This was our first visit to Elche, and we were surprised what a lovely city it is. We knew it was famous for its palm trees, but were not prepared for the large area of the city taken over by the Palm Grove. Not on the outskirts, but in the very centre.
It was not however our first coach trip with the U3A. They arrange a lot of day trips to local towns of particular interest, as well as more adventurous four day holidays to the Costa del Sol and Barcelona. We have joined quite a few, and find it a trouble free way to see different parts of Spain.
We joined the coach in Jalon at 8.15am, which required a much earlier than usual alarm call. I doubt if we were the only ones to have a snooze during the 90 minute drive to Elche. After a short break for coffee at a convenient bar, the trip started with a visit to the famous Huerto del Cura (Priests Orchard).
We had an English speaking guide for our tour of the grounds with its world famous collection of Palm trees. She explained that the gardens had been created by a chaplain Castano is the late 19th century.
The commentary added much to our enjoyment of the visit, but could not compete with this busy mother duck who was giving noisy instructions to her off spring.
It is the custom to have a wish as you walk under this low arch created by two palm trees, presumably the most popular wish is not to hit your head.
The visit ended with a film show in this very rustic cinema, with its own peacock on the roof
The film show was a general description of the gardens on the centre screen, and a film of our own visit on the two side screens. One of the staff had taken a cine film of our visit, which was now available for a very reasonable 15 euro per CD.
The next item was a tour of the city on this land train. Normally we would prefer a walking tour, but as this was the hottest day of the year so far we were quite happy to be driven around
We then had three hours free time to explore the city. There is lots to see from interesting street furniture to a wide selection of museums and parks.
But after our busy morning we were soon contented to find a shaded seat to sit and watch the world go by.
Or better still shaded bar with a very cold drink.
Final visit of the day was to the Pikolinos shoe museum and factory. This proved much more popular with the ladies than the gents.
A very interest trip, and well worth the early morning start.