Photo Post: Visiting Alicante, Spain, for the Friends, Not the Museums

Alicante, Spain
Old town Alicante

Some cities you go to for the sights, others for the fun, still others for the friends. When I went to Alicante on the Spanish Mediterranean coast back in March, it was for the friends, and I don’t regret it at all.

Alicante, Spain
Dinner with us international kids

Also called Alacant in the local Valencian Catalan language, Alicante is one of the biggest cities in the country and a big home base for beach bums in the summer. For many years now, it has also been a popular study abroad destination for students at my alma mater, Ouachita Baptist University. So when I learned that a handful of acquaintances and fellow Spanish majors would be in Alicante the same time I was in Spain, I decided to try and have our paths cross at least once! That chance came the first weekend in March when I was visiting Valencia, two hours to the north. On my way back home, I swung by Alicante for two nights and had a great time simply hanging out in town.

Alicante, Spain
Pretty neighborhood in the old town

Visiting college friends in Alicante was a nice change from the usual monument-museum-eating pace I had gotten accustomed to in my travels: we got coffee, hot chocolate, and ice cream together; had Indian food and pizza; strolled the beachside esplanade; and even went to the local Protestant church, an anomaly in nominally Catholic Spain.

Alicante, Spain

But even though I missed out on quite a few touristy things I wanted to see—things like the archaeology museum, cathedral, and art museum—I loved the surreal experience of spending time with friends who I had met in a small college in rural Arkansas…in a completely different environment on the other side of the world. They did take me up to the top of a mountain to see a castle, though, which I am always up for!

Alicante, Spain
Walking down from the Santa Bárbara castle

Would I have visited Alicante had my friends from college not been studying abroad there? To be honest, probably not—although that’s not to say I didn’t like the city. Perhaps I would have enjoyed it more in the summer, when I could have soaked up some rays on the beach, or had I been able to hit up the much-hyped museums, but Alicante wasn’t terribly compelling during the couple of days I spent there. Nevertheless, I’m grateful that the city provided an opportunity for a Ouachita Tiger meetup across the ocean.

What was your favorite picture from this post? Have you ever gone somewhere to see someone and not something? Tell me about your story in the comments below!

Alicante, March 2013

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