Els Molins

One of the things I love about being in an unfamiliar place – any unfamiliar place, not just the ones on other continents – is never knowing what surprise lies around the next bend. That said, we rarely set off on our daily adventures without a specific destination in mind. It’s just too easy to get sidetracked, otherwise. We do, however, remain open to exploring unexpected options along the way if something piques our interest. Exactly that happened today.

Since we’ve been here in Javea, I’ve been curious about the lighthouse across the bay from our house. It’s pulsing beacon has served not as a warning but, instead, as an invitation to visit. So, this morning, we set off to see what Cap de Sant Antoni was all about. The map showed an access road extending all the way out onto the point. I just hoped that it would be a proper road and not a “sidewalk street”, or more likely in this instance, a 2-way, half-lane, stretch of dirt.

We stopped en route, first at the French bakery for baguette sandwiches, then at the British market for crisps. So worldly, this town! The French bakery even comes with a woman who will snarl at you when she makes a mistake. Very Parisienne! Then, we motored on up to the park.

About halfway down the final stretch, we passed a tourism sign next to a monastery pointing to “els molins”. What on earth? If I had given my French speaking brain some exercise, I might’ve thought of les moulins…as in, the ones that are rouge. Alas, Google translate beat me to the punch. Windmills? Here? But, we aren’t in La Mancha! Additional research over lunch revealed that there were, indeed, some 15th Century windmills in various states of repair (disrepair?) just down the road! We had to check them out. But first, lunch.

Perched on a bench high above the Mediterranean and overlooking Javea from “the other side”, I tried in earnest to pick out our house from the reverse view. The terracotta roofs were simply too plentiful for success. Temperatures have been mild, but the sun was hot today and the glare was strong. I squinted down at the coastline below watching for sea life as we devoured our sandwiches. Later, a park sign would show us the various fish and squid living life below us, but we could see nothing from that distance.

There are several lookout points from the Cap de Sant Antoni park; we hit them all – me carefully navigating the rocky bluffs and RF balancing on retaining walls. A haze settled into Javea a few days ago, so the views were still a bit murky and the water not as vibrantly turquoise as it often is, but it felt good to be out in the warmth of the day.

After exhausting the many tiny paths, we retraced the road in search of windmills. Wouldn’t you know it, we ended up on a 2-way, half-lane, stretch of dirt.

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OK, fine…it was paved. And, there were turnouts. I was still convinced we’d need to back down a good length of the road to accommodate oncoming traffic. RF reminded me that it’s winter, and he was right. We had no trouble locating the molins.

Official signage gave the sense of a public park; however, curtains and lawn furniture told a different story. We didn’t spot any residents, but it certainly seemed as though some of them had been renovated and were occupado. Others looked their age. Bricks crumbled, plants rooted in the mortar, the tops were open to the skies. Only one had sails, wooden in the original tradition. Another had a modern turbine-style mill on top that kicked into gear while I sat waiting for RF to complete a photo expedition.

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A surreal contrast, sitting on centuries old stone overlooking a mix of antique and modern buildings in the town below while a little windmill whirred away overhead. These are the impossible-to-predict moments that you can’t risk missing due to planning. Sometimes, you have to give way to the wind!

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