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Spain 2024 – Part 1 – Alicante – Torrevieja – Cartagena

Winter has retreated, sunlight is more often visible outside the window and the days are finally longer than the nights. Time to go traveling. Philosophical reflections and the piling up of belongings round off the day. The night passes very quickly and I wake up uncharacteristically early. A day’s work and it’s off to the airport to board the iron bird that will carry me to warmer places. Empty the fridge during the day and leave thoughts of work behind. Time to go to the airport. I traveled to the airport in a shared car. At first it seems that it will be a long walk, but as if out of nowhere one turns up just around the corner. This is not surprising, because that’s what they tend to do. The destination is Alicante, Spain, with one more stop on the way at Stansted (London). Unfortunately, this will not be a connection, but a wait for the next flight. My journey to the airport is quick. I’m traveling with Valeria, an Italian from previous blog posts, and a great conversation partner. We will be about 10 people at our destination. It’s like a reunion where we arrive from different places and at different times. We are all united by dancing. The car-sharing car is parked, the security check is done, it’s time to wait for take-off, which comes very quickly. Conversations interspersed with darkness outside the window make the first part of the flight pass very quickly. The almost clear Latvian sky gives way to the misty England. A long night at the airport before the first rays of sunlight and we are airborne and heading south.

The night passes very quickly. Usually it happens while sleeping, but this time half the night is spent talking and the other half snoozing on uncomfortable benches. Another safety check. This time we go through the gates, where nothing is taken out of the bags, not even liquids. One last wait to find out which gate the departure gate will be and we’re on the plane to fly further south. The whole flight passes in a nap. Food flies and coffee rains in my dreams, but it all stays in my imagination. Our feet touch Spanish soil.

– Alicante

The first task is to pick up the rental car. Car rental companies are the first thing you see when you are still at the airport. The cars themselves are across the street. Communication with the rental agent is in English, but Valeria speaks Spanish and any little ambiguities are cleared up without me, because I am out of the perception zone. After picking up the car, the first destination is not the house where we will stay, but a village (Bocairent) near Alicante. After an hour’s drive, we all meet at the village and go for a walk. We are nine people in three cars.

– Small village by Latvian standards

We try to find a place to eat by following google recommendations, but mostly everything is closed or only drinks are available. We buy snacks at the local supermarket and even eat there on the street. The streets are pretty empty and the village itself is small but in a good location with beautiful and mountainous surroundings.

– Tourists from Latvia
– Typical views from mountain towns and villages

Next stop next village. A winding road and fabulous views along the way. We stop to look at the surroundings on the way and continue.

– Mountain roads invite you to stop and look at the surrounding
– Valeria looks after the car while the others are somewhere in the bushes

We’ve come to Guadalest to climb the cliff where the castle was built. From the top we have a magnificent view of the surrounding countryside, surrounded by mountains. At the foot of the castle, you can see a man-made water reservoir, emerald green in color. There is a lot of wind at the top, but it doesn’t interfere with the sights.

– In person, the view is much more spectacular, even though every day
– Castle remnants, or the highest viewpoint

– Last rays of sunshine from Guadalest

The sun is starting to disappear behind the mountains and it’s time to head for home. We take the wrong direction at first, rather the shortest one through the mountains, but then we turn back and take a different road and soon join the highway and the night flight home. To Torrevieja. Familiarizing ourselves with the rooms and the distribution of rooms to people.

At home, our first dinner together, cooked by two Italians, Valeria and Nicola. The main course doesn’t need much mentioning, it’s pasta. A look back at the day’s adventures, a bit of conversation and time for bed.

The day starts with a shared breakfast in the neighboring house, because we live in two houses and the shared meals take place in one of them. Our houses are practically next to each other. We live in a residential area where all the houses are literally in a row. The houses in our group are separated only by one another.

The weather varies by the hour, but temperatures are fairly stable, around 20 degrees during the day.

Today we set out to conquer Alicante. An hour’s drive and we are in town. It is practically impossible to park a car on the street, because there are too few spaces and too many cars. Parking is in one of the underground car parks, of which there are many.

We go to the local promenade and meet all the group members. There are seven of us, as Dana had some local business to take care of and will join us later, and Nikolas stayed at home. A walk along the seafront. We got ready to go to a local castle, also at the top of the hill. This one is much bigger than Guadalest though, and this one is practically next to the sea. The sea, the town and the mountains. Everything looks magical. The colors created by nature are so beautiful and extraordinary when compared with the Latvian climate.

