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Alicante

Six Days
Friday-Thursday

Beaches are here, and more beaches. Historical spots do exist along this Costa Blanca part of Spain, of course; but it's the seashore in warm weather that draws hordes of people here, to splash and cook their skin and flirt. Because we'll gladly miss that season, we will have relatively uncrowded sand to wriggle our toes in. It's the single exception to our usual people-watching pastime. The purpose of coming to the beach, is to enjoy the magnificence of motion in constantly undulating and sloshing of salt water. Masses of sweating bodies dilute that sense of awe.

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One thing you see everywhere, here, is stone. Slate, to be exact. Building walls and roofs, occasional paving, often intermixed with field rocks to make un-mortared walls between pastures. I love the slightly wild hominess of it. Plentiful chimney pots poke up .

There is a castle nearby, of course, with spectacular views of harbor and habitations below. For the casual visitor it would be hard to separate 9th C. Moorish origins from Spanish rebuilding and revisions during the 1200s after the reconquista. How interesting, though, to peer through portals such as this one, and imagine sieges and bombardments being withstood through the centuries.

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Of the several varieties of neighborhoods here, this row of retro apartment buildings is the sort we plan to spend time around — both overnights in our cozy apartment and on daytime strolls along tiled streets reserved for those of us content to marvel at ordinary things while afoot.

Tapas and more tapas abound nearby for the foodies among us.

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The grand size of this ficus macrophyllus is not so much the story of one lucky sapling thriving in Alicante's downtown soil with a fortuitous Mediterranean climate, as it is the good sense of the populace's governors through the years. And I think it is remarkable that clinging to traditional values, urban decision makers of today have continued this centuries-old regard for natural beauty, by cherishing the aesthetics that aged and thriving trees bring into a present-day community setting.

This is us.

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Not far up above this sidewalk, our balcony overlooks a canopied bistro and relaxed visitors passing by. People on their way to the beach, or maybe returning happily refreshed from feeling warm, sloshing sea-waters on thighs — and inevitably sand between their toes.

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Both of these  photos focus on the same subject: the palm tree fronds and belle époque building with tiled cupola above, are the same. A rambla with patterned tile stretches along the Mediterranean shore. A direct route if you're impatient; a wonderful route for those with senses fully engaged.

So, how to depict  our indoors, here? In most respects an apartment is an apartment is an apartment, no matter how euro-modern its fittings. But I think it's the little touches that take rented rooms beyond merely habitable and into the realm of enjoyable. This is well into that coveted second realm.

Now by Iberia Air to BCN and rail to

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They're Going Again!