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Alicante

17 May

FINALLY sand, sun and bikinis! Laura and I had wanted to spend most of our vacation on the beach and while it was just a little too windy and cold in Valencia and not possible in Florence, we got a full day on the beach in Alicante! It was just like summer and convinced me that I should probably live by the beach one day.

Yay!

 Chillin’ on the beach was the perfect way to end a week of traveling, especially considering our nearly empty wallets! (The beach is free, as well as the lounge chairs and umbrellas on it.) The town itself had ruins of a castle perched on a cliff above the city and a few cute shops and cafes in the old center, but not too much else. If you’re just looking for a weekend to have fun and relax on a beautiful beach, Alicante is a great choice.

View of the Mediterranean Sea from the top of the castle.

 We couch surfed in Alicante, as we did in Valencia, and had a great host (Thanks, Roberto!). His place was across the street from the water and he was extremely hospitable. (Coffee on the terrace looking at the water after waking up at noon? Yes please!) We had good experiences everywhere we surfed, so I definitely recommend it for anyone else with a nearly empty wallet, haha.

Apparently there is a huge party in Alicante in June for a week straight, if anyone is interested… 🙂

XO

Valencia

30 Apr

Okay, so the entire east coast of Spain is totally different from the middle and southern half of the country. I mentioned that in my Barcelona post and it’s definitely true after visiting Valencia and Alicante during Semana Santa (aka Easter Break). Valencia was Laura and I’s first stop…CORRECTION: technically it was our second stop. We accidentally bought tickets to “Valencia Don Juan”, a pueblo in Leon…to the north of Madrid…land-locked. (Who knew there were two Valencias and that Alsa buses don’t go to the Valencia on the Mediterranean coast? Not us!) We noticed this after the confusion of finding our bus, getting on and passing El Escorial, which is north of Madrid, as well. Luckily our bus driver was extremely nice and called his pal to pick us up in the middle of nowhere and take us back to Madrid.

"Where are we?!"

 Anyway, Valencia is probably one of the coolest cities I’ve been to. I mean, which other city has turned a drained river bed into a park? Or built a giant ship-wrecked pirate as a playground? Or where museums look like the set of Star Wars? Or where paella for 10 or more people is served in pans as big as a table for four? All of this was in Valencia plus a beautiful beach, big boardwalks and the typical old city center and cathedral. The air was definitely fresher in Valencia and it made me miss the water a lot!

I REALLY wanted to play on this!A bridge and aquarium are straight ahead and the science museum is on the left...all museums look like this, right?This isn't even the biggest pan of paella we saw!

 

All museums look like this, right?

 

This isn't even the biggest pan of paella we saw!

 Our favorite thing about Valencia, though, were the random Spanish friends we made. (More often than not these were friendly old men. Haha)! We chatted with one nice old man while waiting for an hour on the bus and flirted a little another with our waiter that agreed to serve us the paella we wanted despite our many dietary restrictions (I’m vegetarian, Laura is allergic to shell-fish). Our new BEST friend was our bus driver. He only was our driver once, but we must have made an impression because when he saw us walking the next day he stopped his bus, honked and waved. (P.S. He looked like Jake Gyllenhaal!) I love vacationing in cities with nice, laid back people!

XO