Alicante – Cristianos vs Moros

There is almost some kind of festival going on in Spain every day. In Alicante and in many other Southern Spanish cities, there is a multi-day festival that commemorates the recapture of Christian Spain from the Moors.

Celebrations and parades happened over a couple of nights that I saw. A bit like Mardi Gras, each neighborhood has it’s “krewe.”

Full of color, sound, fireworks and even fire breathers, it’s a visual feast.


Guessing that the Moors were in blue and Christians in red. Go Red : > )

Alicante – Why Americans Retire To Spain

Not usually listed in guide books as a must see place, Alicante turned out to be a perfect place to unwind in-between visits to Barcelona, Madrid and other high energy tourist stops. With a view of the Mediterranean Sea from my friends apartment balcony, how could you not fall in love with this place.

Out the back window Santa Barbara Castle dominates the skyline. My friends were wonderfully generous to open their place and serve as guides to this charming city. Their apartment is in the building at left.

Alicante is a sailing town. Whether you want to learn how or are a world class sailor, this is the place to be. Especially every 2 years when the Volvo Ocean Race begins. For the last few years Volvo and the organization that puts this race on have chosen Alicante to be the start. 

7 boats, 45,000 miles, 9 months with intermediate (day racing) in 12 different ports. This is not for Sunday sailors. It’s also a deep pockets kind of event for those who sponsor a boat.

Like most good sized Spanish cities, Alicante has a broad pedestrian walkway.  The Esplanade of Espana for the most part is the border between the beach and the town.

Adjacent to the promenade is Canalejas Park with its 100+ year old ficus trees – their girth and leafy spread is impressive. Mediterranean living at its best.

Madrid This & That

One can cover a lot of ground in four days in Madrid without ever going outside its core. Here are a few things (of many more) that caught my eye.

This is Madrid’s version of Times Square. There are more large screens on the Plaza Callao on the far edge of the square. 

Serendipity put me in front of this building as the noon carillon began sounding. It was the start of a delightful musical and mechanical procession of characters from Spain’s past. Leading the parade at left is a famous bullfighter, Manola, then King Carlos III and the painter Goya. The show spread out on the balcony well past the boundaries of this photo.

Spain is close to 90% Catholic. It makes sense then that there are stores for priests and religious.

I shouldn’t have been surprised by finding yucca in Madrid. Though it can get cold, this is what it means to have a Mediterranean climate – nearly the same parallel as Northern California.

Have a restaurant with rollup doors and windows? Turn them into a clever element in a mural. There were a number of other tromp l’oeil tricks in Madrid including a windowless four story building that was transformed into charming apartments with paint.

What, you thought Spain was all about neat old buildings and wonderful food? No, among others they have the “Green Dogs Motorcycle Club.” Ride On!