The delightful “Cascada Pantano Elche” waterfalls, its lake & nature trails are 25 minutes drive from the Hondon Valley. [Google Map]. These beautiful waterfalls near Aspe/Elche are perfect for a walk.Flowinf rivers are a rarity in the very dry Costa Blanca, so it is a nice change to see the river and its dammed waterfall.
There are various car parks close by, however to actually get to the Waterfalls it is a 20-minute steady walk. We recommend you use suitable footwear for the dusty rugged tracks. Try to avoid the hot midday heat too.
There are no catering facilities so take some food & drink as there are plenty of picnic tables. You can also climb up the steps to see the Rio Vinalopó / Lake which is the source of the waterfall, actually a functioning hydroelectric dam.
Roscon de Reyes is a traditional sweet cake to celebrate the Spanish Christmas & the 3 Kings parade on 5th Jan, Epiphany.*
At this time of the year all across Spain families like to share a “Roscones de Reyes”, a delicious sweet pastry ring, which is shaped as a crown to welcome the Epiphany of the Three Kings on 5 January. This is one of the oldest traditions in Spain, and can be traced back to the 12th century, if not before.
This is usually the most magical night of the Spanish Christmas calendar, especially for the children. The three Wise Men or Kings visit houses and leave presents for everyone or parade local streets & town centres. They can be spectacular with the Kings giving away sweets and presents to joyful , excited children. Loud music is blaring, the costumes are glitzy and theatrical and people dance. In Madrid, the capital, they televise the parade to the country which usually includes some very special guests and celebrations. It’s a HUGE parade and worth a look. Of course all towns and villages, like the Hondon Valley make the effort too.
*Alas. COVID-19 wil curtail mass gatherings and celebrations in 2020 but we are sure the Spanish will embrace and do what they can.
These Roscones are usually decorated with pretty colourful candied fruit and are often stuffed with a cream or chocolate filling and it is lightly fragranced with “aqua de azahar”, made with the blossom of orange. Look out for the little figurine of Jesus or some similar gift, as it brings luck (if it doesn’t bring the dentist).
The Covid crisis is having a big effect on the bakers of these Roscones, with sales down by one third this year, reflecting the fact that big family gatherings are being avoided at this time. if you can support your local bakers, rather than the supermarkets #lovelocal.
Remember that the 6 January is a public holiday to celebrate Los Reyes and children finally get to open their presents on the evening before.
Have you tried a Roscon? Where is the best place to buy one?
Richard Seal, a master of words and the description and of The Hondón Writers Circle has kindly submitted this insight into life in the rural charms of the Hondon Valley. Delightful.
Bill and Jean love describing to friends back in Wolverhampton how their Spanish villa is tucked away on a mountain road behind an abandoned ruin, beside a forgotten expanse of wasteland which hosts an occasional sheep or goat, with black trees struggling to yield any olives. They excitedly explain that it is too far for the postman to trek, so they have a village mail box – a space stuffed full of old leaflets, and fiesta flyers from yesteryear, parties probably celebrated with customary joy when the aged local shepherd was just a boy.
Flanked by stunning views, lush almond groves, and fields full of oranges and lemons, Bill and Jean often sit together gazing at the landscape and feel that all this is a bit too good to be true. However, they know, through the blood red brilliance of the Costa Blanca sunsets, the occasional dog bark carried on the breeze and the birds which nightly hold the high notes on their twisted boughs, that this is how life is supposed to be.
Sitting in church every Sunday, listening to the service, Bill and Jean are vaguely lost amid Our Lady and saints unknown. They marvel at the Spanish words barely understood but sensed and sampled. A smiling señor and señora on the row in front suddenly turn to clasp their hands, making the couple feel so welcome. Afterwards they enjoy a leisurely lunch with a few Spanish locals, savouring the great value menu del dia with a bottle of vino tinto – Neither dissent at the prospect of time so well spent.
On a late August evening, Bill and Jean stand in the village surrounded by Spanish folk in family clusters, sitting together on rickety chairs hauled out of shuttered houses. The fiesta parade of floats leaves the pair in slack-jawed awe: Flower pot children amble ahead of twenties’ flappers, blazing a trail for Hawaiian gyrators; comic characters herald zombies and an underworld cast before the spectacular midnight firework blast. English village fates seem such distant memories, the couple’s life now is a Fandango; They smile at each other and wonder each day who could have spiked their Earl Grey.
The Provincial Institution (Alicante Diputación) want to help foreign citizens to understand and integrate more into local and national life here in Spain. Some 190,000 euros has been allocated to do this. And our region is involved.
