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MEMORIES -
of JAVEA
In June 2004, the Javea Anglo-Spanish Society invited Charlene Quince and Billie Cook to give a talk on Javea as they remembered it in 1970, ans the following years.  Coincidentally, they had lived permanently in Javea for 27 years.
The talks were very well received and new foreign residents to the town, were particularly  inteested to hear about the trials and tribulations of coming to live in Javea in the early days. The two talks have been combined in places for easier web site editing.
WHAT WAS OLD JAVEA REALLY LIKE?
Javea 1970
General Francisco Franco
Forward
For a number of years, thousand of oranges of inferior quality, due to lack of water, were dumped here.
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








































































































































































The empty Montgo - before the building boom
                                     In the ear;y  1970's it was possible to buy 1000sq.                                                   meters of land and with a two bedroomed  villa                                                          the cost was around £ 3.500 .                  
The water for the deposito had to be delivered by tanker. The young man who drove the vehicle was young, handsome and cheeky.

Charlene recounted that the first time he came he brought a bottle of wine, asked if they had any music and proceeded to dance around the terrace with Charlene. Her husband Colin took a dim view of that and they found another water supplier.

Ouite separately, I had included my own remembrances of this Romeo, Word got around not to appear too friendly when he delivered.
But as many of his lady customers were often clad only in a bikini the temptation was obvious.

A tanker of water cost 300pts  a trip. Before we got connected to the main supply 15 yearts later it was 3000 pesetas.
For hundreds of years the Spanish population of this region, had land that they cultivated evenings and weekends. They also built a casita (a small house) to spend the summer months away from the heatof the town. In September, as the temperatures dropped
they would return to their town house or apartment.

Unfortunately, many of the early villas were built in this very basic style, without cavity walls or a damp course and therefore very cold in winter. Also the kitchen sink and work-tops were rather low, due to the smaller stature of the Spanish ladies in those days.

They were built with a water tank (deposito) under the terrace and a attractive mock well, a bucket and rope were available for when the pump broke down - which was often. In the 1980's and 90's when we only had salt water coming out of the taps in the summer, the houses with depositos were the lucky ones.

Dealing with the heavy butano bottles was a new experience and the estufa (butano gas fire) became very important to heat the house in the winter. Many were delighted to have a fireplace, but this required the buying of lots of wood which was not cheap. We were all delighted with our rustico tiled floors, but they were difficult to keep clean and icy cold in winter.
Nobody had central heating or double glazing and many foreigners during their first winter in Javea said 'i've never been so cold'.
Contrasts - the black of the Spanish mourning and the sun seeking tourist.
Windows and roofs often leaked in the torrential downpours. It wasn't unknown for a new house owner to have chosen, what seemed like an idyllic plot, only to find that they had built their house across a dried up river course and the water poured in the back-door and out the front-door as it took it's natural course down the mountain.

If you suffered damage from rain and called in the builder for his advice, he would usually shrug and say - what's the problem?  - The sun is back and it will soon dry out'.

As I have said before the water pump breaking down was a common occurrence.
Along with that the electric supply was somewhat erratic. Even a few spots of rain found us with no electricity and when it
rained heavily this could last for a few days.
More about cars - Almost all the cars were made under license in Spain, giving a choice of Seat (Fiat), Renault and Citroen,
The majority of cars were Seat 600 or a Renault 4. They were notorious for overheating, cracked water tanks and often had to be abandoned in bad weather.
They were reluctant to start after a chilly night.

Foreign registered cars had to be taken out of the country every three months, (even if it was only over into France for a few hours) or you could hide it away in your garage. Stories abounded of the Guardia being informed of such vehicles, giving  ownership of a foreign car a rather furtive, cavalier
air.
Present day Javea
This mock castle was in the Ave Rey Juan Carlos (the long road between the town and the port.

It was a private house and quite a feature in the emerging tourist town.

Unfortunately, one day in 1973 or 74 it was knocked down to build a large block of flats.
Javea was very much three separate entities in those days. Javea town, the Port and the Arenal beach area, with swathes of agricultural land in between.

Getting from one part to another, was not the inter-changing multi-roundabout road system that it is now.

Shopping areas such as Avenida Amanacer (where Bookworld Espana is) did not exist. Unmade, it was a bumpy dirt road. When it reached the Careterra Cabo la Nao, there was a T Junction. To go to the port, you had to go left to the traffic lights. To go to the Arenal and the beaches it was one long straight road, with no turnings left or right.

The wide by-pass road on the south of the town leading to Dia and Lidl also was little more than a inadequate connecting road,

The Guardia Civil had a building in the Ronda Sur (It is now a furniture shop and the BANESTO Bank). This was a forbidding  looking building, It so obviously had cells with bars at the windows. The sense of it being part of Franco's Spain seemed very strong at the time.
This is a charmimg picture taken at Christmas time 1974 in the Port
Photograph taken in 1920 of the harbour, before the mountain side was dynamited, to make way for the road to the Tango Bar and the Club Nautico
The changes in the
Port
The early years of the 1970's saw big changes in the Port. Up until then the river ran straight through the Port (where the Plaza Rey Jaume Primero now features the main shopping area with Mas y Mas, Dicost and Aguado the Photographic Shop.

The recoursing of the Rio Gorgos had just happened. When we first saw it the river-bed had gone and was filled in but was completely unmade. It was only in 1972 when building of the Adumar apartments was underway and the Ice Factory (where the Bank of Valencia now stands) was demolished that the true extent of the
future importance of the Port was established.
The little Javea houses are replaced by five story
blocks of flats.
The photo above shows the Triana Bridge crossing the Rio Gorgos. Note the small building on the left of the bridge.
This photo shows the dry river bed, which was filled in, and the Plaza Rey Juame 1 was created.
The pioneering spirit
The artist Garcia Ramon painting the Triana Bridge and Rio Gorgos in 1915
This is a very interesting photograph of the port in the 80's.  In the centre left is the small building with the arches, that you can see on the picture of the Triana Bridge and the river.
This should help you place the situation,  at the crossing with Mas y Mas and the Florist.
The new residents and tourists
enjoying a coffee and snack in the sunshine at one of the three cafes in the
Plaza Admiral Bastarreche
(by the fountain in the Port,)
are unaware that only a few years ago, traffic could make it's way back towards the Plaza Rey Jaume, right through where the tables are now situated.

Fortunately, the town planning was revised and this popular meeting place was created.

The fountain we have now is an exact replica of the original fountain depicted in the Port photographs of the 1900's.

When a new fountain replaced the original the Spanish people living in the Port were not pleased.

So when the area was redesigned with a replacement of the old fountain it was received with great enthusiasm.

Typical 'doorstep shop'
This is the original Port Church. Replaced in 1962 and in 1967 it was consecrated and dedicated to the Virgin de Loreto and to her son, their patron Cristo del Mar.

The new church is very beautiful and inside the ceiling was built to resemble the hull of a fishing boat as seen from underneath.

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