Culture

ALICANTE

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I have always loved travelling. Scratch those itchy feet! Yet, not merely travelling for its own sake, but broadening my horizons, drawing inspiration, getting to know new cultures, meeting like-minded people, laying feet in far-flung countries, cities and villages.

Having said that, I am a fervent believer in the saying ”Traveling is the only thing that you buy, but makes you richer.” I am always seeking adventure-packed holidays, yet something meaningful and different to last year’s vacation. This led me all the way to Alicante. Though I’ve already been to Spain, it was my first time therein.

It was through a student organisation, AEGEE, that I applied for this Summer University scheme. The project in its entirety caught my attention! There is something to be said about the prospect of being a student once again – though in a foreign country that is sprawling along the Mediterranean coastline. The lure was too profound to resist!

Colourful street in Alicante, Spain

Colourful street in Alicante, Spain with buildings adorned with murals, potted plants, balconies and traditional Spanish tiles

I booked my ticket, packed and flew to my destination, teeming with anticipation! It was such a pleasant surprise when I realised that I was going to spend a fortnight at a high school gym on a mattress surrounded with young adults such as myself. This was certainly a novel experience for me, one that I was eager to commence! After the first night passed, I readily woke up, prepared to conquer what followed.

Indeed, it might have been a hectic schedule we were on, but otherwise I’m positive we wouldn’t have discovered Alicante to the extent we did. Mingling with people, who I found to have a lot in common with, was an added bonus to the whole experience.

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The SU scheme lent a practical element to my trip, as well. I learnt how to dance Salsa and Bachata; how to prepare the original, traditional recipe of the mouth-watering paella dish and, of course, the highlight was the opportunity I had to polish and perfect my proficiency in Spanish. It almost felt as a home away from home!

In our free time, we went sightseeing. I loved every single bit of these trips! The Alicante Fortress is, in my humble opinion, the focal point of the town. It affords mesmerizing vistas of Alicante; so much so that no photograph is able to aptly depict it grandeur. Simply breath-taking! A sight for sore eyes!

Another aspect Alicante is famous for, unbeknownst to me until then, is its leather goods of premium quality. Moreover, local craftsmen produce hand-made rugs, pottery and wickerwork or remarkable quality as well.

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However, Alicante has to offer more than history. The sandy, golden beaches and the pleasant weather all summer long make for a popular hub for youth visitors. It’s here that most night outs commence, witnessing the sunset and admiring the sunrise the following dawn. Wild, though responsible, partying in the wee hours of the night will be etched forevermore in the memories I have. Furthermore, what I particularly liked is the open-air cinema, where we would spend the late afternoons.

While you are there you can also visit the island of Tabarca where you can go snorkeling and scuba-diving and discover the diverse underwater world of the Mediterranean Sea. Absolutely jaw-dropping!

If I had the chance, I’d do it all over again. In a heartbeat! I befriended and bonded with peers, who I’ve since stayed in touch with. This is the true legacy of the SU, to my mind. Through spending fun times together, you go back home richer – richer in experiences, memories and, potentially, lifelong acquaintances. Come to think of it, it’s the fleeting moments that count, such as basking in the sun, hiking atop the fortress, tasting local dishes for the very first time, learning the steps of the uber popular Spanish dances, practising our Spanish and when night falls, going back and nestling in our gym. It’s a summer vacation I’d warmly recommend to anyone interested spending a fortnight in Spain. Such a nurturing and congenial atmosphere, words aren’t enough to convey! It’s a must for every vibrant and energetic young adult for it surely will change their perspective – for the better!

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Try the limits of your comfort zone. Be resolute and break that barrier for only great fun and exhilarating personal stories untold will betide. There’s nothing to lose, but everything to gain! Book your SU place now!

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Simona Samardzieva, Macedonia

 

 

 

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