On Friday we embarked on our first weekend trip! The original plan was to go to Portugal so we could check out Lisbon and spend our days in Cascais on the beach, but then we saw that the forecast was rain all day everyday (when later on I saw that the weather was actually beautiful, of course)! Instead, we decided to explore more of what Spain has to offer and headed for Alicante, a city on Costa Blanca, the southeastern coast.
Friday- We took a 5 hour bus trip from Madrid to Alicante and arrived on Friday evening just in time to take a taxi to our hostel, make ourselves look presentable, and head out for a tapas dinner. We quickly learned that we were absolutely IN LOVE with the sangria they served in this area- or maybe just sangria in general- and got a jarra to share at almost every meal. The first night we decided to turn in fairly early so we would have the entire day Saturday to explore the town and hit up the playa.
Our hostel- Pensión San Nicolás– was in El Barrio, which is the old part of town. It is located right next to the ayuntamiento (town hall) and right behind the enormous Catedral San Nicolás in an area that is buzzing after 10pm when people of all ages begin visiting the various bars and restaurants. This was our first hostel experience and it was certainly a great one. We had a beautiful private room to accommodate all four of us and the staff was so accommodating; they even let us keep our bags there after checkout time on Sunday.
Saturday- We woke up and headed to a little pastry shop for breakfast, which consisted of a heavenly Nutella crêpe. The whole day was spent sleeping on the beach. The Mediterranean sea was perfect temperature and so refreshing as it was HOT in Alicante. We grabbed a delicious lunch of paella, gazpacho, and queso croquetas– typical foods of the area- and went back to our room to nap before dinner… I told you, siesta is a real thing (especially after a day in the sun)!
I loved that every restaurant we went to had outdoor seating because the weather, though warm, was gorgeous. We ate dinner at the first place that offered us a free 1.5 liter jarra of sangria. Clearly they knew the way to my heart! We weren’t to keen on ‘going out’ that night so did a bit of shopping, strolling around the marina area, and then plopped ourselves at a bar in the busy part of town so we could do a bit of people watching.
Sunday- We grabbed breakfast for a few euro at a pub by our hostel, which seems weird for Americans but is pretty normal in Europe. One of the fantastic things about Spain is that food is SO inexpensive in addition to being good quality! You can eat like a king or queen for cheap here! When we first arrived in Alicante, our taxi driver told us we had to check out Castillo Santa Bárbara, a castle that stands on Mount Benacantil and dates back to the 9th century during Muslim control. At first we planned on walking but then realized that none of us brought sneakers and it was quite a hike in the zillion degree weather so we paid the 2.70 euros to take an elevator- yes I unknowingly paid for a ride in an ELEVATOR- to the top.
The views of the city were absolutely incredible and the castle itself was pretty cool, complete with shops and a smoothie bar. The next few hours were spent on the gorgeous beach, where we listened to the music they had playing (and napped some more) before we had to grab food at the local CarreFour (a grocery store chain) and catch our bus home! I was even back to my apartment in time for dinner.
I kind of love how the four of us- Haley, Shelby, Sam, and I- left for a weekend with essentially no plan besides soaking up some sun on what will probably be our last beach weekend of the year. It was definitely a great weekend with even greater company!