We’re into our third week in Altea. My wounded ankle has kept us from some things we love to do in this beautiful Costa Blanca village. One is making the formidable hike from our Mediterranean sea-level apartment to the ancient old town atop a steep hill. So yesterday, on a warm humid morning, Mary and I put my healing foot to the test and made the climb. It’s a demanding trek up several long steep flights of stone steps flanked by charming white-washed homes and mazes of old cobblestoned streets. 

Normally, the delights of the old town diminish the climb’s physical tolls. This time, not so much, given the nagging worry that my foot would rebel and its steady healing setback. But I walked slowly and carefully, making sure I didn’t repeat the fall I took in San Sebastian. Happily, we made it to the top without incident, where I posed (and caught my breath) at the arched entrance to the old village that dates back to the Roman era in Spain.

We wandered the narrow shopping streets and paused for a cold beer in the quaint Plaza de la Iglesia. Next to us was the imposing Virgen del Consuelo church, where we watched a parade of beautiful Spaniards dressed to the nines gather for a Saturday afternoon wedding. Church bells pealed and the cafe crowd burst into applause when the bride joined her father for the march down the aisle.

The descent into the modern city center was easier, but my ankle started being a little cranky, reminding me not to overdo it. After resting in our apartment for a few hours, it became apparent that our little adventure had done no harm. Mary and I are optimistic that we’ll be back in full-time explorer mode soon.