Bon Nadal! That’s merry christmas in Valenciano, not a reference to Rafa Nadal. Like Wales the south east coast of Spain has signs in two languages, in this case Spanish and Valenciano. On Christmas eve we drove through Jijona, Xixona in Valenciano, one of many little mountain hamlets terraced into the steep canyons off the Alicante coast. bndrm 016 It was easy to see the tensions over language, some road signs spray painted with “J”s over “X”s, and others visa versa. It was easy to see the tenious living scratched out of the steep terraces for generations, and nearer the coast to see the terraces giving way to tourist homes, many half built and dorment after the 2008 crash.

We passed through another mountain village, La Torre, just as christmas carolers gathered outside the church. bndrm 007 We joined them along with a stray dog and a few drunks bndrm 008 as they proceeded down the main street. Children pasted gold stars on everyone, including the dog and the drunks in the bar. We ended up at the christmas olive tree. bndrm 011 My favorite caroler was a gentlemen playing what sounded like a kettle drum made from a clay jug, played with an old slipper.

Down at the coast the festivities were taking a quite different shape. In Benidorm parties poured out into the streets and plazas of this high rise tourist town. bndrm 022 In Alicante beach santas were playing ultimate frisbie.with the elves, alicante 058 while in the old town a more urbane crowd filled leafy plazas. alicante 042 Even the dogs seemed more urbane. alicante 040 Bone Nadal perros!