The deputy of International Residents, Juan de Dios Navarro, has highlighted that the objective of these programs is to collaborate with the local entities of our province in the development of projects and activities that “contribute to help, advise and integrate the thousands of foreigners who they have chosen our province to live ”.
If you live here in Spain, you will know it can be different from life in Northern Europe, even quirky to foreigners! Many foreigners do not have the language skills or understanding to integrate or learn about the real day-to-day life here. Of course understanding the language, economy, culture and labour can enhance and facilitate a better lifestyle & happiness.
In this sense, the new initiatives such as Spanish courses, awareness and integration campaigns, care and advisory services, information campaigns on the municipal register, volunteer programs, intercultural participation days or sports activities will be subsidised. “The demand for this type of projects has increased significantly in recent years given the importance that, for their (foreign citizens) full integration in Alicante, have, for example, knowledge of Spanish or legal, legal or labour issues that concern them.” says Juan de Dios Navarro.
So look out for these initiatives in your local Town Hall or on local Facebook groups and get involved. Most will be free!
The benefited municipalities are Aspe, Elda, Hondón de las Nieves, Hondón de los Frailes and La Romana, in the Middle Vinalopó, Crevillent, in the Baix Vinalopó, and Salinas and Sax, in the Alto Vinalopó. Aigües, El Campello and Mutxamel, in L ‘Alacantí, and Albatera, Algorfa, Almoradí, Benferri, Benijófar, Bigastro, Catral, Cox, Daya Nueva, Daya Vieja, Dolores, Granja de Rocamora, Guardamar del Segura, Jacarilla, Los Montesinos, Pilar de la Horadada, Rafal, Redován, San Isidro, San Miguel de Salinas and Torrevieja.
In Vega Baja. Alcalalí, Benigembla, Benimeli, Calp, Dénia, Llíber, Murla, Castell de Castells, Ondara, Orba, Parcent, Pego, Benitachell, Els Poblets, Sanet y Negrals, Tormos and Xábia, in the Marina Alta, and L’Alfàs del Pi , Altea, Beniardá, Bolulla, Callosa d’En Sarrià, Finestrat, Polop, Relleu and Tárbena, in the Marina Baja. In the El Comtat region, aid will go to L’Alqueria d’Asnar, Cocentaina, Facheca, Muro de Alcoy, Lorcha and Planes, while L’ Alcoià will benefit Banyeres de Mariola, Onil and Tibi.
There’s are 100’s of tapas recipes and dishes to choose from. They can be regional or very generic Spanish and portions vary too. In many parts of Spain they are served free with your drinks in Spanish Bars, always welcome. Some can be bizarre compared to northern European tastes but give them a go!
Well one of our favourite cooking channels on YouTube is “Spain on a Fork”. If you are new to Tapas or want to try something new then this channel is well worth a subscription.
Try cooking these very easy but essential Spanish Tapas Dishes yourself… In the video below you can learn to prepare and cook the very popular and typical Spanish tapas recipes…. it looks so easy and so delicious. let us know how you get on.
Including Warm Salted Almonds Manchego & Sweet Roasted Peppers Garlic Mushrooms with Smoked Paprika Roasted Potatoes with Paprika Ali-Ole Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Cheese & Egg Montaditos … all delicious and at only 3 or 4 ingredients per dish. The recipes can be printed and followed here:
A Montadito is a staple of the culinary arts from Spain. It is a unique tapa-sized rolls of bread similar to a baguette but wider and with a twist. … The etymology of the word ‘montadito’ stems from the word ‘montar’, which means ‘to mount’ in Spanish.
You can get Tapas in the Hondon area, but it’s not widely available or of great variety... least not in the league of Granada and the Andalucia region in general. A new Spanish run Tapas Bar has just opened calls “El Charro” in the Frailes Plaza (see Facebook El Charro)
Tapas, those delicious little snacks you can get in any bar in Spain, have recently been making quite a splash in the United States. In the past 3 years, I have seen 4 tapas bars pop up in my neighbourhood alone. And people are crazy about them! The thing is, other than serving tiny bits of expensive food and over-priced drinks, these trendy American tapas bars have almost nothing in common with your traditional Spanish tapas bar.
In many places in Spain, dinner is not served until 9 or 10 o’clock at night. So many people like to “tapear” or go out and eat tapas at a few different bars to meet up with friends, discuss the day, and in general just relax in a fun social atmosphere. In a lot of the major cities and in most parts of Adalucía, when you order a drink, often you get a tapa for free. Or sometimes it is the other way around; if you order a tapa, you get a free drink.
