This was a cycling holiday with a difference, comprising a ride from Alicante to Valencia and rides on Mallorca, seeing our daughter during the two weekends. We set off on the 8th March to catch the 09:02 train from Bangor and were relieved that it was dry and not too cold for the ride to the station. We changed trains for Liverpool and flew from there to Alicante, staying the night at a hostal a few kilometres from the airport.
After breakfast in the hostal, we set off in sunshine for Torrellano. Finding the start of the via verde was a challenge, signs being non-existant. We’d researched it online but couldn’t find any sufficiently detailed maps. Eventually we found a track which led us to the via verde and we rode along the dusty track into a headwind. The route was conceived in 1926 to transport the products of Alcoy factories to the port at Alicante. It was a massive engineering project to build a railway line with smooth gradients through a mountainous landscape, necessitating many tunnels and viaducts. Having completed the groundworks, the last stage coincided with the outbreak of the Civil War. The immediate post-war period and its miseries prevented completion of the project, the rails were never laid.
The scrubby landscape became more inviting as we rose, with high steep peaks and views back to the sea and Alicante. We had to provide our own lighting in the tunnels. There is a big gap in the route where part of the trackbed was used for a new dual carriageway road, so we made our way along the old road to Castalla where we looked for accommodation. None was to be found in the centre but we were directed to the other side of town where there was a hotel. There were no restaurants in the vicinity so we settled for ensalada and paella at the hotel.
Distance cycled : 70km with 1154m of ascent