With all of our cross-country travels out of the way, it was time to just sit back and enjoy Alicante. At first we thought of this city as nothing more than just an apartment, a falafel place and a beach, but it was so much more than that! There was a whole world waiting to be explored!
On our first full day, we decided to check out the castle. The Santa Barbara Castle is a beautiful piece of architecture overlooking the city and the beach. It also has a 1,000 year history and it used to be crucial in the defense of the Iberian peninsula against the Arabs and the French. It was a key military fortification from the middle ages, all the way until the mid 1800s. Because it was on a mountain, it was also a great way to get some much needed exercise and see some amazing views of the city.
This castle was even more of a hike than we anticipated, and by the time we got to the top we found ourselves sweating and breathing heavily. It was all worth it for the view though. We could see the beautiful beaches, the buildings off in the distance and even our apartment! It was so cool to be up here and see the whole city all in one view.
One night, we decided to check out the casino. It must’ve been pretty late at the time, between 11:00 and 12:00 when a lot of places start to close. We ended up walking down the boardwalk and there it was, surrounded by the yachts and sailboats in the harbor there was the bright, almost obnoxious Casino Mediterraneo. We saw what appeared to be a bouncer at the front door, and we asked him if we could get in and he said yes. He then led us around the corner to a different place. The bar he took us to did have an awesome dance scene, but it was totally not where we asked him to go. At this point, we really didn’t care. We’d rather be at a club than a casino anyways. It was so difficult to wingman for my friends with only my 6th grade Spanish, but I tried anyways.
On another night, we decided to venture into the part of Alicante famous for its nightlife. Here we hopped around from nightclub to nightclub, and my friend tried his new dance move at each one. For those of you who may not remember, this move consisted of someone alone in the middle of the dance floor with a blank stare, fist pumping repeatedly. He did this at every club we went to. Apparently in Spanish dance culture, you never really bring your hand above your head so this was quite a weird sight for people. We didn’t care, we would rather be weird than cool. That was pretty much the motto for the whole trip. We decided to take it a step further and started a train. This was usually a big hit back in the U.S, and you typically get a few people to join in and occasionally you get the entire dance floor. After we made it through the dance floor, I looked back to see if anyone had joined in on our train. Not a single one, just my three friends and a room full of stares. I loved this! It was almost more fun that everyone thought we were weird. That night escalated into a series of bizarre stunts that got us the attention of everyone in the club, and not in a good way.
I guess at least some people were impressed by it because a couple of local girls wanted us to show them how to do our famous dance move. The 6 of us then proceeded to dance in our living room until about 9 in the morning, when they left to get to class the next morning, and we were left with a huge mess to clean up. We would be leaving tomorrow morning (or I guess technically it was this morning) and we hadn’t cleaned up once the entire trip. It was cool knowing that we had took a dance move that was objectively silly and turned it into something that we could teach the locals. Hopefully this was how we will be remembered in Alicante, as the crazy kids with the weird dance moves. I have no problem with that.
I went to bed at 9:00am and woke up at 11:00 to a loud pounding on the door. Disoriented, I headed to the door to find a woman with cleaning supplies in her hand. She was here to clean the room, and we were supposed to have checked out hours ago! I woke up my friends and tried to cobble together as much Spanish as I could on 2 hours of sleep. “No Limpiar Hoy” I said repeatedly. She was quite confused, but she understood enough to give our host a call. He informed us that we had overstayed our time and he was going to charge us for another day. My friends then had a genius idea. Because the water hadn’t worked our first night, we decided to both give each other a 5 star rating and everyone walks away happy. Our host excused our late checkout and within an hour we were checked out of our place with all of our belongings in hand. Here we took one last walk through the city. It really is a beautiful place and we would be sad to leave it behind. Although it was nice to pause and reflect, we still had one final mission.
We wanted to make it up to our friend for letting us stay with her and her family, so we decided we would save up all the loose change we had and buy her a gift at the end of the trip. This ended up being close to 40 euros, so we would actually be able to get her quite a lot. We ended up settling on 1.5 kilos of coffee, which would be sure to serve her well in the upcoming semester. And yes, we paid all in coins. It was a transaction that took about 5 minutes of counting and sorting and we all had to pitch in to make it happen. In the end, it was worth it, and we felt we had really gotten a great gift with a great story behind it.
We flew out of Alicante that evening, leaving behind a week of memories. This was my first trip to Spain, and with all the fun I had I was determined it wouldn’t be my last. The best part was, the 4 of us were now best friends for the rest of our time in Germany, and it was awesome to have such strong friendships so early on. .