Now, how this tradition came about is debated among a few popular theories. First, it is important to know what “la tapa” means. Literally, it means “cover” or “top,” so it is important to keep this in mind when thinking about its history.
Some say that some sneaky tavern owners from Castilla-La Mancha found that a strong smelling and tasting cheese could “cover” the flavor of cheap wine. This way, they could sell the not so great wine for a higher price by including a free piece of cheese.
Others say that when King Alfonso XII was visiting Cádiz on the south west coast, he ordered a cup of sherry, which is famous in this region. In order to protect the wine from the blowing beach sands, the waiter covered the wine glass with a slice of cured ham. King Alfonso apparently enjoyed it and asked for another glass of sherry with a “tapa” just like the first.
Less legendary is the thought that since you are most likely standing when you are out having drinks with friends, you would need to cover your drink with your plate in order to have a free hand to eat. Or that you would need to top your sherry, a very sweet wine, with bread or ham to keep the curious flies away.
Now what kind of tapa you get with your drink widely depends on the region, but the staples are olives, of which there can be many different varieties, bread with aioli, and some kind of fried seafood. It is also very common to see small slices of bread topped with Spain’s famous jamón serrano or slices of cheese. My favourite is tortilla Española, which is very similar to an omelette with pieces of fried potato and onion inside instead of cheese.
There are thousands of tapa recipes out there and I encourage you to try a few on your own. Being all the fad right now, your friends would definitely be impressed if you invited them all over for an early evening of tapas at your house. ¡Salud! and ¡Buen provecho!
The Hondón Valley… A refuge! This quiet sanctuary is away from the pace, hassle and bustle of the world. The Hondon Valley is a beautiful Spanish neighbourhood nestling in between the mountains and less than one hour’s drive from the golden beaches of the Costa Blanca beaches.
It is a region which can trace it’s roots back to Roman Times, the stone terracing still surviving, although unused and overgrown on the mountain side give presence to that period. The small stone huts dotted around the landscape shows evidence of a later period, when men toiled the fields and these stone constructions were places to rest from their labour, or they were for the shepherd to shelter and to take a break whilst looking after the flock.
Most of this has now disappeared as the community has engaged on a different more relaxed way of life from its previous one of farming and horticulture, morphing into a holiday paradise. This has taken place since the turn of the century, when in the year two thousand, development started with the construction of detached houses on parcels of the urban area.
It was in 1840 that self independence of the valley began to develop when the controlling authority, at that time the Dominican Friars of Orihuela, granted self governing powers to the two Hondon villages of Frailes and further to the north Nieves, with the latter being the controlling one of the pair. This changed in 1926 when the two parted company and the smaller of the two with 12.6 square kilometres of land obtained self autonomy, and the two villages developed in their own way. Today the valley is a quaint mixture of farming, residential and holiday makers living side by side.
In January the blossom on the almond trees will extend across the valley spreading a vista of various colours of pink proliferating around the fertile land between the Spanish style detached properties, giving the general feeling of Spring, although it has not quite arrived, it gives the impression it is on the way.
Hondon in Bloom! As the early months of the year progress then other plants will follow suit when the early buds that have formed will turn into a blanket of foliage hiding the developing fruit of the vines which will be harvested, starting in September and on to the end of the year. In between this period, the fields of olive trees their crop will have matured and would have been gathered.
This valley, this refuge from the madness of the outside world, it is where the quiet relaxed pace of time is paramount to everyday living. The mixture of different people mainly north Europeans who have found the delights of this place in the clean air of the mountains making it their home, mixing in as one, creating a contented community with its self governing bodies controlling the smooth running of events. The street parties and the fiesta in July and August… not to be missed as people come from far and wide to see the spectacles and to enjoy the cuisine offered by its restaurants.
From their humble beginnings the two communities of the valley with their grand old Churches to the centre of each built and named by the Dominican Friars all that time ago. As the bells of these structures mark each hour the surroundings progress into the new age well equipped to welcome all who wish to live or holiday in its peaceful environment.
Copyright 2020. This article was kindly written for Hondon Villas and the Hondón Community Percy W. Chattey, a member of the Hondon Writing Circle.
Percy W. Chattey is a local author of award winning thrillers and the “Story Telling” series. You can purchase Percy Chattey’s books in paperback or Kindle via Amazon… just search Percy Chattey.
Hola! thank you for your visit.
If you are looking to buy or sell property in the Hondón Valley area, please consider Hondón Villas, a local family business for 15 years. We are passionate about property and can advise & hold your hand throughout the process. Our office is in the main Frailes plaza, open Mon-Fri 10.00-17-00 and by appointment at evenings and weekends, WEBSITE : WWW.HONDONVILLAS.NET