Since we only had one full day in Alicante, we had to get in everything we wanted to do in that one day. We definitely knew we needed to hit the beach and climb up to the Castillo de Santa Bárbara. It was hot in Alicante, it was probably the hottest place we were in and, of course, that meant sleep was minimal but we survived and we made the most of our day.
We started early and spent a few hours on the beautiful beach soaking up the sun and playing in the waves, which I was so thankful for since there are no waves in the Italian sea. Around lunchtime we opted to head up the boardwalk for a meal and settled on an Irish Pub for their abundant umbrellas and comfy chairs. After a bocadilla and two bottles of water, we were set to face the challenge and climb to the castle.
The walking path to the castle is not at all easy to get up, and I’m not just talking about the grade in the incline. The first portion of the path consists of streets, stairways and “paths” that weave right through the backyards of the Alicante-ans. I, of course, was the unstated leader, probably because I was the one brave enough to make a decision about where to walk! After almost getting eaten by a dog who, after running away like a little girl, I realized was the size of a large bunny we then walked back and forth through a straight-up backyard. Finally we found the actual path to the castle and started the uphill hike.
The heat of the midday sun was almost unbearable and we had drained our water bottles long before. We had to stop a few times which turned our for the better because there was always a good photo-op. All we could see was the strikingly blue sea below. When we finally reached the top we spent some time seeing the old canons and walls of the castle but more than anything we just sat and took in the view, seeing Alicante from all sides.
Later that day…
As we sat outside in the common room of the hostel, we started chatting with Miguel in our best attempts at Spanish which mixed haphazardly with Italian and we got some top recommendations for places to get local cuisine. After playing for a while with the adorable puppy that calls the Pensione Versialles home, we cleaned ourselves up and headed out on the town! What a night we had, I am never ceased to be amazed at how fast a language barrier can fade away when everyone just relaxes a little. We had the biggest panful of Paella I have ever seen in my life and we joked with our chatty waiter, who throughout the night used about four different languages as a means of communication. Our meal was accompanied by copious amounts of Sangria and white wine and after about three hours we decided it was time to move on. We bar-hopped through Alicante, popping into any bars that caught our eyes (or that were offering free drinks!), we danced a bit and we drank a bit more before calling it a night.
Not long after our return back to the quiet little hostel the infamous nose incident took place…