Beautiful Costa Blanca is not only home to tourist resorts, but dotted with small villages where cobblestoned streets lead through charming whitewashed old towns:
Just after the summer heat recedes pelota, a centennial sport, fills them with life. I have been chasing some of the matches and finally got to understand a bit more about it: two teams, the pitch a street and all architectural features take part in the game, the ball bouncing from facades, window sills and landing on roofs. A ball that sure hurts when a soft-handed photographer dares giving it a try, here is what true experts do to withstand two hours of hitting a stone hard leather ball:
Action ensues and the first hard serves have the ball swishing up and down the street. Jesús lets me stand on his balcony, so I get some nice high angle shots:
A small crowd gathers to watch the local team play the neighboring village, cheering their lads and puffing on cigars. Some even bring their own chair:
No fancy devices here, no electronics, no game stats but a traditional scoreboard with someone in charge of the updates:
A fun afternoon where old and young team up to preserve a traditional sport that will hopefully stay alive for generations to come. One of the players introduced me to Angel, a retired factory worker who handcrafts traditional leather balls, as we will see in part 2.
Photos of pelota matches and the artisan can be foun HERE.