Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Me encanta Alicante

Oh, Alicante, how I adore you, through and through!

I must admit, when I got home from Thailand and realized that in one short week I would be on another plane, to another foreign place, without time to readjust to normal day-to-day life, I was a bit apprehensive. There were moments I regretted trying to fit so many trips into such a short amount of time.
BUT, I do enjoy travelling no matter what (although I may have managed to marry somebody who loves travel even more than I do!), and I definitely appreciated that my sweet husband had planned us a special Valentine's Day weekend in Spain. How can somebody truly complain about going to Spain for a weekend? And what world do I live in where a normal work conversation begins with, "hey, have you guys been to Spain yet? I leave tomorrow and I haven't even packed..." We are lucky indeed!

By the day we left, I was ready for another adventure; I was just hoping there wouldn't actually be much adventuring so we could relax! The trip there was super easy, which was a huge plus. All we did was park our car at our local Bad Windsheim Bahnhof, take an hour train ride to Nurnberg, then hop on the U-bahn over to the airport, and voila! We were soon on a two hour flight to Alicante, with cute baby twinsies in the seat next to me to keep me entertained (I don't mean that sarcastically, which is shocking if you know me well!)

I have to add that Cody and I hadn't booked a place to stay in Alicante until we got back from Thailand. I had searched and searched before we left for somewhere affordable, yet nice, and hadn't had much luck. I was so sick of hotels by the time we got home that I told Cody it was up to him to book us a place, but I definitely wanted to stay somewhere on the nicer side (no hostels allowed this time around). When he booked a place, he told me I would love it, and that he found somewhere super nice, but that I wasn't allowed to check it out. That was fine with me!
By the time we were nearing our destination, I started to want to know what kind of accommodations I could expect. Cody wouldn't say too much, except he wasn't sure how nice it would be. I started to get concerned that my relaxing weekend would have to be spent mostly out of the room. He said he didn't know what to expect, but that it was only 60 euro a night, so it was a good deal. I put on a happy face, but deep down, I started to lower my expectations to somewhere merely clean and safe...

Imagine my surprise when we were dropped off at a huge, lovely hotel in between the pier and the beach! He kept up his game all the way until we finished checking-in, saying that we were probably staying in an off-shoot of this hotel or in the basement, maybe (is it sad that I'm so gullible, I actually believed him!). As I watched him sign-off on the paperwork, I was about to interject and ask him why he was paying so much more than he had agreed to, when the receptionist began explaining our special spa privileges and our ocean-view, top-floor, suite!
Cody had tricked me, once again! But it was a very welcome and appreciated surprise:)
(I wouldn't have thought he could top Valentine's Day in the Dominican Republic from last year, but he managed it!)

The weekend couldn't have been more beautiful. We spent the rest of that first day grabbing lunch next to the beach, walking around town stopping for drinks and coffee, then going up to the room to get ready for dinner. We ate at a charming, authentic restaurant on the second-story, beneath exposed beams and with a guitarist serenading people outside our window. I had my first authentic paella and fell even more in love with this small, beautiful city.

We woke up to the sound of the ocean the next morning and wandered downstairs for an amazing breakfast full of pastries, cappuccino, fresh-squeezed juices, meats and cheeses, eggs and sausage... basically any kind of breakfast you could want for was available. I could have sat and enjoyed breakfast all day!

Then down to the beach, where we were the only people present for at least an hour- and we were obviously tourists as the residents of Alicante all had on pants, sweaters, and scarfs as we laid in our bathing suits. After a quick trip to a local store to grab some beach essentials (about 20 euro for two beach mats, a beach bag, mixers for alcohol, a game of beach-ball, snacks, and sunscreen), we spent all day happily on the beach. I normally can only be out on the beach for a few hours before becoming exhausted, but I never felt that way because of the perfect cool air, warm sun, and light breeze. We also got pretty awesome at beach-ball and managed to get some sun without burning. Eventually, we went back upstairs to relax and shower, and then meet back up with our travel companions for another dinner out. This time, I had researched a place with traditional tapas; .90euro per tapa and .60euro for small beers, and waiters who walk around with trays of food so you can grab whatever looks tasty! We got there just before the rush, settled into a table, and managed to pile our table up with drinks and tapas galore! After an hour of drinking and feasting, the five of us only had a 60 euro bill, and we couldn't have been more satisfied with all the food and service!

The next day went in just about the same fashion, except Cody and I took a trip up to visit the castle and take in some amazing views. We even ate dinner at the same restaurant (can you blame us?!). We attempted to go out for drinks, but considering Alicante doesn't even start partying until 2 am, we were way out of our league. The next morning we got up and sadly left our wonderful suite and friendly, beautiful city.

Alicante was the most refreshing, fun, and relaxing getaway I have had in such a long time, that I could easily imagine travelling there every weekend, happily.

I can't wait until we get to go back!

And although I shared this with you (I debated keeping it all to myself!), I beg you to keep this city a wonderful and quiet secret gem filled with clean streets and amazing people....

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