A few weeks ago our friends in Mascarat suggested one of their favourite activities, trekking. On this occasion the association chose the district around Villena as it has a number of interesting routes, some of which follow the tracks of the former railway line that carried the train known as Chicharra (the cricket – the insect, not the game!), so you can imagine,the kind of noise it must have made.
The chosen route was El Sendero de la Villa, 12 km starting from the foot of the castle in Villena and passing through the wonderful countryside of the Morron mountains, the Umbria de la Celada overlook and the Beneixama valley.
A pleasant four hours later, to finish a day’s trekking, nothing better than a tasty fideua (a close cousin of paella made with fine pasta instead of rice). Other typical Villena dishes include the fantastic potato studded paella of white beans and cod, gachamigas (flour tortilla), and Villena gazpacho, a seriously hearty dish (nothing like the refreshingly cold tomato-based gazpacho of Andalucía) reflecting the influence of nearby La Mancha. We’ll definitely be trying them when we go back next time!