After Mattias left, we continued our sail north towards Alicante. And so it happened that we arrived in Alicante just in time for Midsummer, which is celebrated in Spain as the festival of San Juan. Although we weren’t in the party mood, it was interesting to see how the celebration of the shortest night of the year took place compared to how we celebrate in Sweden. Alicante is apparently the town that celebrate the most, and the celebrations include massive bonfires on the beach, which the brave try to jump over for good luck, thereafter washing hands and feet in the water for twelve months of good luck. Everywhere around the city massive sculptures in different themes could be seen, and I thought it was a bit funny that the one next to the harbour was called “Invadors” which was illustrated as Vikings. We felt very much welcomed 😉
All over the streets were street stalls, bars restaurants lined up for the party people, and there was even foam part going on in an alley in the middle of the day. Well, we were preparing for the passage to Ibiza the next day, and instead of enjoying the fun the usual tasks of filling up the water tank, cleaning the boat and doing grocery shopping filled our day and night. Since one of my friends had scheduled her flight to Ibiza just a week later, there was no time to relax. It was not the most convenient day to go grocery shopping, but since we knew that Ibiza would be expensive and not so easy to go shopping there really wasn’t any other way to do it. Besides that, we also needed to prepare some tax reports for the authorities back home. Big party pooper!
I didn´t know much about Alicante before we went there, except that they have regular flights to Sweden, but I really liked the town and were curious about what it was like when the festival did not crowd the streets. Three weeks later we went back to Alicante from the Balearics, some experiences wiser and with a new goal – to head back home. The first night after our passage we anchored in the outskirts of Alicante, outside Albufeira and enjoyed a cool swim before watching the sun set behind the mountains. When serving some tapas onboard, we realized that the fish here were just like the Spaniards – they really like some matured cheese! With cheese as bait, I hoped that maybe we could catch some fish for dinner, but they were way to smart for me and the only thing I managed to do was to tangle up the fishing line and get frustrated 😉 The cheese worked better as a bait to get close to the fish and watch them eat, as you can see in the photo (the top right fish enjoyed the cheese a fraction of a second later).
This time there was a bit more time to explore the city and there was one thing I really wanted to see before leaving Spain and Alicante – the castle on top of the hill in the middle of town “Castell de la Santa Barbara”. One evening off we went, after a full day of doing paint jobs on the boat in the heat. The perfect dinner was found in one of the alleys on the way up at Fast&Bio, where we tasted the different types of pizza, garlic bread and hoummus made with organic ingredients and a lot of love. The goat cheese pizza was delicious!
Climbing up the hill was an effort, but there was much to see all the way up. First the narrow streets of old town, then the gardens on the side of the hill and finally the increasingly breathtaking views of the city, the sea, and the mountains. To walk up this steep hill in daytime would have been too hot, but on the other hand we were a bit late to actually get to walk around in the castle. The perfect way to enjoy it would probably be to bring a picnic and just relax the whole evening with the view.
The last day I took a walk to the beach to get a few hours of relaxing sunbathing and swimming before taking off north. But it is hard to relax when you have somewhere to go. Next up, the weeks we spent in the party island Ibiza and every super yacht´s favourite – Formentera!
NOTES FOR SAILORS
The harbour in Alicante is a bit pricey, but an excellent place to swap crew or leave the boat to fly home. They have a rather large liveaboard community and people are friendly. There are also several anchorages along the bay that can provide reasonable shelter, especially East of Alicante. Alicante is one of the most common places to start a passage to Ibiza or Formentera, be sure to stock up on groceries before you go!