Spain and the best of it!

The word Spain and the association to the feeling is just something you cannot let go. Once you encounter the Mediterranean bliss of the Oceana and the right history to it, you immediately start to plan for a holiday there.

Some time ago I wanted to experience the word Mediterranean cuisine and wine, a friend recommended to me, while you are there. You might as well hop over to IBIZA and check that out.

I made contact with my dear friend I met in a combat/war zone. He has recently relocated to the eastern seashore of Spain and has been teasing me with photos for some time now.  Eventually, I was my turn to go an relax and soak up some sunshine. I explained to him my whole plan and itinerary for the time planed in Spain and he assured me of a good time in Alicante if I can make it! The deal is on bro…

Arrived in Barcelona and checked into the accommodation. The accommodation I found via Airbnb very central in Barcelona and close the fresh market and also close to the beach side. The area is called La Rambla – sound rather exciting! This was a great location and could walk to most attractions in the area. I met the owner of the accommodation, whom could bearly speak English. This was ok for me, less chit chat and more time to get in and out. My bags were done, and the sun was about to set. I cooled off in the shower and the room was overlooking a quiet street. but really nice atmosphere and typical Spanish residency architecture room and buildings, which I assumed are more than a 100 years old.

I leaf the building and walk across the street, guess what… the first sign I saw, said?

Cold beer and the best Spanish paella! 

Sold right there, I know this was for me and had to sit down for the late afternoon and relax to absorb the busy street and food under a huge green tree that over hanged a small but busy road.

So many tourists in the area, well this is the most popular area…

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Sipping down on a cold one for the afternoon. 
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This was my first view from the restaurant. 

The beer was great, but time to move on the next adventure and this will be the fresh food market. A place I have heard about for so long ! and knew that I am only going there for one thing right, one thing! and that is the Spanish ham!

Many years ago, I was introduced to the Spanish ham by a friend of mine who was and probably is a big game hunter. I met him and his wife in Zimbabwe while they were out on a Cape Buffalo hinting excursion. I remember the ham was soft and sweet with a nutty flavour to it. Dipped in olive oil and enjoyed with fresh bread as any time snack! He also gave me a pcoket knife that was handmade in Albacete – Spain. So my connection with Spain was pretty interesting and know this is my only opportunity to relive the classic ham, first hand and fresh from the origin.

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The one and only! I saw this and sat down in a small restaurant and ordered the mouthwatering ham!

The market is a packet with people all over the world, this is indeed a place where people have come to live the Spanish cuisine culture. If you ask your taxi driver or anyone in the street where is Mercat de la Boqueria – they will certainly point you in the right direction.

Here are a few photos of the market; Let’s call this HAM HAVEN in this post…

For every world traveller and every diet, you think may exist, there you’ll find the best food suitable and all the products are locally grown. Hold your appetite, you are almost going to buy so much and eat so much that you’ll have enough leftovers for the next few days, to take with you on the next destination…exactly what I did.

I walked home after the expedition to the fresh produce market and put the extra food nicely into the fridge so, I can take it with me tomorrow. First, I wanted to experience how does the evening look like.

As the sun has set and the allies are dark, on the street, the lamps wake up and guide your feet from one street to the other, magical cool summers evening in Spain. trees whispering in the wind and then as every other metropolitan city come the slums of the night. once the Beautifull little shops have closed and the owners went to rest the next set of sales engineers emerge…you thought right, they are very crafty and choosing words to lure you to buy any, and just about any type of drug on the market. This is something you’ll find in every place. My advice is stick to the main roads, use legit taxis and do not make any contact. Be safe out there. things are dangerous for adventure travellers. I am quite street smart and I am from South Africa, so one already has the eye on the back of your head and smiley lingo to tell them to piss off nicely…but some are persistent to make the sale.

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NIght time building

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Early the next day, I was ready with my bags! time for the quick flight to…

Let’s go to the island, let’s go and see the magic of the island, let’s experience the world-renowned island – IBIZA.

Ibiza is a Spanish island in the Mediterranean Sea off the eastern coast of Spain. It is 150 kilometres from the city of Valencia. It is the third largest of the Balearic Islands, an autonomous community of Spain. Its largest settlements are Ibiza Town, Santa Eulària des Riu, and Sant Antoni de Portmany. Its highest point called Sa Talaiassa.

