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Alicante A Birdseye View on a Lovely Spanish City

To be given the name Alicante to me indicates that it has something really special, quite different from any other place in Spain or maybe even in the world. But many people, when they visit a city for the first time, want to take in all the typical tourist attractions so I will make a brief outline of them and then really get into what I would call my favourite Alicante. If I had to make a list of things to see in this city the following five would be at the top:.1. The Promenade of Spain ? this promenade is opposite the port area and other than being able to breath the fresh sea air and see magnificent yachts, you get the feeling that you are out to sea because the floor is done in a way that the ceramic tiles all along the promenade represent the waves dancing in and out.

It is quite lively at any time of the day and any time of the year.2. Saint Barbara Castle ? At the top of the Benacantil Mountain stands this Moorish castle. It is open all year round but the timetable varies a bit. There are three ways to get there: The lift which is opposite the beach called the Postiguet and which costs 2.40 euros by introducing coins in a machine, walking through the Ereta Park or by car.

There is no entrance fee and you can see a nice sculpture collection from the 19th and 20th century which is spread out all over the castle. This past summer I had the pleasure of dining under the stars there and was accompanied by live music.3. Saint Mary Church ? In the Saint Mary Square you can see this impressive 13th century church which was built on the grounds where a mosque had once been.

It was first done in Gothic style but was reconstructed and the main facade is now Baroque. The gran doorway takes up almost all the front part with a splendorous statue of the Virgin Mary.4. Concathedral Of Saint Nicolas ? In the Abad Penalva Square in 16161, this grandiose 17th century church started to come alive. It is a mixture of Renaissance and Doric style.5.

Nativity Scene Museum ? On Saint Agustin Street, 3 nicely exhibited in a typical 19th century house with the central well still intact, you will find the most fascinating array of Nativity Scenes all over the world. Everyone has a fixed idea of how they have always seen the birth of Jesus expressed in figures, but in other parts of the world, each country puts a special emphasis on different details that are beautifully expressed here.Organised Chaos in Alicante.The 'Hogueras' (Great Bonfires) are an organised chaotic event that Alicante celebrates every year.

It is hard to find a street, square or avenue without either a 'barraca' (thatched roof hut or similar) or a colossal papier mache monument in middle of the street. These days are when 'The City of Lights', as it is called, never sees the darkness. Days and nights of entertainment, enjoyment and of changing the boring daily routine for five days of non-stop partying.

My first impression when I visited Alicante for the first time was seeing huge and imaginative dolls spread out all over the city, streets filled with bands during the day, orchestras playing in makeshift stands at night, beautifully dressed women, children and gents in traditional brocaded and lacy costumes. The lights, colours and joyful ambience makes you feel as if you were living a storybook fairytale.Since 1946, 12 districts were nominated to participate in the special category wit their monumental figures which are a fun way to criticise and protest against local, national and international issues which have made the people restless. They are absolute masterpieces and it is hard to believe that all this talent and ingenuity is converted into ashes in less than 60 minutes. I actually had a lump in my throat when they told me that they would be burnt to the ground.

I wanted to take photos of every one but I opted to buy a full colour magazine that had everything included and took photos of myself with all the locals.I did not included the Bull Ring in with the most important buildings because during the Hogueras de San Juan held from June 19th until the 24th, there are breathtaking bull fights and this is a must for one of the busy afternoons. Try and get one of the posters which announce the different events and famous bullfighters. The Postiguet beach mentioned before becomes the stage for musical bands at night.

The Luceros Square Shakes.From June 19th until the 24th, everyone's lunch time break, which in Spain is at 2:00, is preceded by the 'Mascleta', which is held in the Luceros Square, to hear the noisiest fire crackers during seven exciting minutes and earth shaking sensations.On the last night, June 24th Saint John, There is first an International Folklore Parade with the participation of countries such as India, Brazil and even Polynesia.

There are special fireworks shot of from the mountain top where the castle of Saint Barbara is. These fireworks depict the figure of a gigantic palm tree which lights up the whole sky and probably your spirits for many long months to come!.

.Robert Carlton contributes to http://www.

alicante-spain.com a website with Costa Blanca and Spain Travel Tips. For further information you can get a free downloadable Alicante Travel Guide and join his free newsletter.

By: Robert Carlton

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