Spanish interior – L’Esmoradora Finca and Guadalest, off the beaten path

Finca L'esmoladora

The entrance of the Finca

For Easter we went to the gorgeous L’Esmoradora Finca located an hour and a half inland from Alicante airport in a small village named Parcent.

It was a brilliantly relaxing vacation. The weather was lovely, between 20 and 30 degrees centigrade for the entire weekend. And we spent our days there soaking up the local village culture and history.

We arrived on Good Friday and our hosts Derek and Pam had been kind enough to stock the fridge with meats, cheeses and other basics including butter and coffee. This was a real life-saver – I have no idea how we would have managed to bring food for the three of us on our Easyjet flight. (Aside: while packing, we weighed our suitcases, discovered they were overweight and basically we stopped packing – what happened next is we showed up in Spain without staple baby-gear like bibs – this is why packing lists are critical. We’ll be adding a few more packing lists to the site soon).

On Saturday we went to the local market which had surprisingly few repeated stalls when compared to the ones we’d seen in South-east Asia. We also picked up some food to cook at the Mas y Mas, a local supermarket chain. I wasn’t expecting a full-sized grocery store, but that is what we found. We replenished our meat and cheese supplies and picked up food to cook back at the Finca.

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Prosciutto at the Mas y Mas

One thing we noticed is that the fruits in Spain were bursting with flavour.

Despite our best efforts, Daniel seems to prefer bland flavours or anything drowned in yogurt. We offer him a bit of everything we eat and try to keep the offerings varied, yet what goes in his mouth and stays in his mouth has been quite limited. Daniel’s tastes have changed on a whim, previously loved foods – avocados and cucumber – are flung to the ground with disgust. But even Daniel couldn’t resist the delicious oranges in Spain. He’s been hooked ever since!

Saturday afternoon while Daniel was napping, we took advantage of the tennis court at the Finca to play a game we like called, ‘Go get the ball’. We did manage a few good rallies (as defined by our rules) and we worked up our appetites. This was satisfied by a delicious Spanish charcuterie board.

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Derek and Pam brought over local Easter bread

On Sunday morning, Derek and Pam brought over Spanish Easter bread to help celebrate Easter. These gorgeous delights incorporated an Easter Egg into the bread and Daniel enjoyed playing with the different shapes before he devoured the eggs (he was less of a fan of the bread).

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View of Parcent fro the mountains

Later that morning we drove to picturesque Guadalest. The drive alone was stunning. We ventured up the old Roman road over the mountains and we were treated to the lovely vista at the top (see image above). Further along the road we saw farms built on the side of the valleys and a few curiosities dotting the road (including a motorcycle museum).

Guadalest is the second most visited village in Spain, and we could see why. It is only accessible by foot through a tunnel in the rocks, and yields unparalleled views of the mountains and valley out to the sea.

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Posing in front of the Guadalest sign

On Monday we enjoyed walking the grounds of the Finca. On the property they grow olives, grapes, oranges, almonds and more. The Finca collects the crops and make their own olive oil, wine and enjoy an all-you-can-eat amount of almonds. During our stay we learned that the riverbank, in the rear of the property, is where locals get rocks to sharpen their knives, and in fact, this is how the Finca got its name. The owners celebrate this by having an antique sharpening wheel in the courtyard (you can just see it behind Peter in the photo below).

The property is speckled with beautiful pieces of art that Derek and Pam have collected on their travels throughout the year. Each piece of art and sculpture on the property has a story behind it, and visitors can read about the history of the village, and some of the artifacts on-site, in the yellow book provided in each room.

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Pete and Daniel in the courtyard

Going to a small village was a great change of pace from the big-city destinations Pete and I are used to. This was a brilliant way to really bond with Daniel and spend lots of time enjoying our family. And even though we went to a village, we were still able to experience a lot.

Also, planning a maximum of one excursion per day kept the trip relaxed and gave us flexibility to enjoy impromptu activities. Days with lots of activities are doable and they can be fun, but they require more planning and can leave you feeling as though you need a holiday when you get home.

Where is your favourite off-the-beaten-path family destination and why did you enjoy it? If you’ve previously only gone to large cities on family vacations, consider a smaller town, you may be pleasantly surprised. – Kristine

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