In our area, at the corner of Carrer Colombia y Avinguda Novelda, at the end of a shady-looking alley, we were in prime authentic location. Google Street View tells the story better than I ever could.
With a welcoming front like this, how is the place not booked solid? Even with no hand towels, no paper towels and being given 1.5 rolls of toilet paper by our generous host, we couldn't really complain at $26/night.
On the whole, Spaniards were friendly enough, especially with Babs, pinching her cheeks and waving at her.
There was no shortage of places to eat. Every other shop is a cafeteria or coffee shop. But far and away our favorite place was El Mosquito.
Let me wax poetic about El Mosquito for a moment. It's small and cozy inside, but not crowded. Bathrooms are upstairs. The wait staff were all incredibly friendly and welcoming without being overbearing. They spoke no English. As the waitress was trying to explain menu del dia to us, other customers were chiming in with the handful of English words in their repertoire to help us all out.
We inquired, in a general way, if the entrees were gluten-free ("sin gluten"), which launched an in-depth conversation that no one involved understood. In an effort to be sure we were satisfied, I suspect they may have gone to the mercado next door to purchase a package of sin gluten breadsticks to serve us. We never felt they resented us for being difficult on so many levels, and the waitresses kept pinching Babs' cheeks and even gave us the rest of the package of sin gluten breadsticks to take home with us.
Find El Mosquito here. Maybe there are better places to go in Alicante, but this was the absolute best, most authentic, charming, delicioso restaurante we visited. Five stars, 10/10 would recommend.
What Not To Do:
Being right on the water, Alicante is a popular destination for tourists. We saw two enormous cruise ships dock at the marina and an influx of English and Dutch retirees and young families disembark for a daily venture through the city.
Castell De San Fernando was not much more than a platform on top of a small hill. Castilla de Santa Barbara, however, was a tourist trap.
Sure, it was cool that the castle was built in the 700s, but what wasn't cool was the crowds of people milling around. Some people are into it, it just happens that the Go Family is not.
You could step inside the "castle" proper into smallish chambers housing old pottery and other exhibits. The view of the ocean and the city was nice, though. The Internets said it would cost us money, but everywhere we walked around was free. Maybe we didn't find the paid portion, maybe it was a free day, who knows? My recommendation: Just Don't Do It.
When ready to depart to our next destination, Albir, about 50 km up the coast, we went to the Luceros train station, situated in central Alicante. The L1 tram goes north until it ends at Benidorm, then simply disembark the tram, go to the other side of the rail, where the L9 begins. The L9 goes further north, to Albir, where we are currently sitting pretty in a sweet Airbnb for the next month. The tram journey cost us 9.70 Euro (Babs was free).
More on Albir in the next post!