– One of the snails on Alicante street
– Promenade, just a few meters to the right is full of people, less walk along the edge
– In Latvia it’s still winter clothes, here it’s already sunbathing

– View from the castle to the harbor, along the promenade
– There was a big flock of boats or similar objects floating on the surface of the water

After a good walk, we need to eat. We are a relatively large group, and without thinking much, we look for the nearest cafe that seats eight people. The food list includes a variety of second courses and tapas. I can’t say we were thrilled with the food, some liked it, some thought it was bad. Hunger has been satisfied. Our group splits up and we go for a little more sightseeing in the city itself. We taste the local sweets, or churros. Slightly crispy pastry cooked in oil. We eat the churros with hot chocolate. The chocolate seems a bit watery, but the churros themselves are good. Churros are distant relatives of the Latvian sweets – Žagariņš.

– Churros and chocolate

A little more walking and we head to the car park to drive home. A highway, nine roundabouts with a second exit and we’re home. This part of road will be used a lot and the navigation repeated the exit directions so many times that I wanted to count them.

Dinner time. Nikolas running around the kitchen as he had stayed at home. Today’s plan was fish, vegetables and a photo report from Kathy camera. Local wine, talk about the next day’s plans and a sleep break.

Friday starts with a trip to the local market. We want to buy vegetables and fruit for our next meal. The market is a large plaza roughly divided into three parts. Parking, things to eat and clothes. The clothes sometimes look like rags piled in a heap. The market is full of both traders and buyers. We went to the market in two cars, each of which bought olives. About four kilograms. Very many and varied. Sharp, soft and pitted. We will eat them for breakfast and for dinner for the next few days.

– The huge variety of olives

After the market, we’ll put our stuff away and plan to head to the beach. The weather seems sunny. When we arrive at the beach it is practically empty and it is cool, the water is cold and nobody is swimming. Within 20 minutes of arriving, the sky is overcast and we feel like leaving. Super short sunbathing break. Nikolas wanted to cycle to the beach but he didn’t even make it to the beach as we were already making our way back. Quick change of clothes and drive to Cartagena. This time all together. All nine of us and three cars.

– The walk to the beach looks hopeful and warm
– Our base point at the beach

It takes about an hour to get to Cartagena. Another town by the sea. The town itself looks good from a distance. We see some local tourist attractions. Tonight the town is hosting the Good Friday parade. Full of people and even more parade participants.

– A view of the city, where all the streets have these lanterns
– Catching a shot between the city’s small streets
– Basilica, visible from the mound where the ruins of the Roman temple
– Amphitheater – feeling Roman presence
– Torres Park Square at the top of the hill, with a good view of the city
– From the square, you can see a large ship and an oil rig in the harbor

The days seem very short and time flies very fast. A few sights, a meal break and the day is over. We leave Cartagena.

– The march is attended by a wide variety of people, religious and non-religious

– Both big and small participate, children gave candies to the audience

Dinner, wine and a photo review by Kathy. The next day’s sightseeing is from Dana, as it will be her birthday. Breakfast will be at the other house and we are preparing a morning surprise for Dana. She hasn’t the slightest idea.

Saturday starts with a very sunny morning. We set the table outside. A festive table. Pancakes with candles. Festive balloons and a present. Dana looks pleasantly surprised. The surprise has worked.

– Celebration cake

There is a swimming pool next to our home. Some of us go for a morning, or rather a midday swim. The day has started perfectly. The weather looks promising, but it is deceptive because it soon starts to drizzle. The rest of the day will be similar.

We climb into the cars and head out to the sights. The journey is not near. About 120 kilometers. The first sightseeing area is between the cliffs, connected by three bridges. One for the railway, the others for cars. We come under the bridges on a rocky path and suddenly hear screams. Bungee jumping from the bridge. Photo break, group photo and we move on. We head towards the sea. The weather is getting worse, it is drizzling, but personally I am warm.

– The cars are put away, we can go for a walk
– In the distance you can see a bridge crossed by cars, as well as bungee jumping (Cañón del Mascarat)
– The weather is not the best, but the views are great

We climb to the top of a local cliff, overlooking the surrounding area. The distant mountains are in the clouds, the emerald blue sea nearby and the wind is strong. Most of the group quickly give up and go back to their cars. I continue to the top. A couple of photos and we can go down. Valeria is the first to give up as she is the most cold. Going down we see Dana and Alexander going home, as they have a celebration dinner in the evening. The others are still staying in the local town. I want to see another nearby cliff. Valeria and Nikolas are in my car. Nikolas wants to go home sooner and goes to Mikus car. Valeria and I go for a short walk along the cliff. The rain starts to recede and in the distance we can see rays of sun trying to break through the clouds. We don’t go all the way to the top of the trail because Valerie is cold. I am still warm, but the wind might be less. It’s getting dark and time to go to the car.

– View from the top of the first hill (Mirador Morro de Toix), where you can drive a car relatively close to the top
– Only Mikus and I climbed to the highest point
– Just before dark, rays of sunshine break through the clouds

To our surprise, we arrive home before Mikus, i.e. before Nikolas, who wanted to get home earlier. We don’t have the keys, but Cathy lets us in because she came with Dana and Alexander. Andy was also early. We climb over the fence because Cathy doesn’t know if she has the keys to the outer fence. We’re inside. Soon Mikus, Paula and Nikolas arrive. We are ready for dinner. Tonight we eat what’s left over from the day before, with extras. After the meal, a photo recap, a chat and a sleep break.

