The Other Side of the Camera

5 Oct

Amiguitos!

Although I’ve now been here for 5 weeks, I still never fail to appreciate the beauty of what I see each and every day.  In my opinion, I don’t believe I could have chosen a better place to spend my semester abroad, especially geographically speaking.  Alicante is a Mediterranean port city situated along the gorgeous Costa Blanca—a 150 mile stretch of white-sand beaches, crystal blue water, and rocky coves.  I attempt to document its breathtaking beauty by taking photos—yet, even that is not enough to do it justice.  However, I’m still going to try to do my best to adequately share with you the true treasures of this wonderful place!

Alicante: As you’ve already heard me say a million times, Alicante is absolutely beautiful.  Right outside my window I can see palm trees, and I am literally only a two minute walk from the Mediterranean Sea.  Among other things, nearly all buildings, fountains, and sidewalks are made out of marble.  However, this poses a slight hazard when wearing sandals—I’ve nearly fallen a few times, but then again, I’m clumsy anyway.  Aside from the beautiful beach, marble sidewalks, and impressive fountains, there is the Castillo de Santa Barbara.  This Moorish castle is situated on top of a 550 ft. tall rocky mass, opposite La Playa de Postiguet.  I have had the opportunity to hike all the way up to the very top—quite the workout—and the view was absolutely breathtaking.  I was surrounded by the massive mountains in the distance, while looking out and over the ever-so-blue Mediterranean.  Certainly, “vale la pena”.

La Isla de Tabarca: When you think of “Mediterranean”, think La Isla de Tabarca.  About two weeks ago, my friends and I decided to embark on a journey to this island we had heard so much about.  Getting there was fairly easy—just hopped on a boat located in the port, and away we went.  However, upon arrival, I instantly regretted not bringing my walking shoes.  While one part of the island of course has a beautiful sandy beach, most parts are lined with rocky coves, sharp grass, and some historic ruins.  It’s everything I would expect Mediterranean to look:  beautiful water, seafood, cliffs, palm trees, sand, white buildings, and rubble.  My favorite place?  The rocky coast.  I remember walking along a cliff, with nothing but a rocky cove below far below, and just looking across the Mediterranean, as if it were never-ending.  In that moment, I realized that for such a long time, I had often dreamed of a place where I could do exactly this:  stand alone on a cliff and overlook the sea.  I had finally found that place.

Guadalest: In addition to beaches, the Alicante Province is also very fortunate to have a beautiful mountain range.  Our program actually had this trip planned for us, and it was quite a memorable one for me since it was my very first time ever in the mountains—seriously!  I remember the bus driving up the corkscrew path, as I watched the ground just slowly drift away.  Once arriving, we took a tour through the Casa Orduña, settled at the base of El Castillo de San José.  Casa Orduña  is the noble house of the parish church from the 17th Century.  Although much of the home has undergone renovation, it still holds authentic items, such as beautiful ceramics.  After our tour, we began the climb up what seemed like a never-ending stairway to the Castillo—the top of the mountain!  Once arriving at the top, all I could do was stare in awe.  Although nearly nothing remains of the castillo itself, the view was to die for.   The town of Guadalest in itself is located at 595 meters above sea level, so you can only imagine how high of an elevation we were at.  What stood out to me the most was seeing the bright turquoise Río de Guadalest—that’s right.  Not ocean blue.  Not baby blue.  BRIGHT turquoise.  It was absolutely incredible, and I can’t wait to venture back to the mountains again.

I hope now you at least have somewhat an idea of what a treasure Alicante is.  I still have so much to see, and I can’t wait.  All I know is that I can’t think of any other place off the top of my head where I could enjoy both swimming in the Mediterranean Sea and hiking in the mountains, all in the same day.  I obsessively googled this place before arriving here, and I can honestly say it’s even more beautiful than the pictures.  This proves that in order to truly appreciate what’s on the other side of the camera, you really just have to see it for yourself.

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