viernes, 8 de mayo de 2015

Elche Outlet Route: Buying footwear.

The Outlet Route in Elche Business Park  (Elche Parque Industrial), is located between Elche and Alicante, just seven kilometres from the first city. It is made up of 29 companies of top brands from different sectors, mainly footwear.

Mustang outlet store
Mustang Outlet

The city of Elche produces 50% of the footwear manufactured in Spain and is a leading exporter across Europe. The origins go back to the late nineteenth century, when a still predominantly agricultural community began to produce shoes using vegetable fibers, as jute or hemp.

The regular opening hours of the shops are from 10.00 to 14.00 and from 16.00 to 20.00 Monday to Friday, and Saturdays from 10.00 to 14.00. At certain times of year, some establishments don't close at midday. There are maps in all the stores showing the locations of the different outlets, and in

Don't miss this opportunity to tour the outlet stores of Spain's most prestigious shoe manufacturers, with different qualities and prices, and the opportunity of discount prices and bargains.

I would advise you not to attempt to negotiate the business park on foot. It is a big estate and you will get very tired if you try to hike around it. Keep your energy for the shopping experience.

Tempe outlet
Tempe Outlet

The Tempe Outlet store sell footwear and accessories from previous seasons from the Inditex trademarks (Zara, Pull and Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarius, Oysho, Zara Home and Uterqüe).

To choose the shops that you would like to visit, here you have links of some of the available brands:

(Not very much discounts, but I like this shoes a lot)

Panama Jack Outlet
Panama Jack Outlet

(Pikolinos also has a small footwear museum, open from 11.00-12.00 and 17.00-18.00h)

The beginning: making espadrilles
The beginning: making espadrilles.
Pikolinos & Martinelli Outlet
Pikolinos & Martinelli Outlet

Guioseppo headquarter and outlet
Guioseppo headquarter and outlet

(One of the more visited shops)

Mustang headquarter and outlet
Mustang headquarter and outlet

sábado, 14 de febrero de 2015



The almond tree is one of the first trees to flower all over the world. Here in Elche countryside, just next to the Mediterranean coast, it happens in winter. In the months of January and February magic falls over the landscape. At this time, almond trees are dressed in an elegant coat of colorful blossoms, while the winter are still alive. 

Every year in these days, when hues of white and pale pink flood the scenery, it´s very nice to have a walk in the countryside, enjoying this burst of color.

almond flowers

Almond trees also start to buzz, literally, as bees go to work pollinating trees.

Bees are very busy thanks to almond trees blossom.
Bees are very busy thanks to almond trees blossom.

almond flowers

Spain is the world’s second largest producer of almonds, and most almond trees are found in the Mediterranean region. As one of the most important products cultivated in Spain, it isn’t surprising that the almond is often found in Spanish cuisine. 


lunes, 9 de febrero de 2015


The tomato with "capellán" salad is  a Mediterranean course very typical of this area. The ingredients are tomato, olives, "capellán" flakes, olive oil, and sometimes capers.

When a tourist read it in a bar menú, it isn't easy to guess what "capellán" is. And if you look for in a dictionary, to read that is a kind of priest is not a good help.

The "capellán" is a small cod relative (Micromesistius poutassou, blue whiting in English, and "bacaladilla" in Spanish), when is prepared salted and dryed with the sun. This is one of the oldest methods of preserving fish, very usual here since ancient ages.

Blue whiting or "bacaladilla"
Blue whiting or "bacaladilla"

"Capellanes" in a traditional market
"Capellanes" in a traditional market.

The "Capellan" is ready to eat, but for this traditional local salad it's grilled directly on a flame, and once the skin is toasted, it's flaked by hand (never is cutted with a knife).

As the "capellán" flakes are salty, I always prefer not to add salt to the tomato, combining it with the fish. No doubt it's worth to taste it.

