By the 1970's Javea had already become a town, but it was usually referred to as a village. The old town was much as it is today, but the Port centered around the harbour and the fishing boats. Dynamite was used to blown out a large section of the Montgo by the harbour to accommodate the new Club Nautico. From the Port a dirt road along the Mediterranean led you to the newly built Parador. Houses on this long stretch of sea front, were built in the traditional Valencian architecture, mostly very beautiful and nearly all owned by Spaniards living in Valencia, Alicante or Madrid Often they were only lived in for a few months each summer. The Arenal beach was created with imported sand, between the sea and the marsh land.
Franco was still in power when we arrived. Things were pretty basic, but in many ways benefited from being unsophisticated. Castillian was the language spoken in the street and we didn't even know about Valenciano. All the locally born Spaniards spoke Valenciano in their own homes, but when Franco decreed it should not be spoken - it wasn't spoken. Xabia - was unknown
We didn't have traffic lights, roundabouts, one way systems, large supermarkets and no pedestrian precincts. The shops were mainly in the old town. They were often fairly small and sometimes just an open door with things displayed on a bench or doorstep immediately inside the house. Very few had a shop window.
On entering a shop, invariably filled with a number of Javea residents, all talk would stop. The shop keeper would then look over everyone's head and ask what he or she could get you. Everyone looked on with interest as you got your purchases. This made shopping quick and easy, but did make you feel 'a bit of a foreigner'.
Out-side the town there were vast groves of beautiful orange, almond and olive trees. Unfortunately, in the early 1980's, the Valencian region had insufficient rain to grow succulent oranges. This led to a crop of juiceless oranges and the export trade suffered. Anyone who lived here at that time, witnessed the deterioration in the country side, and as a result of this, much of the agricultural land was sold off for the construction of villas. What water we had was invariably salty.
This brought about more changes, but this time it was the citizens of the town who were finding that the profits from selling off land, that had been in the family for generations, bought them a car. Something we all noticed as the years went by, was how at one time all the builders would turn up on bicycles or scooters. In later years everyone arrived in cars.
According to Charlene, the first car in Javea
was a green Seat, owned by Juan Tena and Pepe Rivera
had the first wrist watch. Such treasured acquisitions,
that they are still remembered. More about cars below