Alicante - City of Moors

Trip Start Nov 01, 2010
Trip End Nov 29, 2010

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Where I stayed
Cunard's Queen Elizabeth

Flag of Spain  , Valencian Country,
Monday, November 22, 2010

Today on our tour we explored Alicante – a bustling, cosmopolitan city with a fascinating Moorish past.

We visited the Moorish Castle of Santa Barbara, one of Europe's largest medieval fortresses. Set high on Benacantil Hill, we gazed down from the castle battlements over the city and surrounding coastline. A panoramic drive then took us down to the San Juan Beach, where we stopped for a refreshing glass of Sangria, in a dodgy little cafe.

We were then taken to the baroque-style Monastery of Santa Faz, with its pyramid-shaped dome.  Inside the Monastery, they have a relic brought from the Vatican in the 15th century which, as tradition has it, is actually a cloth used by Christ to dry his bloodied face during the Stations of the Cross. It was very quiet inside they monastery - it is a silent order.

A guided stroll took us through the charming old Moorish quarter, nestling at the foot of the imposing Castle. The Cathedral Church of Saint Nicholas has an austere renaissance fašade, and inside  we  discovered a magnificent 17th century nave and 15th century cloister. 

On the beautiful palm-lined Esplanade of Spain, with really effective paving that was like an optical illusion, we had a sample of the local speciality - Horchata, a sweetened milk of crushed tiger nuts.

We also saw the impressive 18th century baroque Town Hall, before some free time for souvenir shopping.
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