Ibiza has become well known for its association with nightlife, electronic dance music that originated on the island, and for the summer club scene, all of which attract large numbers of tourists drawn to that type of holiday. Several years before 2010, the island’s government and the Spanish Tourist Office had been working to promote more family-oriented tourism, with the police closing down clubs that played music at late night hours, but by 2010 this policy was reversed. Ibiza is a UNESCO World Heritage.

The island has a rich and deep history that is being taken advantage of if your a history savvy here is more detail that will make you appreciate the small island much more than a party spot.

n 654 BC, Phoenician settlers founded a port on Ibiza. With the decline of Phoenicia after the Assyrian invasions, Ibiza came under the control of Carthage, also a former Phoenician colony. The island produced dye, salt, fish sauce (garum), and wool.

A shrine with offerings to the goddess Tanit was established in the cave at Es Cuieram, and the rest of the Balearic Islands entered Eivissa’s commercial orbit after 400 BC. Ibiza was a major trading post along the Mediterranean routes. Ibiza began establishing its own trading stations along the nearby Balearic island of Majorca, such as Na Guardis, and “Na Galera” where numerous Balearic mercenaries hired on, no doubt as slingers,[a] to fight for Carthage.

View of the old town from the port:
During the Second Punic War, the island was assaulted by the two Scipio brothers in 217 BC but remained loyal to Carthage. With the Carthaginian military failing on the Iberian mainland, Ibiza was last used, 205 B.C, by the fleeing Carthaginian General Mago to gather supplies and men before sailing to Menorca and then to Liguria. Ibiza negotiated a favourable treaty (Foedus) with the Romans, which spared Ibiza from further destruction and allowed it to continue its Carthaginian-Punic institutions, traditions and even coinage well into the Empire days when it became an official Roman municipality.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire and a brief period of the first Vandal and then Byzantine rule, the island was conquered by the Moors in 902, the few remaining locals converted to Islam and Berber settlers came in. Under Islamic rule, Ibiza (Yabisah) came in close contact with the city of Dénia—the closest port in the nearby Iberian peninsula, located in the Valencian Community—and the two areas were administered jointly by the Taifa of Dénia during some time (11th century).

Ibiza together with the islands of Formentera and Menorca were invaded by the Norwegian King Sigurd I of Norway in the spring of 1110 on his crusade to Jerusalem. The king had previously conquered the cities of Sintra, Lisbon, and Alcácer do Sal and given them over to Christian rulers, in an effort to weaken the Muslim grip on the Iberian peninsula. King Sigurd continued to Sicily where he visited King Roger II of Sicily.

The island was conquered by Aragonese King James I in 1235. The local Muslim population got deported as was the case with neighbouring Majorca and elsewhere, and Christians arrived from Girona. The island maintained its own self-government in several forms until 1715, when King Philip V of Spain abolished the local government’s autonomy. The arrival of democracy in the late 1970s led to the Statute of Autonomy of the Balearic Islands. Today, the island is part of the Balearic Autonomous Community, along with Majorca, Menorca, and Formentera.

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I love this photo and will certainly frame this for my bar. 

This photo is so iconic, there was actually a queue to get photos done with it! LOL can you imagine in this time of life, I had to queue for a sign to take a memoria…very unlike me but so worth it as we sacrifice some small things in life to enough the long lasting memories.

Arriving at the airport, one could sense the vibration of the beach and how people looked with brown skin, shorts, and sunglasses. The taxi driver was quite eager to get hold of one for the opportunity to rip yet another new holidaymaker off. So what can you do? I loaded my bag and stood outside and told the driver the terms of payment. Why does life have to reach this stereotypical and what cant all people not be honest and make life easier…its probably why there are so many levels of life right!

Let`s get out of there and head to the apartment. and apparently on the quiet side of the island which is great. this section is laid back and a very easy going lifestyle. On the long windy road where one could see, there are many pensioners living on the island. probably some that never left after a party and others who retired due to the lifestyle and proximity and benefits. who will ever know as we all get older and develop different needs from life? There are not many younger people on the street that I could see at this time. But the scenery changed as we progressed on a small dirt road along the coast. We were heading to a boutique hotel. If I could take a black and white photo with my mind it will look something like this.

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There was a specific feeling when you driver here, and feeling of completeness, achievement and satisfaction. Thinking back how hard they partied here back in the day. back in the ’60s, 70’s, ’80s and 90’s this place must have been amazing back then. I’m just smiling in the back of the taxi, realising the place I have set foot on are a legendary island once could only appreciate every piece on it.

