We’re back after a short break! We spent the last week of November resting with friends in Valencia, but this did not prevent us from visiting Alicante and Castellon de la Plana, cities located south and north of the capital of the region, namely Valencia.
We start from Alicante, the second largest city in the Valencia Community, located about 180 km south of its capital. The history of Alicante goes back 7,000 years, but only about 3,000 years ago these areas were in the orbit of interest of the then naval powers – Phoenicians and Greeks. Later, Cartagina and Rome claimed rights to these areas, and in the Middle Ages, like the rest of the Iberian Peninsula, the region came under Arab rule.
To this day, we can observe traces of the presence of Muslims in this region, even in the form of the most important monument of Alicante, Castell de la Santa Barbara, whose buildings are dated to the ninth century.
But let’s return to the present. To the south of Alicante we managed to find a place to stop for a few days. We had a great view of the city from it.
Golf also seems happy with such a turn of events.
We’re going to Alicante. The city is today a large port and tourist center. Along the yacht bay and the main beach of the city, Platja del Postiguet, there is a palm-lined promenade, Passeig Esplanada d’Espanya.
On the other side of the promenade is Barrio da Cruz, the medieval center of the city, which has not survived to this day and the old buildings are interwoven with a more modern one. One of the modern buildings is the 33-storey Tryp Gran Sol, overlooking the city.
In the marina, under the palm trees, boats and yachts rest in winter.
On the other side of the bay are hotels, casinos and discos. It is a typically entertaining part of the city, which at this time of the year is rather quiet and peaceful.
We look from this place to the north and we can see the previously mentioned Castell de la Santa Barbara on the Benacantil hill (220m above sea level). The hill with the Tryp Gran Sol hotel are the two main dominants in the Alicante skyline and are particularly well visible from the sea.
From the coastal part, we enter the city center. We are already in Barrio da Cruz.
On the way, we pass the medieval Basilica de Santa Maria d’Alacant.
On one of the streets, pedestrian street turned into a pedestal, toadstools grew.
From Barrio da Cruz we go a little higher towards Castell de la Santa Barbara, to the Santa Cruz Chapel located on one of the towers overlooking the city. The road up the hill leads between beautiful houses decorated with ceramics and surrounded by lush vegetation. Every possible place is occupied under flower pots.
After a short climb, we reach the summit, a small whitewashed chapel. From the elevation we can see in all its glory Castell de la Santa Barbara, the main monument of Alicante.
Looking to the right, we can observe the panorama of Alicante that extends from there.
We are going back to the coast towards Platja del Postiguet. On one side there are high blocks, from which you can see the blue toot of the Mediterranean.
While looking the other way, we see the main city beach lit up by the rays of the warm December sun.
There are not many who want to bathe. For walks on the contrary. However, the majority of walking on the sand prefer walking along the comfortable promenade next door.
On the other side of the promenade there is an uninterrupted line of cafes and restaurants with tables exposed to the street. Probably in the high season it is difficult to find at least one free space here.
We say goodbye to Alicante. Finally, once again Castell de la Santa Barbara. This time, illuminated by the light of the city lanterns.
Before we reached Alicante, two weeks earlier we visited Castellon de la Plana, located east of Valencia. It is medium-sized, approximately 170,000 inhabitants, a city in the northern part of the Valencia region. It is divided into two parts – Castellon located a bit inland, and coastal El Grao de Castellon with a harbor, sandy beaches and accompanying leisure and recreation infrastructure.
Castellon de la Plana itself is not unique. Just a typical Spanish city. There will always be something that attracts attention and is unusual for a visitor from distant parts.
You can move around the city, among others trolleybuses, which have designated separate lanes between roadways on the main roads in the city (as in Poland trams). Interestingly, trolleybuses also enter the narrow streets of the city center thanks to an additional electric motor.
We reach the main square in Castellon de la Plana. It houses the cathedral, the town hall, the market hall and the tourist information office.
We are looking at the cathedral …
… and the town hall.
On the way we pass one of the typical Spanish regional shops. You can buy traditional jamones, dried pork legs (whole). In most restaurants, shops and supermarkets at the meat stands, the characteristic smell of this Spanish ham rises.
At the end, what’s best in Spain – oranges. The harvest of citrus on the Iberian Peninsula begins at this time of the year. Those that grow on many streets in cities are unlikely to eat (they are hard and sour), but you just have to go out of the city, so you can easily try fresh mandarins or oranges.
At this we finish our today’s report. Tomorrow we are moving further south, towards the Community of Murcia, which in turn borders on the south with Andalusia, the warmest region of Spain, where we will be at the beginning of 2018.