Friday, June 10, 2011

In Which I Lose Again

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.
Our goal
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.”
....Kill me.
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 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:
  1. I love this place.
  2. I should be a princess.
  3. Freakin' buses.
  4. 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,


  1. Soooo glad you got to the castle! Great pictures - beautiful at night. It looks like you're having fun and that's good for everyone.
    Love ya,
    Mom (who once rode the bus to the top of Mount Benacantil...just sayin')

  2. Lol, you didn't tell me about the bus!!! Hahaha, it was fun though! Next time we'll just take the lift! firsttt,, San Juan today! xx

  3. Lori, I wanted to surprise you with the info in the blog post. I was devastated to learn that, but we did have a great time griping, moaning, and sweating our way up the hillside.

  4. Wasn't all that running before you left training for moments just like this?

    Gorgeous pictures as usual!

  5. Hi there sweetie!
    I think if you look close, you can see the face of an autobot in the rock formation below the flag in your last nighttime photo. He is yelling, probably because there is a flag stuck in his head.
    As your days in Spain come to an end, find time to live the culture and unlock the mysteries of the region.
    You must:
    -Go to the airport and see if it really does rain on the planes in Spain. I am very worried about your flight home if there is a lot of rust.
    -Help the folks over there figure out exactly where they left Christopher Columbus.
    -See if there is actually a road to the top of all Spain's historical castles, before you do THAT again.
    -See if they actually do a "running of the sheep" anywhere. If so I will come over and we can participate. I don't think we can get hurt bad if a wooly two foot high critter runs us into a wall.
    -Are there single A, double A and Triple A bullfighting leagues junior bullfighters go through before they get called up and gored?
    -Talk politics with some of the Spainish friends you have made. Find out if in Spain they would think of electing a senator named Weiner and not expect trouble. Tell them we need help and advice, as we have a newt, a mit and a moose hunter from Alaska who thinks Paul Revere was riding to warn the British (yes, she actually said that in an interview while in Boston last week)who all may run for president. Maybe Spain can help us. I think they are smarter there.(they take the bus to the castles...).
    -Eat lunch just once at noon, and see what happens.
    -Talk to us on skype with your laptop turned a little so we see more of Spain than those same closet doors.
    -Eat Tapas. But keep your bottoms on.
    -Stay safe, have fun, love the family you are living with, and come home to the family that loves you so much.

  6. Yes Alicia, maybe we should do it again, but then at noon? Would be great, why go to a sauna to sweat? it's so much more fun to just hike up the castle!! Yiiha! No, let's take the lift, brink lots of cold drinks, a towel (in case we still need to hike a bit), and of course... our CAMERA!! ;) hihi goodluck on your exam tomorrow! seeyaaa xx