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24 January 2016

Valencia Erasmus Diary - Contemplating Nature in Peñón de Ifach and Visiting the Castle of Santa Bárbara in Alicante

A couple of days ago, my Erasmus girlfriends invited me to a day trip around the region with them, and how could I say no? At first, I was a bit skeptical because the pictures advertised on the trips website are often extra-edited to make them look amazing... while often the places aren't. However, this time the places were just as incredible as they were advertised. Plus, the weather was perfect... oh, Spain, Spain. 
After having left early in the morning, the bus drove us to a lovely place called Peñón de Ifach which offered both the beach and a natural park. As we got off the bus we saw a big mountain (Calpe) and wondered if we would be climbing it all the way up, which would have been a pretty exciting challenge, however we were told that it was too dangerous. No extreme wanderlust pictures for us.
We didn't get disappointed and still hiked up to half way through the mountain. The more we went up, the better the views got. Besides, the air was so fresh compared to the one in Valencia. This is something I always miss while living abroad as I grew up in the countryside and can really appreciate fresh air, something that people who live in the city often don't think about. So I took as many deep breaths as I could, trying to get all the beauty of the sights in as well!
This view was so beautiful and powerful. The picture shows only a part of it, but we were basically looking over a very large portion of sea standing over a massive mountain. We made sure we would actually contemplate and enjoy the view for a while instead of just being intent at taking snaps of it, a mistake we all make too often. 

And this is me being happy and squeezing my eyes from the sun! 

At lunchtime, we decided go have our packed lunch on the rocks at the beach, which was so relaxing and healing. The sound, the view and the smell of the sea are just so pleasant. I made the most of this moment and tried to sunbathe a bit! Haha. 
Our second stop was Alicante. We first stopped at the castle of Santa Bárbara, a fortification standing over Mount Benacantil. The castle didn't have anything more special or different than the average Spanish castle, like in Sot de Chera or Xàtiva. However, I always enjoy listening to the legendary or actual stories behind them. Romans, Arabs, English and French passed from here through time. The guide also told us about two ghosts we could potentially meet.

From the castle, the sea looked beautiful, however the city didn't look that great. But we didn't lose hope and as we drove down the mountain to the city we realised that the seafront was actually very nice! The atmosphere was lovely and we couldn't wait for our coffee break. 
I didn't take my camera with me in Alicante as the sun was going down. While I'd heard from everyone that it wasn't worth visiting, I now think that it's a nice seaside place and one could spend a day or two there relaxing. And as for Peñón... well, you decide from the pictures. ;)

Have you been to any of these places? How did you like them?

5 comments:

  1. My mom use to live in Calpe, Alicante and I love that part of Spain! Never got the chance to visit that Castle though, looks lovely.

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    Replies
    1. That's lovely! Being close to the sea is definitely a plus :) Don't worry, the castle was ok haha xx

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  2. I get the feeling you're enjoying Spain :)

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    Replies
    1. I am!! This was also one of my favourite days so far :)

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