I have made it clear before how much I love nostalgia and re-living childhood memories but sometimes, it can result in disappointment. Ever since I booked up the villa in Moraira, I was excited and soon filled with anticipation. Not just because my family hadn’t been on holiday for seven years (I don’t think I’ve mentioned that before) but the Costa Blanca was where it all started back in the late 90’s. That particular part of Spain became oh so familiar to me as a kid because we kept going back every year. It was an amazing area when I was a little boy but now I’m a big boy, I can see it’s not that great. I removed my rose-tinted spectacles and replaced them with sun-shades.
As a recent Top Gear episode showed, the financial crash has hit Spain much worse than Britain. Everywhere does look like a construction site with unfinished buildings and roads. The supermarkets again point to the economic downturn because the price of basic food was astronomical (it made Waitrose look cheap). This doesn’t match that glorious country I once knew. All the places I remembered so fondly showed that children are easily pleased. Take the local fun fair; I recall the excitement when my parents would take my brothers and I into, what turned out to be a courtyard with a few baby rides in. They seemed magical 10 years ago…
Another place I was desperate to visit was the supermarket just outside the town centre called Pepe La Sal. The reason I used to enjoy going there was because they had mini trolleys, which at the time was quite novel but most supermarkets have them nowadays. Like the fair, it wasn’t fun going back as a grown up. Again, what did I realistically expect? It’s just an ordinary shop with aisles of food and drink. They didn’t even have the trolleys anymore (not that I could use one).
Nothing really felt as good a decade later apart from the villa, which we had all agreed, was the best one we had stayed in. The two restaurants, Rusty’s and Monroe’s, used to be our regulars but they had gone downhill. The food was pretty tasteless and so too was the singer in Rusty’s. Fair enough, if it’s karaoke, you expect a few amateurs but she was being paid to entertain the customers but instead was killing a few of my favourite Adele tracks. Then, there is Monroe’s. I’m fussy so just had Spaghetti Bolognese and quite enjoyed it but apparently the Carvery was awful (it looked stodgy). Not how anyone remembered it.
Even the town of Javea (10 minutes away) didn’t have the same feel as it used to but our judgement may have been blurred by poor service at a restaurant. Basically, the waiter didn’t tell the kitchen my order so the Pasta Carbonara was brought out after everyone else around me had finished dinner (ask Gavin to do his impression of the chef). I was left annoyed and because they couldn’t understand English (convenient), I wasn’t able to kick up a fuss. I asked for money off the bill but they looked puzzled. So, we left the town pretty disgruntled. It might still be a nice place but that stupid restaurant will be the overwhelming memory now.
I think the moral of the various stories I’ve told in this blog is that memories are sometimes best left well alone. Rarely will a place be as good, especially when the last time you visited was as a child. I will definitely go back to Spain but probably not Moraira. Next time, I’ll stop focusing on my time as a kid and create new adult memories (sounds rude). Who’s up for Ibiza?
Bye for now!