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To Follow That Star: Penyagolsa

We enjoyed another sunrise from the balcony but didn’t linger too long this morning.

A lot of twisties to drive between here and that peak. That did not stop so many before us like those Knights Templar guys.

We had a 52-mile drive to the trailhead with a 5,000-foot elevation gain. Penyagolosa is highest peak in Valencia Region at 1813 meters.

We are ready to climb this mountain because it is here…No matter how hopeless. No matter how far.

We followed the signs in this Park Natural and the babbling brook that was along the trail.

Spring wildflowers. Many different bird songs were very melodious. Trees were full of buds. We saw some butterflies.

That is snow on the higher slopes as we scope out the route ahead.

Beautiful pine forests and rocky outcroppings.

Time for lunch and to enjoy the views!

The views from “the Roof of Valencia” were spectacular. Beyond all those hills and valleys is the Mediterranean sea – and our drive back!

The Roman Arch on the Via Augusta near Cabanes reminded us we were not in Colorado!

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This is our Quest…

To Dream the Impossible Dream!

Museum of Ceramics in Onda – 200 years of tile has been collected and preserved. We especially enjoyed this display.

The architecture of the building was modern and very well designed. View to the Castle with 300 towers on the hill.

Time to Storm the Gates! Just ask El Cid…

Detail of a tower with the mountains of Parc Natural de la Sierra d’Espadán

Imagine a Moorish Garden like Alhambra here on the top floor of the castle! Then the Christians came but the church is now an excellent museum on the history.

After passing miles and miles of ceramic factories we stopped at this Mirador for a picnic lunch.

This was the view of the reservoir Sitjar and the factories of Ribesalbes.

Vilafames, one of the most Beautiful villages in Spain with, you guessed it, another castle on the hill.  We wandered the nicely preserved town up to this tower on the the top of the hill.

The Natural Park Cabanes – Torreblanca, just south of tour apartment, is dedicated wetlands with some hiking and biking trails.

Part of the route we hiked is along the coast of the Mediterranean. We saw lots of seagulls and cormorants in this section.

There are inland marshes and ponds with a variety of water fowl like coots and ducks, as well as these mergansers.

Back to our own Mirador balcony for a leisurely, very Spanish lunch of fresh bread, Iberian ham, wine and flan! Ready for our siesta!

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Morella in the El Maestrat Mountains

Another beautiful sunrise – we watched the fishing boats as there were more than usual this morning.

We planned a day trip into the mountains of El Maestrat region.

This aqueduct, built during the Christian Era, supplied the hill town of Morella with necessary water.

The water still has a bit of distance to travel before arriving in the city.

We enjoyed walking around the old town area. It is quite a walk and climb to explore the castle.

The natural rock outcropping was incorporated into the castle so it almost hard to detect where one begins and ends.

Time to storm the Gates! Just ask El Cid.

Beautiful entry of the Cathedral.

Very large statues or very small human. Figures represent last Moorish ruling couple and first Christian ruling couple in the Town Hall – used for festivals.

This is also the area of dinosaur discoveries in the Formation Morella. In 2008 an intact specimen of a previously unknown species of sauropod dinosaur was discovered, believed to have lived in the earlyCretaceous period, approximately 120 million years ago.

We also explored Ares del Maestrat where we found this cool statue of a Knight Templar. We had to go home and watch a documentary on who were the Knights Templars.

It was the clearest day we have had. We could see all the way to the highest peak of Penyagolosa – an adventure for another day which we hope is this clear.

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Alcossebre Sea Experience

We enjoyed seeing these images; so decided to spend a month at this brand new apartment hotel. Take a look for yourself.

This is the interior courtyard where everyone enters their unit.

View of the Mediterranean when you walk into the unit – bedrooms on the left.

Very modern, clean and comfy for the two of us.

Kitchen area is sufficient next to entry door to the unit.

Nice to have weekly cleaning service!

Rooftop terrace and infinity pool. We are on top level under the pool.

Our unit is second from left on top level. Reflected in second pool on ground level.

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Rock Art in the Mountains

Our morning sunrise with our coffee…

Inland the almond trees are in full bloom

Fragrant!

These stone huts were made for protection from the elements – man or animal.

Very nice construction of dry stacked stone.

We headed to Museu de la Valltorta near Tirig to see Neolithic rock art from around 6,000 years old.

Our guide Julia lead us along with a couple from near Valencia and another from Barcelona.

Las Pinturas Ruprestres (cave paintings) – more rock art near Ulldecona in Catalon

Well worth our time with another very good guide, Jordan.

We were near the Ebre Delta so drove into the wetlands to see some flamingos!

On the way we saw this route of very large old olive trees!

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The Mediterranean’s Costa Azahar

Balcony over the Mediterranean on the coast of Spain!

Beautiful Coast of Azahar.

Modern lighthouse protecting the Irta Mountains.

There are the Serra d’Irta in the background.

Castillo de Xivert in those mountains overlooking the plains.

An Islamic fortification built in 10th century, conquered by Knights Templar in 1234, then a Christian stronghold in the 15th century.

Alcala de Xivert in the valley – this is the season for artichokes.

Peniscola is a castle surrounded by sea with a long history. Just ask El Cid

It looks pretty defensible!

Someone covered this house with shells- that is a lot of collecting!

Avignon pope Benedict XIII (Pedro de Luna) lived here after the Knights of Templer. The castle was renovated for the film El Cid and also parts of Games of Thrones 5th season was filmed here.

We had to hike to the Tower which sent signals to the castles – no cell phones!

High Tech Communication!

Happy hour back at our balcony – our collection of 2 euro wines!

Sunset in the mountains reflected in the infinity pool.

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Food, Fun, Friends, Family

Holiday season begins!

Thanksgiving in Michigan.

We return to the fox prints on the lake.

Scrumptious soup dinner at the cabin with a yoga demonstration…

All the better to be limber to try out those new skis.

Lots of sunshine and great views.

Finally enough snow to shoe on the lake.

Many fabulous winter sunsets to enjoy with a glass of wine.

Cabin Fever Celebration with friends…

The bonfire is lit but it is still cold out here…

Now there is a little heat!

Even better is the heat in Phoenix – combining both friends and family!

Lots of great meals: a little biking, a little walking, some tennis and some shopping might have worn off a calorie or two.

Back to the Arizona Biltmore for our third year in a row – a new brunch tradition. Delicious!

Enjoying the beautiful gardens with flowers in January.

Another wonderful evening with Thai soup and German chocolate cake. And a big bottle of wine to celebrate a big birthday!

Our little Florida cutie is also celebrating.

We had more great food and fun family time.

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