what information we can collect. It's also quite 'interesting' typography, lending itself to taking more days rather than fewer.Alan did the 93 kms in four days, Relleu - Torremanzanas - Onil - Villena. There is also a possibility of 3 days with stops in Relleu, Ibi, and Villena.
The slow walker amongst us may need a head start, and we might take the 07:11 tram. You'll probably overtake us in Orxeta...If we can catch the 08.11 tram from the Mercat Central tram stop, we'll get to Villajoyosa with plenty of time to walk.
That's not called cheating, it's called using your resources and references wiselyI'm totally cheating here by quoting Alan's post in its entirety
Defining 'better' as 'more picturesque', yes, probably. Slow walkers had better be well trained, because this first day could be a shock to the legsthis alternative route looks like a much, much better path than the first days of walking out of Alicante…
Ah, there's the solution for the slow walkers who will collapse on arrival in Relleu, and who realise that there's another day of more ascent tomorrow...but like many CR's on Airbnb, it has a 2 night minimum
Yep... In real life, definitely more days!It's also quite 'interesting' typography, lending itself to taking more days rather than fewer.
(Today is a steady uphill, but have a look at the next stage on that elevation profile!)
@alansykes , do you have the contact information of the place where you stayed? Your photo from there is fantastic.
Here's a wikiloc track:
If I’m not too late, I’ll have a beer please. I don’t know, I miss a couple of days and it takes me half the evening to catch up on the news. Not sure that my foot is ready for that steep ascent. Maybe I’ll join AJGuillaume in his slower group.See you at Bar El Pantano...
Drinks are on me.
Since half of us have gotten distracted by holidays we're not going anywhere in a hurry. Have a seat, Sue!If I’m not too late, I’ll have a beer please.
No worries. Just wait until the virtual Camino magical powers kick in — you'll fly up that hill!Not sure that my foot is ready for that steep ascent. M
Given that we're attracted by the more picturesque trail from Villajoyosa, and looking at the profile of the days to come, the slow walkers won't say no to that suggestion, @Ninja . And it would probably be what we would do in a real life Camino.Should we stay for the weekend?
Sure! In fact, you can do both: enjoy the stupendous view from the Balcón with your feet up, while powering up that hill at the same time. The joy of a virtual Camino is the wrinkles in the space-time continuum that allow us all to be in at least two places at once, if not more.Should we stay for the weekend?
Once again, shamelessly cribbing Alan's notes, first with a QR code which will take you to his Wikilock track (I'm on my phone without the deluxe version of Wikiloc, and so can't figure out how to copy the link).
Relleu to Torremanzanas:
4 or 5 stars. Sunrise from my balcony was spectacular, with the view down to a little castle that was used as a lookout for when corsairs were raiding the coast, and the more modern equivalent, a radar station, higher up.
The bar near my casa rural was open from 6.30 - it may be the only bar open in winter. It also seemed to be the only one in the village not offering "English breakfast", so I assume in summer the place must be full of tourists.
Just out of the village takes you down into the gorge of the Amadoiro. Almost dry at the moment, but according to the barman last night, after spring and autumn storms it can be a raging torrent.
Then there is a continuous, mostly relatively gentle, climb for the next 11km, with fabulous views at every turn, as Puig Cardena recedes into the distance, the hazy flat of the coast to the south, and with the neat terraces reaching up to the sky on every side. After 8km some pillock has painted over the arrows, but once you see the shade of paint used, it's relatively easy to spot where they were, or just follow a wikiloc. The isolation is total, and it was easy to believe that some of the remoter valleys up here apparently stayed muslim for a generation or two after the fall of Granada, rather like the Alpujarras.
Once over the top, the descent towards Torremanzanas, mostly through fruit trees and olive groves, is less spectacular until the first sight of the 12th century almohad Torre Alta dominating the village. Lunch was still being served at gone 4pm when I arrived (I do like southern habits - one Galician restaurant I went to recently had shut its kitchen by about 2.30) and was another treat, with pomegranite seeds and almost raw fresh tuna in the salad, and olive oil from the local co-op. The albergue (donativo) is above the medical centre, 3 bedrooms, a nice sitting room and well equipped kitchen. According to the register, I was the 4th person to stay in it this year, a record for me. Luckily the friendly hospitalera lives opposite and I don't think is often away. The register quotes the hospital archives of Villajoyosa which report, for example, that a Neapolitan pilgrim on his way to Santiago had a fever and was given a chicken and some money in 1740, so this has been a genuine Jacobeo pilgrim route for centuries.