Tomato with "capellán" salad.
Tomato with "capellán" salad.

miércoles, 29 de octubre de 2014


Fossar street 20
The entrance to the La Marmita

"El Raval" is a small and quiet neighbourhood in Elche, next to the city center, full character and history. You can arrive in 4 or 5 minutes walking from the city hall. This district was founded in the 13th century by the muslims, after the christians retook Elche, from the point where a arquebus shot arrived from the city walls. Nowadays their streets mantein the characteristics of the first times, and they are narrow and have irregular layout. To park in El Raval is very difficult, I don't recommend you to try it. It's better to arrive by foot.

 "La marmita", also called " La marmita de vegetapa", an ecologic and vegetarian bar, is in Fossar street number 20. It's a cosy place with few tables, a perfect place for veggies and for healthy food lovers.

La Marmita 1

The meals are vegan (100% vegetarian), and the owners work under the "Slow Food" concept. This is an international movement, alternative to fast food, that strives to preserve traditional and regional cuisine and encourages local farming and  sustainable foods.

In "La marmita" you can find daily menus (9.50 , except 11.50 weekends)with appetizer, ecologic bread, 2 courses, dessert, coffee or infusion. If you don't feel like one dish, you can choose other option. These menus include for example lentils with vegan chorizo, vegetarian lasagne, scallop of mushrooms, pepper with seitan and vegan cream, broccoli croquettes, tomatoes stuffed of quinoa and pesto, or vegetarian paella. At the weekend are available tapas, and also they offer the option of take away.

La Marmita 2


Wednesday, 13.00 to 16.00h.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 13.00 to 16.00h, and 20.00 to 23.00h.
Sunday, 13.00 to 16.00h.


A weekend menu

daily menu
A daily menú

miércoles, 10 de septiembre de 2014


jujube fruits
The jujube tree is cultivated in Asia, but since centuries also in south-east Spain, where is called “jinjol”, “ginjol”, and the cultivation isn’t intensive. It was traditional that next to the farmer´s house there was a jujube tree.
It´s a deciduous tree with thorny branches. The fruit is an edible oval drupe of 1.5-3 cms, when immature it is smooth-green, with the consistency and taste similar to an apple, and when are mature the colour is brown. It has a single hard stone similar to an olive.
In Elche you can find jujube fruits since the end of August to October, and the price at the vegetables&fruit shops are between 2 and 3 Euros (Kg). The taste isn’t spectacular and the pulp is quite dry, but…I like it.
jujube tree
Reading about the jujube fruit, I have seen that it have been used by the Chinese traditional medicine, where they are believed to alleviate many health problems. Even I´ve found articles about its anti-cancer activity:

It sounds very well, but I think it isn´t enough yet. Nevertheless, if you find jujube fruits, is worth to taste it.

jujube fruits

viernes, 11 de julio de 2014


As in all the Mediterranean area, summer weather usually make you want to go to a beach or a pool. Here you can see where to find a pool in or around Elche.

Pools in and around Elche

Elche Municipal pools 
In “Parque Deportivo” (downtown), “Ciudad deportiva”, “Polideportivo de Carrús”, “Polideportivo de Toscar”, “Polideportivo de Toscar”, “Polideportivo del Altet”, y “Polideportivo de Torrellano”.
Adult ticket 3 euros, children 1,9 euros
Free for 0-12 years old.
Timetable: from Tuesday to Friday, 11-19 h.
Saturday, 10-20 h. and Sunday 10-19 h.
(2105 data)

Club de Campo pool: 
Paseo de Ronda, 1, (about 5-10 minutes driving to the city center)
Open from 9.00 to 23h. It´s a quiet place.
Pool prices 2014: 5 euros adult, 3 euros children (tickets in Reception).
Club de Tenis pool: 
Website only in Spanish.
Located about 10-15 minutes driving from downtown.
Pool prices 2014: 2,5 euros for adult and children
From 11 to 21 h. It´s also a quiet place.
Camping El Marjal Costa Blanca pools: (between Crevillent and Catral): 
Pool prices: Monday to Friday, 9 euros adult, 6 euros children
Weekend 12 euros adult, 8 euros children.
Is about 15-20 minutes driving from Elche.
Camping La Marina pools: 
About 20-30 minutes driving from Elche.
Very nice place, with a lot of people in summer.
Pool prices: 18 euros adult, 12 euros children. 

