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Travel
 
  Gandia
Located in the extreme north of the Costa Blanca region, the ancient town of Gandia is perhaps the least attractive of the northern Costa Blanca resorts. Having a resident population of approximately 77,000 it is a city and municipality within the community of Valencia, lying on the banks of the River Serpis, about 96km north of Alicante and 65km south of Valencia.
   
  Pilar de la Horadada
The southernmost town in the province of Alicante, Pilar de la Horadada is a charming town with a long history. The scene of many battles over the centuries due to its strategic location between the Kingdoms of Murcia and Valencia, Pilar de la Horadada is actually named after the 15th Century watchtower (located in nearby Torre de la Horadada) which was constructed to warn the inhabitants of the town of attacks from Barbary pirates who sailed along these coasts, making frequent raids on unsuspecting villages during the 14th to 17th Centuries.
   
  Back To The Future
If you have visited Hungary before then you will know what a beautiful, intoxicating and friendly country it is. If not, then perhaps you should consider a trip there and now is the time to start planning your travels. For me, the love affair started after leaving the sunny shores of the Costa Blanca and venturing east to discover pastures new. What I discovered was a land of tranquil beauty, a land that could easily be that of the UK fifty years ago. This is a place where the roads are not always full of cars, where people take the time to say hello and petty crime is virtually non-existent. That’s not to say Hungary is living in the past, far from it. As a member of the EEC it is bang up to date technologically and with all the amenities and creature comforts you expect in the 21st century. It is now even blessed/cursed with a chain of Tesco hypermarkets! So, after a short introduction to what was to become my new home, I sold up in Spain and purchased a gorgeous new four bedroom home close to the banks of Lake Balaton in the far West of Hungary. You will be astounded as to how inexpensive property is here, a detached property with a huge garden at a fraction of the cost of a tiny duplex in Spain. Land here is still relatively cheap and it is possible to buy and build your own home, you know, the one you always dreamed of but couldn’t quite afford. So what’s the weather like you ask. Well, I remember my first visit here was in March and the temperature here was exactly the same as it was when I stepped on the plane in Alicante. It is true we normally have a white Christmas, which always reminds me of home in the UK, but Winter is a very short season and Spring starts early. As I write this now in February, the sun is shining and it won’t be long before the trees, that line every road, are in full blossom. For those sun worshipers out there you may be surprised to know the Summer months here are long and warm. Last year there was a two week spell of over 40C, warmer than the Costas at the time, so if you choose to sunbathe on the beaches of Lake Balaton you can. Or perhaps you prefer the unspoilt countryside, with spectacular natural scenery and pure air. A visit to one of many natural health spas is popular with the locals too. This country really does remind me of my youth, back in the 70’s when you could enjoy a day out in the country with hardly a soul in sight, stop over at a local inn and eat and drink for £3 a head. Here you still can! So, if you are looking for a change of lifestyle, one that takes you back to the ‘good oldDays’ then maybe you just might enjoy going back to the future, in Hungary.
   
  Albatera
The traditional Spanish village of Albatera is another of the Vega Baja (Low Fertile Valley) villages of the province of Alicante. With its population of around 9,000, Albatera is surrounded by natural areas of wetlands, plains and mountains, the most impressive of these being the Parque de la Huerto (Park of the Orchards) which comprises 30,000 square metres, featuring a lake, a fountain, walking routes and garden areas. The park is also the location for a variety of musical events throughout the year. Albatera lies on the banks of the Segura river, a beautiful spot with impressive views of the nearby Sierra de Crevillent - although the town itself is mostly on the level.
   
  Biar
Lying at the foot of the Sierra de Mariola in the Vinalopo Valley, some 39 kilometres from the city of Alicante, the ancient town of Biar is overlooked by its medieval walled castle. Biar is a small town with a municipal area of 98.2square kilometres and a population of 3,647 (2006 figures).
   
 
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