As my days in Alicante are dwindling, my general demeanor has quickly gone from “Ahhhh...relllaaaxxxx” to “I only have 2 and a half weeks to see EVERYTHING.” The last minute pitfalls of living in a heavily tourist-ed area are starting to show themselves as I have been putting off visiting the region’s major attractions. Since I've been living with the mentality that "I can just see it another day" for quite a while now, those other days are numbered. Now, I’m paying for it as I watch my To Do list grow longer than all of my past Christmas lists combined. To kick off this flurry of activities, I made a date with one of my Dutch friends (or as Dad calls them, Hollandaise), Lori, to make the journey to the top of Mount Benacantil where the Castillo de Santa Barbara sits overlooking downtown Alicante.
|Lori and I.|
At 166m (roughly 550 ft.) this is by no means a mountain, but since all those feet are accomplished in a very short distance, the trek can get a bit steep. Thinking ourselves smarter than the average bears, we opted to take the elevator to the top of the mountain (what? don’t alllll late 9th century castles have elevators in them?) with the plan of bounding down the stairs, sweat-free and jovial back into the city. Upon our arrival, we discovered that the elevator was in fact, closed, (I mean, it's me, what did you expect?) and that if we were going to get to the castle, we were going to have to hike it. Now, there are a few routes to get up there and, naturally, we chose the most difficult, as that’s just how things work out with me. Thus began our climb of Mount I-Don’t-Wanna-Do-This-Anymore. Also known as I-Wasn’t-Supposed-To-Sweat-Like-This Peak and Is-This-NORMAL?! Hill. Keep in mind, these are the names I’ve deemed suitable for a family reading audience. You can use your imagination about the others.
|Sizing up the trek to those litttlleee tinnyyy lookout towers which were our destination.|
And you can imagine our surprise (forced smile) when we finally reached the top of our grueling, sweat-drenched, calf-burning, 90% incline hike (alright, it wasn’t that much...but it was close) and viewed...THE PARKING LOT. With CARS. Connected to the ROAD that you can DRIVE on to the top. Such fools we are! But we were calmed by the knowledge that neither of us has a car, so we’d have to walk anyway. Oh, that’s such a relief. For a second, I thought we were justifiably dumb.
And I held onto that happy ignorance for a few hours until I talked to my Mom after I got home and she informed me, “Ya know, you can take the bus up there. You know, the public bus, it goes right up there.”
So friends, as usual, the Alicante Bus System wins again. Someday, I will be smarter than it. Someday.
Despite the climb and necessary usage of my beautiful Barcelonian scarf as a sweat mop, the views from the trail and summit were well worth the trouble.
|Goofing around...as usual.|
|San Juan. That's where I live!|
After some more picture taking and exploring, we descended down the much LESS slanted path from the castle back into the city. And as I was looking over the twinkling lights of Alicante, boats passing in the sea, and the distant sign of life over on jellyfish island (Tabarca), I couldn’t help but come to some thrilling conclusions after the day's journey:
- I love this place.
- I should be a princess.
- Freakin' buses.
- I’m out of shape.
And with that, Lori and I made our way to the first ice cream parlor we could find.
Thanks for reading,