Ciudad Deportiva Pools
Ciudad Deportiva Pools
Camping La Marina Pools
Camping La Marina Pools

jueves, 22 de mayo de 2014


A beautiful palm trees sea
A beautiful palm trees sea

Cultivation of date palms in Elche is known at least since the Iberian times (fifth century B.C.). Towards the tenth century A.C., when much of the Iberian Peninsula was Arab, the “Palmeral” of Elche, a landscape of groves of date palms, was formally laid out, with an elaborate irrigation system which is still functioning. It´s an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000.

The Palmeral of Elche, represent a remarkable example of the transference of a characteristic landscape from one culture and continent to another, from the North Africa to Europe, and has survived to the present day at Elche.

This is the only palm grove of its type anywhere on the European continent. The date palm trees of Elche (about 200.000), can grow to a height of more than 30 m and live for over 300 years.

Image of the Palmeral of Elche, one century ago
Image of the Palmeral of Elche, one century ago.

collecting dates, one century ago
Collecting dates, one century ago
Pruning a palm tree
Pruning a palm tree.

During the last years there is a dangerous threat for the palm trees from Asia and Africa: the red palm weevil, a species of beetle. Their larvae excavate holes in the trunk of palm trees, weakening and even killing them.
The red palm weevil
The red palm weevil.

The Palmeral isn´t a unique place, you can see it inside the city and in the country around the town. The best places to see the Palmeral of Elche are:


Municipality Park (free admission)

Museo del Palmeral (small visitors centr¡er in a traditional house):

Palm Grove Walk

Huerto del cura (with entrance fee)

Partial view of the Palmeral of Elche
Municipality Park - Partial view

viernes, 25 de abril de 2014



        While artichokes (“alcachofas” in Spanish) may not be the easiest food to consume, eating this extraordinary vegetable well worth it, because indeed it has different healthy substances and very few calories, and it can be delicious. Most people’s favorite part of the artichoke is the heart, but the leaves are actually the source of a vast majority of its health benefits.
The artichoke is the immature flower of a thistle family plant and it is known as one of the oldest cultivated vegetables in the world. Artichokes were originated in the Mediterranean, their main farming area. In this part of Southeast of Spain they are very usual, and the best seasons for the artichoke are autumn, winter and spring.

Grilled artichokes ("alcachofas a la plancha")
Grilled artichokes ("alcachofas a la plancha")
They can't be eaten in its raw form, and if you've never eaten an artichoke before, this strange vegetable may present some challenges when you try to prepare it.

However, it´s very easy to find many recipes on the Internet, but if you are on holidays here, maybe it´s a good tip to taste it in a restaurant. I prefer the grilled one "a la plancha", but you can also eat it in omelets, fried, baked, boiled, or filled with ham or dried fruits.

artichokes with ham
Artichokes with ham

artichoke chips
Artichoke chips

Filled artichokes
Filled artichokes

jueves, 6 de marzo de 2014

The Mystery Play of Elche, Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The Mystery Play of Elche is a sacred musical drama of the death, the passage into heaven and the crowning of the Virgin Mary. Since the mid-fifteenth century it has been performed in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Elche. It is a living testimony of European religious theatre of the Middle Ages.
This old theatrical performance, which is entirely sung, comprises two acts, on 14 and 15 August. The texts are in Valencian language and Latin. Ancient aerial machinery is used to enhance the spectacle.

Photo of The Wide World Magazine (1900)
Photo of The Wide World Magazine (1900)

Photo of The Wide World Magazine (1900)
Photo of The Wide World Magazine (1900)
Access to the Basilica, both on the 14th and 15th, is free, with its doors remaining wide open. However, due to the popularity of the play, it is essential to arrive at the church several hours in advance.
On the 11th, 12th and 13th August, open rehearsals take place, when the whole performance is concentrated into a single day, and which may be enjoyed by purchasing a ticket. In addition, in even-numbered years, there are extra ticketed performances on the 29th, 30th October and free access on the 1st November.

More than 300 volunteers take part in the performance each year as actors, singers, stage directors, stagehands, tailors and stewards. This tradition was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (UNESCO).

