You can walk dramatically through the walls at the foot of large Mount Benacantil, upon which sits Castillo Santa Barbara, a fortification that centres within the costal city of Alicante. Having perfect views of the Moorish feature from our rooftop pool, we were all keen and eager to visit the top.
A sci-fi style tunnel has been ploughed through the rock, leading to a small elevator taking you 25 metres upwards through the mountain to the final summit, which when reached is worth the nail-biting pressures of the jam- packed lift. Santa Barbara Castle has everything you would expect, cannons, a palace, dungeons, a moat, the ruins of a small church and of course a famous lookout tower. The views are mind blowing and we spend around an hour picking out points we recognise around the city and beyond.
With our feet firmly on solid ground it was time to check out the hotel and make our way towards Los Montesinos and our Spanish family home, the final destination of our Spanish experience. Los Montesinos is a traditional Spanish town situated around a 15 minute drive from the southern coast of Costa Brava, the town overlooks the giant salt lakes of Torrevieja known as Laguna Salada de Torrevieja and Laguna Salada de la Mata, whilst passing the lakes we witnessed wild flamingos feed, this vibrant environment makes for an incredibly healthy climate.
Having visited the town over the past ten years, I enjoy finding out about recent developments and listening to stories of how far the small place has come- it’s unrecognisable from my first visit all those years ago. I also carry a lot of memories here and my heart felt heavy as I look around the house at old pictures of Ruby and my sisters and the lovely holidays we have shared here together. Although my Dad keeps the house modern and contemporary, I still feel as though I step back in time as visions of a baby Ruby crystallise in my mind and I am grateful we have this place to share with each other.
The local Chinese is the best I have eaten and you would be pushed to spend more than 20Euros to feed three people- including wine. A meal of hot and sour soup, steamed dumplings, noodles and chilli seafood, washed down with sangria and schnapps. It feels great to let Ruby lead the way around a neighbourhood she has grown up in. The small square in the central of town draws the locals, elderly gentlemen gather to play traditional games as young kids look on in wonderment. The language barrier disappears here for Ruby and it’s easy for her to get involved in the games.
We finish the night in Torrevieja, watching the sunset at the marina and then on to the fair.
Long live the VEF and I’m so comfortable here Queen