I have had these pictures loaded for MONTHS and was gleefully reminded of Alicante tonight when a friend reached out to get info for a friend of hers who is traveling there.
What? You want ME to talk about ALICANTE? Do you have 12 years and endless patience because I could seriously go on and on and on and on and on....
You get the idea!
So I was inspired by this guy's pending trip and thought maybe we could all whisk back in time together to April of last year when Brian, Dana and me were smack dab in the middle of our very own Alicante adventure.
Remember Part 1 and Part 2 of the trip so far? A fabulously serendipitous afternoon with my host mom of 10 years ago and a nice and sweaty climb up the castle...
Well, here's the rest of the story!
After an afternoon overflowing with sweet surprises from the Universe and sprawling views of the city, we headed back to our little apartment to clean up and get ready for a proper Saturday night on the town.
And just as we were freshening up, we heard an ear-bursting BANG from the street outside our little cave apartment. Dana opened the little window on our door and smoke came billowing in...what the hell?
Of course it was a full on parade. (Claro!) Of course they were setting off firecrackers in advance of the marching band. (Claro!) And offfff cooooourse there was an overly-friendly, English-speaking British woman who saw us peek our heads out and invited us to march along. (CLARO! And only in Alicante...)
So I'm not even kidding, folks. We paused the whole cleaning up routine, grabbed the camera, and marched along in the parade!
Turns out they were crowning the queen of the barrio...which was a very special ordeal because it hadn't been taking place for the last 8 or some odd years.
So we followed the entourage all the way up to the little chapel on the hill where there was food, drinks, revelry, and of course costumed, dancing children. It was absolutely spectacular. The chairs were lined with proud parents, cameras and video recorders steadily capturing the magic...cigarettes dutifully perched on lips. Classic. Spain.
Then it was finally time for the big crowning! Check out her dress! The textile on top of her skirt is the same as on her shoes.
We stuck around just long enough for the speeches and the obligatory beauty queen wave. I tried to translate the best I could for Brian and Dana, but I was honestly so distracted by how freaking awesome this whole day had been. First we run into my host mom and spend the afternoon making tortilla espanola. Then we climb my favorite castle perched over one of my favorite cities. NOW we were invited into a parade and watching a legit neighborhood beauty queen being crowned. Seriously cool!
After we left the chapel we found a little route to the restaurant Brian had been trying to reach from the castle. We were exhilarated from our amazing day and ready for some vino and some sweeping sunset views of the city and the Med.
But when we got there the place was closed and they were setting up for a wedding! Sad for us...freaking amazing for whoever was getting married overlooking Alicante!
No pasa nada. We went back home, got cleaned up, grabbed a bite, and prepared for an epic Saturday night in Alicante.
First stop? Well, Mulligan's of course.
My study abroad friends and I had passed many hours at this bar (as well as another one called O'Connell's which was sadly closed), and I had to revisit one college cocktail that could not be easily forgotten...the Irish Car Bomb.
Brian and Dana had agreed to my little trip down memory lane to kick off our night, but unfortunately there'd been a few staff changes in the last 9 years (imagine that) and somehow the current bartenders at this IRISH pub did not know what in the hell an IRISH car bomb was.
Ay dios mio!
Seriously? And on top of that, I don't think they had one of the key ingredients...you know, the IRISH beer...or the IRISH whiskey...or maybe it was the IRISH cream.
Nevertheless, we were not deterred. We went next door to Murphy's, another conveniently placed Irish bar and tried again. Sadly these people were just as clueless, but they at least had the right makings for the drink.
See Brian at the far right at the bar in the photo below? Well, he was there for probably a solid 5-7 minutes trying to explain to these people how to make this drink. Seriously? What is wrong with today's college kids? Are you not going on your study abroad trips partying in Irish bars getting hammered drinking Irish car bombs? Really? Reeeallly?
By the time we finally got to the drinking of this tasty beverage we had attracted quite an audience. Brian said the only thing funnier than explaining the drink to the bartender and the onlookers at the bar was watching her try to figure out how to ring it up. Yes, we probably paid 10 euro each ($15) for those drinks, but I was going to have my damn Irish Car Bomb! We're talking nostalgia here people!
Drop the shot....
Down the hatch! Yum, yum and a very full tum-tum!
What followed is pretty self-explanatory from the montage of photos below....a good, old-fashioned Saturday night in Alicante! Bar-hopping, people-watching, cocktail-sipping, and great-time-having!
The Texas kids are still representing! :)
Pregnant 2012 Kayla is looking back at drinking, traveling, fun-having 2011 Kayla and sighing a little. But I am OH-SO thankful that Brian and I had that time in Spain last year!! What a magical few months to put on the books before baby!!
And I'm pretty sure Dallas Dana is looking at Spain Dana and getting a pretty big smile right now too.... :)
The routine in Alicante is the barrio until about 3am...followed by the puerto for late night dancing...maybe some kebab eating...and back in the day we'd throw in a little late-night swimming. Spoiler alert...2011 Kayla did not get in that cold-ass water. She left that to 2002 Kayla.
La Biblioteca (pictured above) was one of our study abroad haunts...still there!
Walking down the Rambla toward the puerto...
I had forgotten about this huge majestic tree! Sigh. Another little Alicante gem that brought a smile to my face.
I needed to pee really bad and lo and behold there was a casino at the puerto! When did that get there? So Dana and I thought it would make for a fun bathroom stop...
And was it ever! This little cutie was on the inside door of the bathroom stall to keep you company while you did your business. How thoughtful.
I devoured a vegetarian version of the kebabs that I used to eat so often late-night, and we did a little dancing at one of the discos on the puerto just for good measure. I think I finally had to call it a night around 6am...late for US standards...pretty weak for Alicante standards. I had expected to walk home with the sun, but lo and behold I'd gotten lamer in my 9 years since living in Alicante.
We walked home to this gorgeous sight of the castle at night and prepared ourselves for a lazy day lounging on one of my favorite beaches...