Chad wanted to see the coast in Spain (and I certainly had no complaints about a weekend at the beach), so this past Thursday we took a bus to Alicante (Ah-lee-khan-tay). Alicante was the first city I'd visited with friends in the fall of 2009 when I was a student in Madrid. We had stayed at a hostel outside of the city, but two blocks from a beach.
|Map taken from http://ling.uta.edu/~laurel/spainphotos07.html|
This time we actually stayed in downtown Alicante, just a 10-15 minute walk from another beach (That is, if you are correctly oriented when you leave the hostel. Otherwise, the walk might just take longer than 15 minutes. You may or may not be unable to see the water after walking for 40 minutes, which might cause you to ask two Spanish women where you are on a tourist's map of Alicante. And the women might tell you you're OFF THE MAP - "sóis muy lejos... pero muy muy lejos". Just fyi.)
We stayed at a hostel, as I always do, but it was Chad's first time staying in one. I like staying in hostels for a couple of reasons:
- They're affordable (Average 15 euro/night)
- You meet great people from all over the globe
- If you're traveling alone, you can easily find people with whom you can sightsee and hang out.
- You have access to a full kitchen, and can therefore grocery shop and cook meals instead of always eating out while traveling
- Free internet/computers, and lots of books
We were in an 8-person mixed dorm room. Every night when we came home, none of our roomies were back yet so we could turn on the light and chat while getting ready for bed without worrying about waking anyone. I also never had to wait for a bathroom/shower during the whole weekend.
On the walk back to the hostel at the end of the day, we stopped at another grocery store to get some dinner items. We cooked in the hostel kitchen and ate up on the terrace. Chad bought himself a bottle of hot sauce, which he plans to finish by the time he leaves Spain.
We had one item on our itinerary for Friday: beach. We stopped at a grocery store on our way to the beach in the morning (which is what got me all turned around), but we eventually made it. I brought with me The Da Vinci Code, which I'd found in the hostel. It's a good thing I grabbed it too, because I later realized that I'd saved my kindle touch from my sunscreen-and-sand-covered fingers.
Our plan for Saturday was to fist climb the rock mountain/castle that your eyes are unable to miss as you first enter the city (as pictured below),
then eat at a restaurant recommended by the hostel, and finally beach for the second half of the day. While we were up on the terrace talking with people Friday night, someone asked us if we were going snorkeling the next day. My immediate reaction was to think "no," but Chad was considering it. He said he'd been snorkeling many times in the Caribbean, Florida, and other various places; and that it would be worth it.
Two minutes later one of the hostel workers came up to the terrace and said there were two spots left in the snorkeling group tomorrow, was anyone interested? So we said we'd take the spots!
I was a bit hesitant, but Chad said no worries - there are always life jackets that you inflate as much as you want, and that it's really fun. I didn't say anything that night, but I had a suspicion that snorkeling in Spain wouldn't be like the snorkeling Chad's done on resorts...
[To read about our snorkeling adventure, click here.]