“Vuelta a España” Grand Tour cycle race time trial stage to start in Xàbia Port On 9th of September, Xàbia Port will be inundated with international media and spectators when it hosts the start of the last time trial stage of Spain’s answer to the Tour de France, the Vuelta a España. This stage may well decide the winner of the two week race. The route will go from Xàbia to Calpe, and the first few km will pass by the Bahia de Jávea - giving great exposure of the landscape on international TV. Spain beats records for foreign visitors As the world’s third tourism destination after France and the USA, Spain has already beaten records in the number of foreign visitors for three years in a row, and 2016 is expected to follow the same trend. Some 68.1 million foreign travellers visited in 2015, nearly five percent more than the previous year. And apart from the classic urban destinations of Barcelona and Madrid, tourist zones along Spain’s sunny coasts are also doing well, particularly the Canary Islands off northwest Africa and the Balearic islands in the Mediterranean. For full story see: The Local Protests over the Ebro River delta Environmentalists say one of Europe’s most important wetland areas is under threat as Spain and Catalonia argue about the future of the Ebro river. Campaigners say Spanish government plans to restrict water flow could destroy the fragile landscape. Also, they are worried that ultimately these waters could be transferred to other, drier regions of Spain. Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Amposta in Catalonia on Sunday to protest against the plans. For full story see: BBC - Spanish water rights (Ed’s note: 12 years ago there was an ambitious water transfer scheme to bring water from the Ebro down to this area. It was ditched in 2004 on environmental grounds (See: BBC: Spain ditches Ebro river project. The Ebro Hydrological plan can be found on: CHEbro Calpe Flamingos hang around because of the warm winter. Normally the 115 flamingos seen in the Calpe salt marsh migrate from the French Camarge, stop over in Calpe and winter in Garaa Ezzemoul in Algeria. But this year they have decided to stay in Calpe, probably because of the warm temperatures being experienced this winter. The birds have been ringed, and the oldest one is now 17 years old. From: La Marina Plaza San Antonio Lighthouse definitely not going to be a hotel Xabia asks the Ports authority to turn it into a Visitor’s centre - A proposal to turn the San Antonio Lighthouse into a hotel has been turned down for good.