After 8km some pillock has painted over the arrows, but once you see the shade of paint used, it's relatively easy to spot where they were, or just follow a wikiloc.
The surroundings of the village are also pretty interesting. We can hike to some interesting points and, walking through the beautiful nature, we’ll find a lot of constructions that have a great historical meaning for the area.
For example, we can find some prehistorical remains, such as Freginal de la Font Major, from the mesolithic period. Besides, we can find grain storages in La Foia de Cortés and El Xipreret, and a necropolis placed in Barsella’s mountain, where we can also find an interesting cave.
@alansykes describes this asSo gird your loins everyone — tomorrow is an epic hill-climbing day.
Epic nevertheless for slow walkersa continuous, mostly relatively gentle, climb for the next 11km
This also means there is no way we can break this stage in two. Slow walkers, take courage, but don't forget to enjoy the views!there looks to be nothing in the way of services between our start and our destination.
I can't read that, but the wikiloc link below shows my trail, including highlighting where the arrows are painted out, and how to spot how the inconsiderate moron who thinks he owns the world has done itQR code which will take you to his Wikilock track
That would be very sad. But not entirely surprising. In the 10 years I've been walking caminos, especially since I started concentrating on the more obscure ones, it has been a regular surprise that many small, often clearly far from prosperous, communities make an extraordinary effort, clearly not cost free, to enable flâneurs like myself to progress across Spain at sometimes ridiculously small expense. Torremanzanas was perhaps the most glaring example. I'm sure more than the 4 pilgrims who signed the register slept there in 2018, but I doubt it was more than 50. Hot water, lighting, relative cleanliness, beds, shelter, a few local pamphlets to read, all for the 10-20€ we each put in the donativo box? For a village whose population has halved in the last 50 years? It's a miracle.I have seen in a couple of places that the albergue in Torremanzanas is closed
I'd be tempted, as a virtual camino is probably the only way I would possibly be able to keep up with you, but there's also no way I'm going to miss this:Does anyone want to come with me to Ibi today?
(Yum. But this is torture. I haven't seen a salad, grilled peppers, or any form of beetroot in over a year. And basil with the tostas con tomate? Yum squared to the 10th power.)The salad was spectacular - as well as the almost raw fresh tuna vegans will pass on, there was grated beetroot, recently harvested local olives, pomegranate seeds, lettuce, carrot and grilled pepper. And the tostada for breakfast was special too - I don't often get fresh basil in my crushed tomato of a morning.
We'll come with you in spirit, @peregrina2000 , and our moral support! 100% of it!Does anyone want to come with me to Ibi today?
I ate in the Amber restaurant in Torremanzanas and highly recommend it,
Torremanzanas to Onil: the village bars were open before dawn, and you then head steadily up (nearly 500m up in 5km) to a beautiful high ridge at over 1000m up. The camino follows the camí del peix here, a route that was used to take fish inland since Roman times. It regularly snows here and there were several "pou de nei" (pozo de nieve) stone structures designed to hold snow for several months, and used to make an early form of ice cream. From the Puerto de la Carrasqueta you have fabulous views over the Sierra, out to sea and down to Xixona/Jijona (in the pic) of turron fame (with the turron and the ice cream, Xixona seems justified in calling itself "el lugar mas dulce del mundo").
From the pass you go down to the town of Ibi, where I met a friendly couple who had compostelas from Tui and Sarria and were astonished to learn that they lived on a camino de Santiago. They walked me to El Cordobés, a restaurant run by a friend of theirs and insisted that he feed me. It was a holiday so every place in town was packed with people, and I doubt I'd have got a meal without their help. Very good mdd for 10 or 11€. The final 10km to Onil are flat and fairly dull on a vía verde. At Onil acogida is provided in his slightly Warholian workshop by José Mocho. You share the space with a vintage car and some avant garde art. José made salad and grilled some meat over his fire an we had a convivial evening with some harsh local vi nou from a friend's vines.
Time warp option on: we slow walkers are stopping in Ibi, and we'll catch up with you. 24 km, with that stage profile, is going to make it a little hard for someone. I might carry her backpack for the last km to make it easier for her.We can walk roughly 24 km to Ibi, or continue to Onil, which is another 10km. Those last 10 km are flat, making the longer stage more easily negotiated.
Those wanting to stay in Villena would have more balanced mileage by stopping in Ibi.