Just returned from a 5 day break that consisted of 3 days at the Eurostars Mediterrenea Plaza Hotel and two days on board an Ocean going yacht.
The Eurostars Meditterenea Plaza Hotel is a hidden gem of a hotel in a lovely Spanish Town on the Costa Blanca, only 15 Minutes Taxi ride from the airport. From the outside it is difficult to discern how nice this little hotel is. It is situated at the corner of a large square that is only a 2 minute walk from the Marina, Beach, promenades and some restaurants. There is a small reception area with very welcoming staff and a lift to all floors. The Bedrooms are spacious and spotlessly clean with beautiful marble bathrooms. There is no restaurant, but the Hotel has a large breakfast room where they serve a buffet breakfast each morning typically Spanish style. This means that you can choose from all the sweet things that locals like in addition to Spanish Ham and eggs. There is certainly ample to choose from.
Alicante is spread out over quite a large area and has a lot of narrow streets with hidden authentic restaurants. It is worth spending some time discovering them, in addition to the countless Tapas Tavernas. A visit to the castle is a must for the panoramic views. It is a bit of a monster climb to walk to, however there is a lift that will take you to the top for under 3 euros return per person and there is no charge to visit the castle. The beach area is busy and lively but has a Spanish feel, it is certainly not Benidorm.
My main reason for visiting Alicante was to face a challenge and hopefully learn a new skill. I enrolled on a two day Start yachting training course with a RYA approved training yacht with Costa Blanca Sailing. It was one of the most thrilling and best experiences of my life. Walter the Skipper put me at ease as soon as I boarded my new residence for the next two days and nights. There was a very in depth safety briefing before i was put straight to work. This was not going to be a pleasure cruise, this was going to be hard work and not for the light stomached. Living accommodation on a 43ft long Yacht is cramped and I was one of a group of 3 novices plus two experienced yachtsmen. The other two novices were a cargo ship worker and an easy jet pilot, how diverse is that. Sailing started after only an hour of being on board and consisted of a Sail to Tabarca Island. Winds were strong at 20 Knots and we were getting a speed of around 8 knots with an inclination of the yacht of around 15 to 17 %. Whilst travelling to the Island we took turns steering, understanding sea terms, parts of the boat, rigging and sails. Once we arrived at the Island we had lunch and a swim and then learnt how to tie certain knots that I had forgotten about as a boy scout.An important aspect of our sail was man overboard training. This training was continuous into the next day after a good nights sleep in my cabin. Linen and towels were supplied. Facilities on board are crude, however there was a nice shower block directly on the pontoon close to the Yachts berth. Lunch is provided and you are left to your own devices in the evening. There are a number of good restaurants very close to the Marina, however on one of the nights we were treated to a home made couscous that the skipper had made.
The whole two day course was a RYA yachtmaster scheme approved course and I would highly recommend using a RYA approved instructor if you want to take sailing up. In summary It was a cracking 5 days in Alicante, a bit scarey at times but I am so proud of myself that I have done it.