Visiting a very popular tourist destination can come as a bit of a culture shock for someone living in the heart of rural Andalucia. Someone like myself who, should I choose to go out for lunch, has only the choice of wholesome Spanish food.
When I visit the more popular stretches of coastline in Spain I have to adjust. All around me will be signs offering a wide range of cuisines.
You want a Pizza? You've go it. Fancy a curry? No problem. Want to turn back the years and eat a cornish pasty? It's yours.
It is a form of culinary overload I find hard to accept. I have been to Spanish resorts where the only thing missing was... Spanish food!
But, I am pleased to report, all things are possible in Denia.
It is one of my favourite locations on the Costa Blanca. A short hop via the tram from the more brash Benidorm, and yet light years away in terms of appearance and feel. How on earth has the place managed to keep its own identity despite all the development that has gone on along this coastline since the nineteen seventies?
I have no idea. But Denia is still charming and a little rustic. I like wandering the backstreets of this colourful city. Getting in and among the avenues and alleyways that are a few rows back from the sea.
True, when I was there, some houses were crying out for a lick of paint, but that is such a better look than the chocolate box appearance of some other well known destinations along other coastlines in Spain.
Denia is not big. It is not brash. It is beguiling.
If a place can be summed up by the shops it has to offer the holidaymaker, then Denia is like the shop Ale Hop which you’ll find just a street or two back from the seafront, in Carrer del Marqúes de Campo.
Like that store, Denia is quirky in the nicest possible way.
It is also ideally located midway between the city of Alicante, of which I am a big fan, and the third biggest city in Spain, Valencia.
I didn’t know there was so much to the area. Yes, top class international restaurants making sure the tastes of all nationalities are catered for – and in fine style. But I found the opportunity to go horse riding through the Jalon Valley to be a tempting one. And this is truly a beautiful area to see at a leisurely place.
Of course it is the sea that has brought so much industry to Denia for many centuries. The fishing industry is alive, if not as well or busy as it was in times past. Local fishermen still land their daily catch which can be bought at stalls within hours of the fish acquiring their land legs.
I don’t know why anyone would want to sail away from Denia, but you can if you so wish. There are regular sailings to Ibiza and other Balearic Islands.
If you want to stay on land and see more of the pretty countryside that is set back from the Costa Blanca, take the so called Limón Express train journey which is a daily working railway line and not a seasonal line just for tourists.
Yes, big changes have come along the more northern stretches of the Costa Blanca in recent decades. But what first attracted the foreign visitor is still very much evident.
Denia has always been delightful. And that is one thing that will never change.