A leisurely Sunday morning. Very late breakfast. The clock was turned forward one hour this night. Some go to the market, some to a shop that is open, because they are mostly closed on Sundays. I stay at home and write down the events of the past few days. Andy and Valerie are looking for a place to see or have dinner…

We decide to go for a short walk. The weather forecast promises that it might not rain. Dana and Alexander stay at home, we drive two cars. On the way, we start to doubt the promised weather forecast as it starts to rain. When we reach our destination, which was an hour away, the weather is still not encouraging. It’s windy and a little drizzly. The chosen trail (it passes this site – Nacimiento de Fuente Caputa) will have a climb of at least 100 meters. At first we walk on rocks and overgrown twists, by the looks of it it could have been a river, or still in a period of higher rainfall. The beauty of the surroundings is not easy to put into words, it has to be seen in person or at least in pictures. After the jungle part, we join the road. More than half of the way is still to go, but the road is easy and the weather partly clears. At the top of the hill we meet other walkers. We decide to go faster to reach another sightseeing spot 40 minutes away before dark. The hour we turned the night before is very useful.

– The clothes show that it’s not the warmest and most pleasant weather outside
– Before reaching the highest point of the trail, we walk along a difficult but interesting parts of the trail
– We also meet this bird
– Wherever you look, everything is fabulous
– Already downhill on cars
– Back at the cars, our clothes were thinner as the weather cleared and it stayed warmer

After the walk, we head to the next location. Emerald water quarries surrounded by mountains (Mirador de Librilla). The clouds cover the sky and the sun barely breaks through them, but as we leave the sun begins a magnificent play of light with the mountains and the clouds. We stop halfway to enjoy the view for a while.

– In the distance, a city that literally glows in the evening sunlight
– The sun makes an already beautiful view even more glorious
– We couldn’t resist, we stopped to watch the lights play
– Video just before sunset

Time to go home, but before that we headed to Murcia, a town on the way home. First dinner away from home. After the meal, a short city walk. The food settled. Off to bed.

A new week started with perfectly clear skies and warm weather, finally. Breakfast together. Today Mikus and Paula are going home (to their real home) and Valeria is going to another city. Six of us will stay, but not for long.

After breakfast we go to the pool, some swimming, some sunbathing, some looking at it all. Andy brings ice creams. The sun occasionally hides behind the clouds. Goodbye to Mikus and Paula.

A leisurely afternoon ends with a trip to the local salt mines, where the water is pink. The three of us, me, Cathy and Andy. Nikolas stays at home. Alexander and Dana change cars, taking Valerie on the way. There is a strong wind on the seashore, but it is warm. Pink waters, piles of salt and sunset. We can go home. On the way we go to a supermarket to do some shopping – clothes for the girls, meanwhile I do the same, but end up buying nothing. Nikolas welcomes us with dinner. Picture recap and the way to bed.

– In the evening sun the color would probably be even more pronounced as the daytime sun was very bright and the pink color is not so visible in the pictures
– A little more walking along the sea
– Huge piles of salt next to the MadreSal cafe
– On the way back, we arrive at the Torrevieja salt mine, on the shore you can see these chairs, which over time are covered with salt
– Salt heaps are like multi-storey houses

We start the day with a small group. Late breakfast. As every day. Plan to go to the waterfalls (Fonts de l’Algar), at least an hour and a half away. We drive in one car, fully packed. This is the first day I have been on a trip where I have not been behind the wheel. I will be able to take a nap and look around. The morning drive passes quickly and we can go out to see how the waters are falling. There is an entrance fee to the area. The rapids and water play are not very impressive, but the area is well maintained, passable for everyone. There is a picnic area, you can swim. After visiting the area, we have a bite to eat in the cafe next door. The weather is great.

– Hands free on the way, I can take some road pictures
– Small rapids
– Dana and Aleksandrs swim, the water is not warm, but good by Latvian standards
– View from the cafe

We can go home for the last night before moving to another accommodation where three more people will join us.

Arriving in Torrevieja, we go shopping in a supermarket. We buy a lot of things, the girls buy a lot of cosmetics, the rest of us keep up.

One last evening walk to the local beach, where we arrive just in time for sunset. The sun sets on the city side, the view is good anyway. For dinner, we make and eat everything we won’t take with us. The plans for the next day are grand. We want to get up earlier, but the plans fall apart as soon as morning comes.

– Stairs to the rocky beach
– The sun sets here at a very fast pace, and leaves beautiful traces in the sky

Someone packed their bags overnight, someone in the morning. Breakfast and cars full of stuff. Three people in each car and we’re on our way…

Read more: 2. part

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