I arrived and there she was in all her glory, waiting for the next travel to set foot into the magical world of Ibiza. the hotel was comfortable and well within walking distance to where I wanted to be. First things first. to check in and shower. the humidity has been thick and left me sweaty all the way.

For the afternoon I wanted to see my new neighbourhood and wandered into the small village to grasp the golden sunset and golden mile as they call it. a mile filled with lively bars and cocktails, a place you can find authentic food from every part of the world. as the owner of the restaurants was travelled like me once upon a time…

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And the next few days, all I did was being laid back and enjoy the energy from the earth.

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Golden sunsets are my thing! 

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Made a friendly, friend on the beach. 

As you know it, the Spanish paella followed me just about everywhere I go. All I did was obey and feast on it all day long, like its the first time a kid discovers candy LOL

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Spanish Seafood Paella 

It took me could of days to settle in and relax before I headed to the other side of the island for a party. The word got around quickly there will be a pool party on the go soon and everyone should join in! at one of the most popular beach parties areas.

And so, I did…

The next day I took a taxi to the other side of the island, all ready for a pool party! I could only imagine the thing my eyes are going to see… this should be fun and it was so much fun indeed.

Got there and the music was pumping, security searched me like they would search you for a bom or something. man, this guy was inappropriate, assuming for some elevated substances people might bring in. I was just smiling to think what the fuck people must have smuggled in. Paid my 50eoros for entry, and was told the place is going to be so busy if I leave ill be back in the queue and paid again…well that left this African guy with some reserved comments to my self.

Got in and loved it! 

First thing first, wait in the long ass queue to get a drink and then hit the water! I partied all day long and made wonderful friends and acquaintances.

let the photos talk for them self!

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Dam this made me tired for the day! no food and definitely time for me to head home and get something to eat and take the evening more chilled. I can only emphasis on the fact that this was the latest and greatest time of my life! everyone and I mean everyone is happy. smiles and chats all day long, some are genuine and others are artificial happiness, who cares anyway and whom I am I to judge others happiness. No one really cares on your recipe but everyone wants more of the good tasting cake isn’t it?

I slept like a baby for the evening and the next day took a well-deserved break from the buss and the hassle of town. Remaining by the beach with a cold one and enjoy the freedom of the travels around the world. People seem to enjoy the remote side of Ibiza it’s nice and chilled and the older the people the friendlier it seems to be tho…

So have you ever been to the club here on the island? I was asked by a cute, tanned girl serving drinks at the local beach bar. Overlooking her shoulder with long dark hair over her sholder…almost as if there was some deeper question mark in her eye, I looked at her and grinned, smiling…with my response. no, I haven’t been, why don’t you tell me more about it. And so it started with a great conversation overlooking the sunset and sipping on a cold one. The breeze was cool and the sun warm and the last rays were going to shine over the island for the last time…other people were hanging around the bar as well and everyone is talking randomly to others about what’s happening, almost like a telegram back in the day.

Well, I got all the details and decided, I came here for the experience and yes, I have to go to the club and party all night long. I have to endure the rhythm of the night until the sun came up, it seems normal here and I only have a few days left there to get this done…and so, I did all night long. Throwing back shooter after shooter or I could refer to euro after euro. From the most popular clubs to the biggest clubs with an array of fantasies available right in your face without asking for it. They just arrive like spring blossoms after the first rain.

I must admit this was a memorable experience if you want to see massive clubs with multi-stories and lifts to transport the clubers, bars with different themes ranging from underground to amazon – go to IBIZA! You live once! 

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I didn’t take many photos of the clubs at the time, at the time it was all about the feeling to be right there right now. absorbing the once in a lifetime experience.

As you might have thought, I was sleeping for the next 2 days…exhausted to the bone. not to worry too much as the hotel was looking after me well and serve the right food at the right time. they were so well organised to even have rehydration on hand, just in case you know, get dehydrated.

My time in IBIZA was great, but time has come for me to meet up with my friend in Alicante. The only way there was with the fairy across the sea.

From the port of IBIZA to the other side was a 4-hour ferry ride. this felt like forever and I got super nausea and seasick…the reason is that I was sleeping on the top deck – the highest point of the ferry with the most top swing lol

But made it there. it felt like forever and walked like a duck when I left the boat.