Ternari song video

UNESCO video

Practical tips:
The Mystery Play of Elche isn´t short, so the whole representation might not be the best option with small children (and for the people that don´t like this kind of  music). But the Mistery Play of Elche is really something extraordinary, and at least, you could take advantage of the open doors on the 14th and 15th August to take a look.

When the representation begins the temperature is still hot, so it´s a good idea to carry a hand fan and a bottlel of water.
And finally it´s highly recommended to get the guide of the representation, to better understand the scenes and songs.

Link to get the guide of the representation.
Photo of The Wide World Magazine (1900)
Photo of The Wide World Magazine (1900)

miércoles, 29 de enero de 2014


When you ask spanish people that live abroad about the things they miss, the first place is mostly for the cured ham. With the Spanish food there is nothing so iconic as the ham, a gourmet food which is generally served in thin slices. If you are on holidays here, you definitely should taste it. But it's better if you read something about it before.

In the Serrano Ham the fat is mainly separated of the muscle fiber, is not dispersed.
In the Serrano Ham the fat is mainly separated of the muscle fiber.
Ham has been elaborated for centuries in Spain, the largest producer in the world. Ranging in price from economical to very expensive, there are various types of cured ham,  the normal or Mountain Ham ("jamón serrano"), and the special or Iberian Ham ("jamón ibérico"). Both of them have differents qualities, that are sold in grocery stores, sausage shops and supermarkets, and sometimes with an Appellation of Origin.

Serrano Ham with toasted bread.

 The mountain or Serrano ham is made from several different breeds of pigs, that are fed mainly with cereals feeds. These hams are cured from 7 to 16 months.

The Iberian ham is made only from the Iberian breed pig (pure or mixed, both are allowed), and the curing process takes about 36 months. There are three types of Iberian Ham, depending of the pig's diet: Free range pigs that roam the holm oak forests, or the pigs are pastured and fed a mixed diet of acorns and grain, or the pigs are fed on grain in farm pigs. The first one is "Jamón Ibérico de Bellota", the finest and the most expensive of all hams.

Tipical image in the Iberian Ham, with fat very mixed with the muscle fiber.

Tipical image in the Iberian Ham, with fat very mixed with the muscle fiber.
So, the pig's diet determine the Iberian Ham quality... and the price, that are between 50 and 150 euros/kg.

And what´s the difference between Serrano and Iberian Ham? Mainly the lipid composition. The Iberian Ham is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, specially with high level of oleic acid (the same that in olive oil), due the feeding with acorn (“bellota”).

Tipical image in the Iberian Ham, with fat very mixed with the muscle fiber.
If you aren´t a little bit expert, it isn´t easy to know in a restaurant if the price of the Iberian Ham is correct with their quality. In this case it's better to choose Serrano Ham. The Iberian is best, but Serrano is also delicious. Maybe the price of the best Iberian Ham seems high, but it's really something special, it´s one of the greatest foods on the Earth. The only way to determine if it's worth is to taste it, buying some slices in a shop.

 And how to eat it? Always not cold, at room temperatura. The Iberian Ham alone, without mixing with other food. The Serrano Ham is best with toasted bread, with a little olive oil or a little natural scratched tomato  (or both), and also in sandwich. Of course with their best companion, a good red wine.

jueves, 21 de noviembre de 2013

Pomegranates time: the best way to peel it.

To taste local food is one of the best ideas we can do when we are on holidays, and in this part of the year, October and November, here it is time to crop pomegranate. Cultivated since ancient times, it is one of the main farming in the south-east of Spain, specially in the area of Elche.

Pomegranate tree

To eat a pomegranate, after it´s opened by scoring it with a knife and breaking it, the seed casings are separated from the peel and internal white pulp membranes. But the most effective way of quickly harvesting the seeds is to cut the pomegranate in half, hold the pomegranate half over a bowl and smack the rind with a large spoon. The red seeds are consumed raw, or are used to get an excellent juice.

         Pomegranates have high levels of antioxidants, with free-radical scavenging properties in laboratory experiments. Despite of that more research data are needed, it is considered a fruit with potential health benefits, for example, in heart disease or in hypertensive patients.
Pomegranate seeds and juice