Following a little pre-trip research, I had a target in mind of a wildlife reserve called the Aula Natura de la Marjal de Gandia. However, today having been kicked off with a spot of pilates -by Francine rather than by me, you understand – our morning was mostly gone so it was a little late to head for Gandia, which is most of the way to Valencia. So, our fine hosts suggested heading inland, over a twisty, turning mountain road to a place called Val d’Ebo. Here, there was reportedly a river for some critters and a good little restaurant for some lunch. However, Chris warned us to be careful how much food we ended up with: “just got for the tapas without the main course; say solo tapas por favor”, he advised. Right. Off we set.
In fact, it would have been quicker to drive along the autovia to Gandia than over the twisty, turning mountain road to Val d’Ebo. However, we finally arrived and drove into town/village over the river bridge. Did I say river? All we saw was dry, sun-bleached white boulders with no water flowing across them. Not promising for critters. Nonetheless, we parked and began investigating, noting first our proposed lunch venue. Wandering through the village, we ended up down at the river bed where we did find some remaining pools of water that were no longer flowing. They were there, though, and so were a seven species of dragonfly including several additions to our vestigial Spanish list. Here, we added:
- White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes)
- Goblet-marked Damselfly (Erythromma lindenii)
- Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens)
Satisfied, we returnerd to our lunch venue and ordered, as instructed, “solo tapas, por favor”. A salad arrived, complete with the obligatory bread and allioli [garlic mayonaise]. We began eating. A plate of squid rings and fish balls arrived. Yum! Some pickled anchovies arrived, garnished with anchovy-stuffed olives. Excellent! Albondigas [meatballs] turned up with a few token mushrooms. I’m particularly fond of albondigas. Something whose name I forget but which resembles small meat patties arrived, complete with a few homemade pork sausages. We were full. Pork chuletas [chops] were presented next, garnished with some grilled courgettes/zucchini. I’m sure I’ve forgotten something but we couldn’t move.
We’d washed what we could manage down with a couple of beers and a couple of glasses of rosado [pink wine]. €30 the lot; great value but far too much for a lunch where we are concerned.
We wobbled our way back to the car and drove back over the twisty, turning mountain road to refresh ourselves in the pool … after the food had settled, of course.