After Barcelona, Mel and I went to Alicante, a small beach town in the south of Spain about four hours away.
It’s always nice to get out of cities once in awhile. I had heard about Alicante from a former co-worker and was excited to see a part of Spain a little off the beaten track. I feel like when you’re just in the major cities in each country, you don’t get to really feel the culture. You end up doing mostly just touristy stuff instead of meeting people and exploring life.
We ended up booking our hostel the night before we got to Alicante. I’m not sure Chelsea and I have ever done this before! It’s sort of fun not having any real plan and just going with the flow, heading to places that sound cool and seeing what happens.
I love being in Spain. Since I took a few years of Spanish in school, I am sort of able to understand people. I find being around people who are speaking it and having to try to use it with people who don’t speak English, I surprisingly remember a lot more words than I realized. Mel doesn’t know any so I have been trying to teach her a few words here and there and even telling her to say stuff to people I know she shouldn’t! I’m so mean.
Our first day in Alicante, we laid on the beach. It was unbelievably packed. I’d say there were a few thousand people on it. The water was also kind of dirty compared to the Sea in Croatia and Greece. But it was an incredibly hot day so it was nice to dip in the water.
The staff at our hostel were great. The owner was from Miami and gave us some recommendations of what to do and where to go. We headed for the old town area for dinner.
While in Spain, I had to try paella. Chels and I had tried it in Barcelona but didn’t really like it so I wanted to give it a second chance. This time was even worse! Mel and I split a chicken paella. It was unbearably salty and smoky. It felt like I was licking a grill. We tried to eat as much as we could but when we ran out of sangria to wash it down with, we gave up.
The staff was very distraught that we didn’t like the paella. One man asked us in broken English if it was good and we said it was fine. Then another waiter came out and asked us if it was bad. Then the first guy came back again and asked us if we were sure it was ok and apologized that we didn’t finish it. We’re not from Spain people! We are sorry that paella wasn’t our favorite. The sangria was spot on though!
The next day we woke up really early to climb the Castle of Santa Barbara. We were told it is a tough hike and to do it in the morning before it got hot. I punched it into my Google Maps and we started walking toward it. We stopped to collect some bread, waters and cheese to go with an avocado Mackayla had given us.
As we approached the castle, we could not figure out for the life of us how to get up to the top. We started walking up some pretty steep roads but kept hitting dead ends. Finally, we gave up, found a flat area the furthest to the top we could reach and stopped to enjoy our breakfast.
We later found out that the way to enter the castle is from the beach, not from the back like we did. So unfortunately we never got to the top but the views were still great so we decided it was fine. There’s also a tram that takes you to the top but we missed that, too!
After our hike (if you can call it that), we went back to the hostel to get our tablets and headed for the beach to find a cafe where we could do some blogging. Mel is keeping a blog of her travels as well. You can check it out here!
We walked down San Francisco Street which had these really funny fake mushroom statues on it. I have absolutely no idea why they are there. Who wakes up one day and thinks, “Hmm…we should put some really creepy mushroom statues on this street.”
We found a cafe along the beach and sat there for four hours! After our busy three days in Barcelona and with the unbearable heat, it was sort of nice to sit back and just people watch for once. We had a few coffees and some frozen yogurt before we finally decided we had over stayed our welcome.
There was a large number of homeless beggars in Alicante which I was a little surprised by. I am used to seeing these in big cities but I haven’t really seen them in smaller towns. One man grabbed my arm from behind while I was sitting at the cafe and really scared me. The waiter shooed him away and they got into a pretty headed confrontation.
That night we went up to the roof of our hostel to join in some drinking games with fellow hostel dwellers. X Hostel had a really great vibe where everyone seemed to go out together. The staff (who happened to be mostly Aussies!) all recommended places to go and even took us out with them and helped us get discounted drinks.
The next morning we were off to Granada! We only have about two weeks to do as much of Spain as possible so unfortunately we only have enough time to do two days in each place. But Alicante was a great, small place to chill out after a few non-stop days in Barcelona. People who live in Alicante really seem to love it so hopefully one day I can go back for longer and really experience the city that everyone can’t seem to leave.