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Published: March 31st 2022
Thursday, March 31, 2022
The sun rose over the ocean to a cloudless sky, the light brought into view a castle resting atop a crag of a mountain, a modern city with high rise condos and hotels and a long curving sandy beach, while a mountain ranges off in the distance framed the scene, a view unlike anything we’ve seen on this trip. Its roots are ancient, its port a mainstay for Madrid and a working persons city abundant with midcentury high-rise buildings favoring the brutalist period.
Welcome to Alicante, Spain.
We arrived at 10am this morning after a somewhat rocky night. It may have rained in Alicante, but today was brilliant with sun and blanketed by bilious clouds. My sleep, even after a Unisom intervention, was somewhat fitful. I gave up at one point and just read. Why not? Was finally able to get back to sleep and woke…refreshed? Up for debate. Will I ever sleep well again? Perhaps I should exercise more, drink and eat less…yes…I’m laughing as well.
We were required to take a shuttle from the ship to exit the working port. I must say, I’m SO GLAD we “had” to. When we left the shuttle and walked to the main road there were a few choices to make. Do we walk to the left? The Right? Or straight on? We chose to walk along the beach (that would be to the right). The morning was beautiful, the beach empty (only 62 degrees) but the promenade was well trafficked by pedestrians a plenty.
Just as we were about to turn around, we noticed a lift to the Castle of Santa Barbara. The castle is at the top of the mountain, and we chose NOT to go because…walking uphill…all that way…NAH. BUT…we didn’t know about the lift. For 4 euro we took the lift. The castle is free. So, why not. SO. GLAD. WE. DID! We arrived at the top and saw a bunch of people from the ship (who paid a LOT of $$$) we wandered around the castle for a good hour or more. In the early part of the 20th
Century, the castle served as a prison (think Spanish Civil War). Many prisoners carved their named in the stones as if to say “I was here” the names were dated mostly from 1936-39. The “castle” itself dates from the 11th
Century. The views from here are unparalleled.
After we managed to “do” the entire castle, we chose to walk down. We need our exercise, and everyone knows it’s easier to go down than up (get your heads out of the gutter). As we normally do, we chose to wander. We decided on a whim to go hither and yon, and somehow, someway it ALWAYS pays off. Today was no exception. As you may know, we LOVE, LOVE, LOVE visiting the local Mercado Centrale wherever we go. Alicante’s is HUGE – two story. Fish and vegetables on the lower floor, meat and pastry on the upper level. We threaded our way through both floors before we decided to stop for a quick bite. We each had spicy chicken empanadas with a sparkling lemon water drink – thankfully not too sweet. Quite good and slaked our hunger and thirst. Owner operated. Local. Can’t beat that.
We wandered a bit more before the blisters on my feet started SCREAMING for me to stop. I picked up some Spanish Talc (so soft and smooth) for my poor tootsies and we limped back to the port for the shuttle ride to the ship.
On board the ship, we got into our swimsuits and headed for the hot tub. After a good soak, we read for a while. I failed to mention the winds today. YOWZA…up at the castle my hair resembled a bowl of spaghetti. The winds hit the ship as well. At one point while in the jacuzzi, the winds came up and our glasses were covered in fine water droplets. That was just fine, as long as we didn’t get out. Eventually, we had to get out and BOY HOWDY…it was chilly!!
This evening was the Oceania Club party (our second of this trip). Of course, we went. There are now 803 guests, for a loss of 100. Evidently, the Russia invasion of Ukraine has made some people uneasy – and there have been cancellations. Looks like future cruises may be impacted as well. It’s all just so truly sad. We sipped some Champagne, listened to some great music and decided to dine at the Grand Dining Room.
Dinner was an experience. I can’t even describe it. All I WILL say is this: Valencia Oranges DO NOT COME FROM VALENCIA SPAIN! They were developed in Santa Ana, CA in the mid-19th
Century. They were talking a LOT about politics….and their information was equally flawed. It was, in fact, the woman at the table who mentioned that Valencia Oranges come from Valencia, Spain. Holding my tongue was SO HARD. I know my words mean NOTHING to someone who had already made up their mind (facts be damned).
Dinner was great. We shared some leg of lamb which was excellent (thank goodness we shared it) and had peas and mixed vegetables as our side. We both started with an interesting Fois Gras (we’ve had more in the last 2 weeks than in the last 5 years) which was quite good. I had the Humphry Slocombe Lemon Pound Cake ice cream, Christopher had the Mango Ginger sorbet – we both loved our choices.
Tomorrow – Palma de Mallorca. BUCKET LIST!!!!!
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