All passengers got off and then I had to walk another 5 km to get the bus in the city centre with no sign marks or indicators I have to ask several people on the way there including the police who was super polite with directions.  Thanx goodness, I was in time and the next bus was about to leave and could get on and then drive another 90km from Denia to Alicante.

The road leading there is long, well it felt long but ain’t that bad. the beautiful mountainous scenery made well up for that, all the way along the coast of Spain. This area is very popular for tourists to come and enjoy long holidays. It is beautiful and calm, the sea is amazingly warm and many things to do as well. along the way one can see the high rise building block of an apartment overlooking the blue ocean, only imagining what it must be like to live here with such a nice view.

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Everyone wants that shining spot, including me!

Driving into Alicante, Alicante, on the eastern Mediterranean coast of Spain, has been a strategic port/fort thousands of years and was settled by the Phoenicians, Romans and Arabs. During the Spanish civil war between July 1936 and March 1939 it was bombarded by the German and Italian air forces in support of the uprising led by General Franco against Spain’s elected Republican government. The air raids were a trial run for the attacks that would become a common feature of the Second World War.

Around 100 air-raid shelters were built in Alicante to shelter the city’s residents and the Refugios Antiaéreos in Plaza Seneca has just recently been restored to give visitors an insight into the horror of what thousands endured during the civil war.

I knew my friend was waiting for me at the bus stop. He and his wife and daughter have recently moved here and still fresh from the USA.

To see them brought so much excitement to me, we haven’t seen each other for quite some time, a couple of years actually.

We met and hugged and looked into the eyes and greeted ! so much fun. He also brought a trolley for the luggage as we are going to walk back home. On the way there he describes his experience and emphasises on the walking culture of the people in the area. and everything else was also walking distance from the apartment he recently bought and was busy, with renovations. The walkways are super convenient and very friendly with road crossings, beaches, parks, cafes all the ways! man, I love this and definitely wanted to come and stay here!

We got to the apartment and this is the view, I’m sold!

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They have actually finished renovation and you can now book this apartment, for your convenience. Link is here.

I’ll be here for the next few days to finally wind off and then fly back from here to Barcelone, to catch yet another flight and then back to Doha. Not much to the think about now, but lets rather drink a beer and eat some fresh ham! Yes, please.

O Wayne, tonight is great fireworks show right here on the beach and we can sit back and enjoy the view from the apartment. But let’s go for a quick dinner in town, it’s only a few minutes of walk and well be in some of the best local restaurants.

I knew the food will be amazing like every other Spanish restaurant I have ever been to. Here are a few photos of the cuisine we feasted on. the setting was filled with laughter, love and families. People seem to so happy and original, I notice this everywhere now… After the meal, well head home settle in to enjoy the firework show. sounds like a deal to me!

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Wringing this blog makes me so hungry right now! lol I might head out later tonight for the same food if I can find it here in the city where I am now.

The ambience was well deserved and the food was yet again world-class serviced and compliments to the chef. There is one thing you’ll have to keep in mind, do not go to any restaurant and rush or be in a rush. The service is slow and good. You can expect to be busy for 4 to 8 hours. So make sure your company is well loaded with verbal diaree..haha

We are back home now, and getting ready for the most convenient fireworks show I have ever seen. On the comfort of your own home. That is a privilege to own font facing property.

The countdown started we could hear the crowds going crazy for it! People were scattered all over the rooftops and beaches to view the show for the event.

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The best photo I could pull off.

This little city of Alicante is really a gem, to experience the culture and cuisine. The city centre is small but packet with cafes and restaurants. Most of the city only start getting to life from 10am every day and quite active until midnight.

The next day we planned to go and see Santa Bárbara Castle and take a swim in the ocean, both of these are only a few minutes of walking from the apartment. Which is super convenient to access most of the day and night. So which one is we going to do first, let’s walk to the castle and then take a swim. This will be great!

No let’s change that plan, first, take a swim and then take a walk to the top, that is a better arrangement!

All packed for the beach, and walk across the road and bam! right there.

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It was nice to cool off and watch the castle and apartment from a different view, a view not many people know of when you are in the water.

It’s time to head back to the apartment and get ready for the walk to the ancient castle.

While we at it lets make a nice lunch out of it when we reach the tranquil ancient gardens fo the castle. All packed up and then we stopped at a small bakery for fresh bread, jam and ham! Also important to pick up a local bottle of wine for lunch.

First, we have to pass through an old section of town, and here are a few photos of the streets we have passed. The history is yet again without fail in every aspect.

