Thursday 26 December – Day 1 Crisalida

Ok, Christmas ringing, singing, present opening, drinking, feasting… all safely out of the way.  I couldn’t sleep at all of course with my brain on high alert.  I repacked my cabin bag several times in my mind although the final decisions had been made and it was safely zipped ready to go.  Unable to lie awake any longer, I got out of bed at 4.45, had my almond croissant and orange juice for breakfast, then finalised items to take that had been whirring round my head in the night.

Sat Nav in new Mini duly set, the road to Birmingham was clear and dry until 15 minutes before arrival when it began to rain quite heavily.  Of course I missed the turn to the Carpark 1 and had to go round again.  I had to drive round and round up to level 5 before I found an empty spot, leaving me little time for my flight.  Fortunately security was quick and for once my bags went through the fast channel, not needing to be opened.

The flight was delayed by 20 minutes but was smooth and by 11 I was hungry enough to order an early lunch.  Beef lasagne would be my last taste of meat for a week.  Then a snooze to try and catch up on all that lost sleep…

As Beniconnect’s minibus makes its way from the airport up the coast, I am reminded of the familiar dusty terrain, the patterned sets of olive trees that seem happy to grow in drought, the pointy tall Cyprus trees dotted about or standing in rows; the little cream stone buildings with pale terracotta roofs.  Everything is bathed in warm sunshine with back cloth if the mountains to the left and to the right the Mediterranean Sea.

There is a drop off in Benidorm.  The driver tells me the Orange still exists ‘on the strip’. We had a family holiday here 35 years ago.  The girls were 5 and 3.  I would not have recognised it.  Extremely built up with designer high rises.

I am the last drop off and finally we arrive at the little village of Playa del Albir.  La Crisalida is an old Spanish building spread out on one floor with little apartments around a pool.  I was given a warm welcome by several members of staff and they had saved me lunch.  By this time it was 3pm and the sun was still hot by the pool.  However I had decided to join in the timetabled activities straight away.  The cookery demonstration, attended by about 16 was a very humorous affair, run by an Irish women.  We learned to make various hummus dishes.  I have to say that twice I nearly fell asleep, I was so tired from my early start.  However, I was determined to do the Yoga for all levels.  This was great and included many of the exercises I’ve been doing for my back.  We  were finally asked to lie completely still with a bolster under our knees covered with a blanket.  Well guess what!  I was gently woken by the tinkling of her little bell and I had no idea where I was!

After a short nap in my shared apartment, I joined everyone for dinner.  Such a sociable event and the most delicious vegan food, which I will come to describe in more detail in the coming days

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