23 to 25 June
This morning we were up bright and early. We took the train to Orly for our 9:40am flight to Alicante. We had a small delay but we were off to Spain. I was suppose to be in Spain for working starting on Monday. We had bought tickets that were non-refundable so I did not want to waste the money. And there is sun and sand in Alicante.
We landed in Alicante and were met by a familiar face from Philly, Carmen, who did a tour in Philly a few years ago. I was so happy to see her! We then headed to Plaza de los Luceros for beer and fireworks. Yes, day time fireworks. The point of the fireworks is not necessarily the display, but how loud they are. We were about 100 meters from the place the fireworks we set off and you could feel them in your chest. We were visiting Alicante during the festival for San Juan (St. John). The way the Spanish celebrate is with the Hogueras or bonfires. They literally light the city on fire. It is insane. Keep reading for the details.
We then went to Carmen’s beautiful apartment for a light lunch and to relax. She has an amazing view of the Mediterranean.
We then took the bus to old town, walked around to see all the “creations.” The creations are elaborate effigies that will be burned to the ground the next night. They are wedged in between the old buildings throughout the city. They are absolutely beautiful.
After walking around, we stopped to have drinks at Sotelo 10 in a park and people watch.
We then had dinner at El Pale, which was amazing. We got a mixed smoked carpaccio plate that melted in your mouth. I would go back in a heart beat. What was also nice is after our meal they brought us some mistella (a local liquor) to try and it was amazing.
We eventually made our way back to Carmen’s on the bus, but not after seeing everyone down on the beach celebrating with more bonfires.
This morning we woke up gradually and had a wonderful beach day. The weather was warm enough to enjoy the warm Mediterranean waters.
We took a break from working on our tans to have a seafood Paella lunch at Restaurante Casa Domingo right on the beach. It was just a perfect mix for my taste buds. I could eat this everyday for lunch.
We headed back to Carmen’s around 5:30 because she had planned a place to go for dinner. I also, in my fair skinned glory, got unbelievably sun burned. Story of my life. I reapplied SPF 30 every 2 hours but I always miss a spot. This time, I missed many spots…
We took the bus back downtown and we stopped to have drinks at O’Hara Irish Pub before dinner.
We then had dinner at La Taberna del Gourmet. Again, the food in Spain did not disappoint. But we had the Hogueras to watch. But we had some time so we went back to O’Hara for some more drinks before burning.
We watched the main Hogueras at City Hall burn. It was insane. First a few fireworks went off and then voom, the whole effigy was on fire! In the middle of the square. You could see the firefighters were working hard tonight creating a water box to keep the fire from going to the buildings. Also, people can get realllllllly close to the Hogueras. The people at the front will chant ‘AGUA’ because they are getting hot from the fires. Eventually, the firefighters not only hose down the effigies but the crowd too. We thankfully were far enough back to not get soaked. But we could feel the heat of the fire for sure. The first fire started at midnight and others were timed to go off throughout the city. We walked around to enjoy the different bonfires and went back to Carmen’s around 3am. It was an amazing night!
After being out pretty late, we slept in. We then packed our things and headed to Carmen’s parents for more paella! As Carmen told me, paella is only for lunch, not dinner. That’s how you can tell who the tourists are…they eat paella for dinner.
We picked up Carmen’s dad and headed up to Santuario de Santa Maria Magdalena. This is a beautiful church that is built in a similar style to the main church in Barcelona. It was absolutely stunning.
We then went back to her parents and Jer went with her papa to get paella. It was absolutely a 2 person job. The dish the paella came in was wider than a small circle dining room table! This time we have a very traditional paella with rabbit. I know, rabbit, it sounds weird to eat. But is was very mild, like chicken. We enjoyed hours of discussion in a mix of English, French and Spanish. It was one of my favorite lunches we have had to date since moving to Europe. The warmth of Carmen’s family made us feel at home. We said adios to the family and left with a warm heart and a very full belly.
Carmen then dropped us off at the airport to head back to Paris just after 5pm. Alicante, we will be back!
We were back in our apartment by 11pm.