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Santa Maria, a gothic temple built on the site of a great mosque and with a single nave full of art and documents dating back to the 13th Century
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Notice the holes in the wall?  What are they? any idea? 
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Still not sure ?
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Look closely…and you will see a cannonball! That was fired from a ship. 

During the War of the Spanish Succession in the first two decades of the 1700s, the castle was attacked from the sea by various forces and there are 4,000 recorded impacts in the walls, with a number of cannonballs still lodged in the brickwork. Can you imagine what it must have been like to live in this era of time? I am sure it was not easy at all.

We started to accent to the top, this is one hell of accent and take time to slowly progress step by step…and you get higher the view changes and improve for the better! I was looking for a photo now, where we are on the route to the top. but could not find that photo now. there you can clearly see the steep steps. one by one.

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This stonework is from the 13th century, still in a good shape!

Taking a break from the climb, let’s check out some of the histories of this castle.

Bronze Age, Iberian, and Roman artefacts have been found on the slopes of the mountain, but the origins of the castle date to the 9th century at the time of Muslim control of the Iberian Peninsula, from 711 till 1296. The Arab medieval geographer Al-Idrisi calls this mountain Banu-lQatil, and the toponym may derive from the words pinna (Arabic for “peak”) and laqanti, the adjectival form of Laqant, the Arabic name for Alicante.

View of the interior.
On 4 December 1248, the castle was captured by Castilian forces led by Alfonso of Castile. It was named after Saint Barbara, on whose feast day the castle was recaptured from the Arabs. It was conquered by the Aragonese in 1296 during the reign of James II of Aragon, who ordered its reconstruction. Peter IV of Aragon, Charles I of Spain and Philip II of Spain would oversee further reconstructions.

Castle of Santa Bárbara in the 19th century.
The castle was bombarded in 1691 by a French squadron. During the War of the Spanish Succession, it was held by the English for three years. In 1873, it was bombarded, along with the city, by the cantonalistas from the frigate Numancia.

From the 18th century, the military role of the castle has declined and it was used sometimes as a prison. The castle remained abandoned until 1963, when it was opened to the public.

Finally, we have now reached the place where we wanted to be for a nice slow picnic.

Let’s unpack and enjoy the fresh food and wine from the well-deserved walk.

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One can see the view from the picnic table., did you note the 3 holes on the right? those where roman squat toilets. Back then they were covered by wood enclosures. 

Lunch was set out with; Fresh local bread and butter. Spanish Ham as usual with fig jam and delicious local wine. This felt like a typical Spanish lunch, overlooking the Mediterranian Sea.

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Its all about family time. 

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Hello 😉 

It has been such a nice lunch here, let’s move on and get back as the sun is getting ready to set. But hang on there is still one nice overlooking area we have to see before we go home.

Enroute from the lunch spot we came across other nice locations within the castle;

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Observe the details of each and imagine the meaning of the symbols

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It is an observation point that overlooks the city and ocean. An iconic point that has seen many feet, and stories. I am sure there must have been thousands of feet here on this point. from soldiers to rulers of the area. this is one of the key vibrations I wanted to feel while here. check out the photo;

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Lets head down to city square and round the day off. its has been magical and beautiful. I cannot think to leave here. The presence of all the surrounding is so amazing. I wish I could stay!

Navigating the steps down in the dark was no problem, the city council has ensured there are lights all the way down, it is also very safe to walk here at night and a tranquil feeling of summer was in the air.

Walking into the main area of the city was alive and busy, so many people and so many tourists in the area. People all over, eating, chatting, drinking, relaxing cafes. The holiday feeling was certainly high on the spirit.

Kata had fun in the water fountain.

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From here we headed home, where I know my days are over and my adventure has ended with high hopes for the next one.

Now that my friend Justin has completed the renovations, you can also book with them on Airbnb. Little Sunny House 2: panoramic sea views 

Renovated 2017, this 140-meter apartment is located directly in front of Postiguet Beach with wide stunning sea views. The apartment has 3 bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large living room and dining area, laundry room, fully equipped kitchen with dishwasher.

WiFi, cable TV, air conditioner. More information, The apartment location is central to Postiguet beach: 1-minute walk to the beach, 5 minutes walk to the old town, marina, promenade, airport shuttle and metro, 10 minutes to the near mall and grocery store.

They will take great care of you while in Alicante and ensure you’ll enjoy the authentic cuisine from the Spanish culture.

Best Regards

Wayne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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