Upcycle in Southern Alicante

Something old and something new in la Vega Baja

Upcycle in South Alicante is the theme of my coming texts.

The world Upcycling is a relatively new. It means that you take something considered being waste (usually an object) and transform it into something new. By doing this , you add value. The new product has a higher value, per see, as the origin was considered waste or out of use.

I guess that the much of this text will be my intent to make “creative reuse” and definition of the word Upcycling! It is in a way my own attempt to make sense of what travelling really is all about. Today we all want a break for the fast-moving word we live in. Perhaps travelling allows us to dig into the past. It also allows us to open our senses to what is around us.

My aim is to inspire you to learn more about the upcycling efforts in Alicante. The ones that are based on tradition and the ones that are based on human ingenuity. This text is the first in a series for my Villa Balea blog but also for my other Swedish project Go Nature Market.

What is upcycling

Upcycling is a process, a way of organising and using your creativity to reuse and at the same time reduce the amount of waste that we create in our societies. The questions lingers around how to make use of available resources and waste materials or produce. In addition, the intangibles such human knowledge and wisdom are ,every day, at risk of being lost for a long time.The higher value in recycling process might be measured in economic value but also in social value (to the local community). Another important aspect is the emotional value (increase in your wellbeing perhaps through creating or recreating lasting memories).

Upcycle in South Alicante, something Lost and gained

In all development you will loose and gain important values. The building boom over the last 40 years have affected the region considerably. It created jobs and instead of loosing population the village have had an influx of new inhabitants. However, the landscape has changed, agricultural land has disappeared as it more lucrative to work in the building or service industry.

Having said that, without this boom I would probably not have a Villa in Ciudad Quesada. My parents, Agnes and Bertil, were among many Swedes that wanted a home in the sun and found it . The first bought a semi-attached house in Ciudad Quesada and when they retired and moved to Spain they bought Villa Balea.

Aligning with the locals and sustainable holidays

I am now the owner of Villa Balea after the passing of my parents. I must admit that there are other parts of Spain that I would like to visit and explore.

Nevertheless, the more I go to La Vega Baja, the more I like it. Firstly, it is a region influenced by the water of the River Segura . Secondly, foreign visitors and settlers came to the region over many centuries. Finally, there are also increasing efforts to perserve the environment as well as the heritage.

The Spaniards are very good with keeping their traditions alive. You can easily join the village “fiesta” or celebration. More interesting, in my view, is the efforts to restore old crops and exibit the old way of living by setting up ethnographic tours or bring back old techniques for water storage. Aljibes are water-storage wells built by Arabs during the Middle Ages. Now it is brought back to make better use of water in parts of Alicante.

Villa Balea, more than a holiday home

Villa Balea is for sure a holiday house for me and my family. I also rent out the villa to holidaymakers. However, it is also a place that I feel more and more attached to. Every time I go I want to learn more about the local community, places to visit and sites to explore.

A this moment I sit infront om my computer on a cold winter day in Sweden thinking of my next trip to Villa Balea in 4 weeks time. My aim is to discover any upcycling intiatives in la Vega Baja ( with my broad sense of definition of the word).

With this blog I want to explore what is happening in the region. At the same time, I want to inspire you to find out more about the region. I believe this will make your stay at Villa Balea special, hopefully unique.

As more and more people demand upcycling experiences and more sustainable holiday, creative entrepreneurs will create new offers. As visitors we are important push factor. Look to book experiences that strengthen the local culture. Live environmentally friendly and don’t forget that sometimes the simplest dish can be the most tasty.

Upcycling of Agriculture and “la Huerta”

Spain and la Vega Baja in Alicante is an easy choice for people that enjoy fresh produce being from the Bread gardens or the Mediterranean 

It is a flat land so it great for cycling for most of us that like to like to excerise on our holiday without to much hustle. The perfect combination is to make daily excursion and combine exploring the region with a bit of excersise.

La Huerta ( the cultivated land and its produce)

The traditionally agricultural sector has due to the climate change, lack of water, the huge economic transformation that took place of the last 40 years, increasing production costs and low market prices for fruits and vegetable a  great challenges ahead. The property boom has pushed  the agriculture sector into the background and has been replaced by the service sector, followed by industry. Aricultural production in the region is of high quality and in many cases still competitive.
The region is irrigated thanks to the long-standing contribution of the River Segura. Over the last 10 years or so the municipalities around the river have tried to upcycle the life around the river. If you walk along the river you sometimes have the feeling that it culd be better preserved. But with more attention the river and the river bank will most probably be better preserved and protected 

Create value around the river and agriculture  

Spain and la Vega Baja in Alicante is an easy choice for people that enjoy fresh produce being from the many cultivations or the produce from the Mediterranean sea.

It is a flat land so it great for cycling from one village to another. There are many smaller countryside roads to avoid the traffic. There are also more and more bike lanes. In addition, you can reach far just by going along the River Segura. Great paths for hiking and cycling

The perfect combination is to make daily excursion and combine exploring the region with a bit of excersise

The Artichoke and other gems

The artichoke

The towns of Almoradi , Dolores and Daya Vieja have a long a proud tradition of artichokes.

The artichoke is a Mediterranean winter vegetable (cold season). The climate in the south of Alicante is perfect in wintertime with daytime temperatures of 24ºC and night temperatures of 13ºC. This is the perfect condition for this vegatable The harvests take place from November to May. So if you like me, like to go to Alicante in the winter and early spring, you are in for a real artichoke treat.

There are different varieties or artichokes. The producers sell purple varieties sold on the international market while the rest of the production goes to the national market and the industry where the can artichoke hearts. .

Upcycling of the artichoke

In the village with the biggest production of artichokes they arrange “fiestas”, public meetings and workshop around the vegetable. They also employ well known Spanish chefs to come up with new recipes. For example for Christmas they are sending out a message to families finding it hard to buy the normal Christmas food basked due to inflation and high prices. The message says that they can make better use of this delicious seasonal produce. They inspire the readers to use the artichoke in new and varied ways. For example, as a starter, a tapa or in a casserole. In addition, you can use it to decorate a plate or the base for a delicious soup (you can make use the leaves and stalk that you would usually throw away).

Other food gems

In Elche you find the pomegranate “Mollar de Elche” as well as the dates. The town shows pride in these fruits and organise many activities around them. Enjoy a outing in Elche and go to one of the many excellent local restaurants. You will for sure eat an delicious lunch and many of the dishes would include these fruits.