I enjoyed my last impulsive trip to South Africa so much and was so NOT enjoying the enduring winter in London this year; so one Thursday afternoon I decided, this was it, I NEEDED sunshine like no tomorrow! Turns out Ginny needed it just as badly as me, and so this glorious Thursday night we booked last minute flights to Alicante, Spain for that Saturday morning. Impromptu trips are the best!! ;-)
With Martin unfortunately bogged down in end of year school work, Ginny and I booked tickets and car hire for Spain and our friend Nicole, who we met in West Africa and has set up holiday apartments in Calpe - Spain this year, conveniently had an apartment spare for us! Martin kindly drove us out to Gatwick airport and by 6.30am Saturday morning we were airborne, winging our way towards the sunshine we craved! And so began an AWESOME weekend! We joined the long queue at Alicante Airport for our rental car and soon we were driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road in brilliant sunshine towards Calpe. Nicole’s directions were perfect and with Ginny driving and me navigating we had a great drive up the coast.
Carpe Diem Villa is a great set up and we’d highly recommend it for a holiday – four large apartments completely outfitted with all new furniture with a large swimming pool, outdoor table tennis and BBQs. We checked in with Nicole then headed straight down to the main waterfront boulevard on Playa Arenal-bol at Calpe (the beach to the ‘right’ of Rock of Ifach!). It’s a great boulevard lined with restaurants and we picked a restaurant recommended by Nicole and lunched on yummy tapa’s and downed a jug of sangria in the sunshine, it was simply perfect! Sunshine just makes me HAPPY!!!! Then we wandered along the beach, sand between our toes, waves lapping, the whole cliché and it was simply brilliant! We went as far as the marina and then headed back to the apartment, stopping en-route at a supermarket to pick up sangria and bbq supplies…. Turns out it was a coal BBQ and I’ve only ever used wood or gas and starting it was an epic fail….. where were lighter sticks when you needed them? ;-) But we managed to cook up our dinner in the stove instead and crashed out pretty early, having been up since
4am for our flight in.
The following day, awaking to more brilliant sunshine, Ginny took a dip in the pool then we ventured down to the boulevard the ‘other’ side of the Rock of Ifach (Playa de Calpe / Playa de Levante). This boulevard seemed slightly more upmarket than the other side, still lined with loads of great restaurants, beach bars and ice cream parlours! There were soooooo many places I wanted to stop if we’d been there a little longer! It was a great time of year to go as there weren’t loads of tourists at all. We found an awesome ice cream place which just had to be done then wandered right along the boulevard to the point before meeting Nicole at a beachy restaurant randomly adorned with lots of soft toy monkeys called ‘Coconut’ for more tapa’s.
After leaving Calpe, we headed for the small village of Altea. We wandered around the boulevard that, while pleasant, didn’t really hold the same appeal for us as Calpe which we much preferred (plus the beach was stony!) … but then we headed up into the Old town and that was where the real charm of Altea lay.
We strolled up the hill through ancient white cobbled paths, admiring all the old stone houses, the vibrant potted plants and colours adorning window sills, wrought iron balconies and the like, a generally stunning area, eventually emerging at the old Virgen del Consuelo Church with it’s domes and quaint church square. Afterwards we found another great ice cream place and took our time whiling our way down through the very characterful old town streets.
Then it was time to head back to Alicante! Following Nicole’s directions backwards I did pretty well (except once where we should have turned off – sorry about that Ginny!) to arrive back to the airport in plenty of time for our flight… well ok time enough to very classily scull our leftover sangria and then wait for our flight with ice creams in hand.
We flew in the Saturday morning and out late on the Sunday night, and yet it felt so much longer in a good way! It was the perfect time of year to go: mid-high 30’s each day but still not a lot of tourists around. It was a perfect weekend, I couldn’t have asked for anything better – and
it’s amazing how much better a spot of sunshine can make you feel! It was the perfect combination of good company, a stunning area, sandy beaches, yummy tapa’s and jugs of sangria, ice cream, beachside boulevards to stroll and old towns to wander and the well needed loads of sunshine!!!
...unfortunately I forgot my camera so I’ve attached the pics I took from my phone and huge thanks to Ginny for the photos of both of us!
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