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Summer Fun in Altea Spain

21 Aug
Summer in Altea's Casco Antiguo with craft booths

Summer in Altea’s Casco Antiguo with craft booths

While Altea (Spain) always has many entertaining activities, summer brings additional fun offerings. Ever a music fan, I appreciate the variety of city-sponsored live bands playing at various outdoor venues, including 40’s style Big Band, jazz fusion with a Mohawk-sporting accordion and keyboard player, flamenco, regional (Valenciano) folk music, to mention a few. I also went to a rock jam session held on Sunday afternoon at a local tram station, which had an eclectic, inviting atmosphere.

 

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One of the 60 mural paintings hanging from balconies in Altea’s Casco Antigua

In Altea’s hilltop Casco Antiquo, (Old Town), the church plaza and the walkway to it, which are sparsely filled during the winter months (as exemplified my Facebook cover photo), are now packed with throngs of visitors and locals. This month in Casco Antiguo there are a display of 60 painted murals by different artists which hang off balconies, hence named Balconades d’Altea. Also during the summer in Casco Antiguo, there are many artisan craft booths featuring various types of original art, jewelry, leather and more. Most restaurants in Casco Antiguo are open for the summer season, with many types of cuisine available such as Spanish, French, Italian, and other ethnic cuisines.

 

 

 

L'Olla fireworks

L’Olla fireworks

In June, we had the San Joan (Valenciano) for St. John festival, which features water-inspired activities, including parades and midnight bonfires at the beach, which normally are prohibited. Another popular summer beach activity is the spectacular firework display, Castell de l’Olla, over the Mediterranean. People head down to the beach with beverages and/or picnics for the midnight show, which this year lasted over 30 minutes. Alternatively, people may watch the show from the comfort of their balconies or terraces, as I did, or a café in Casco Antiguo’s plaza.

 

During the summer, many people enjoy going to temporary, seasonal chiringuitos, beachside bars/restaurants, which offer full service food and beverages with tables, and shade, if desired. I recently went to bonavida, a great chiringuito on the beach where I love their fried fish and seafood plate. (I recently posted a short video from it on my Facebook.) On many of the beach areas, there are lounge beach chairs and umbrellas available for rent.

 

One of the water sports marinas in Altea

One of the water sports marinas in Altea

There are many water sports available with a number of seaside businesses offering such activities as snorkeling, diving, kayaking, boat rental, sailing lessons, fishing, kitesurfing, and more. I love snorkeling, and every Christmas school vacation, I took my three sons to warm spots with good snorkeling, such Australia, Belize, Hawaii, Mexico, and various Caribbean islands. The Mediterranean in Altea is warmest in July and August, reaching 25C/80F degrees. For me, that is an ideal snorkeling temperature, so I scheduled a boat snorkeling tour this past week. It was postponed due to unusual rain, so I went the following day. The water was not as clear as I was hoping and the sea life not as vibrant to those which I am used to, but it may have partially been due to the recent rain. I enjoyed it anyway. There are also places to snorkel right off the beach without a boat. The dive center from which I took my snorkeling trip was located at Greenwich Marina/ Pueblo Mascarat. It was my first visit there, and I discovered new restaurants, and live music venues, including one, Macao, with outdoor lounge seating, which I plan to soon attend.

 

In the towns adjacent or near Altea, there are also many activities. This week-end there is the three day Festes de L’Albir, (Fiesta of Albir) with a car parade, children’s activities, food and beverage stand, music, games, and walk to the iconic lighthouse. Several bars in the Albir beach area offer live music, including soul, Latin, rock, comedy to name a few. Bar Cuba is one of my favorite spots, which offers complimentary bachata or other types of Latin dancing at 2000 on Saturday evening, and live Latin music for dancing Saturday and Sunday evening. They also feature other dance lessons throughout the week such as kizomba, salsa, line dance, and mambo for a nominal fee. I enjoy the instructive and professional complimentary bachata

Salsa class at Bar Cuba with Ray

Salsa class at Bar Cuba with Ray

lessons with Andres Ledesma so much, I took some small class private lessons with him.

 

What are your favorite summertime activities?

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Travelling Solo as a Female

24 May
altea

Altea, Spain

Travelling alone as a woman is something I take for granted. And moving solo from the Central Coast of California to the small Mediterranean town of Altea Spain was not something I considered that challenging, other than the practical logistics. Therefore, I have been surprised when I have received many comments telling me how “brave” I am.

Adventurous with wanderlust, yes, but brave?

 

I have travelled to almost 40 countries worldwide, many times solo and also with my three sons while they were children. When reflecting on those travels, I tell myself I must have been crazy to take one or all three young boys by myself to places such as Kenya, Australia, Italy, France,Turkey, Belize, Jamaica, Mexico, etc.

 

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Family swimming at Palapa Bar, Ambergris Caye, Belize

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Palapa Bar: Ambergris Caye, Belize

As I prepared to move to Spain, I chose to sell my large home, luxury car, and virtually everything I own, except a few kitchen items, but most importantly, family photos and videos. I was overwhelmed with the many photos and videos, which were too numerous to transport. I decided to have them scanned but because there were so many I had to choose which ones to take. I experienced unexpected happiness while reviewing our family travels. Travelling with children can obviously distract one from paying attention to environmental cues, but I guess I was lucky.

 

As a retired forensic psychologist who evaluated and testified on violent and sexual offenders, I am by no means cavalier when it comes to personal safety, particularly as a single woman. Here in Altea, I am often out late at night, as are many other females. Whether female or male, it is important to first know the safety of the area where you are. Certain cities are well-known for pick pockets, assaults, etc., and certainly researching the crime and safety of your destination should be an important part of travel planning. And go with your gut. If you suddenly feel an uneasy or fearful feeling, react accordingly. Do whatever will restore your sense of being safe by doing such things as getting to a safe public place, or hailing a cab rather than walking.

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Palais Garnier: Paris Opera House

 

Some advocate finding a travel partner if one is a female travelling solo, but I would rather travel alone than risk having a toxic travel partner. That is exactly what happened to me when I took a rare cruise which started in Rome and then went to the Aeolian Islands. LuLu, who I had met on a Greek Islands cruise, was interested in going on the Italian cruise. The tour started in Rome. During a private tour (her demand) of the Coliseum, she repeatedly interrupted the tour guide, telling her to move on. Both the tour guide and I were shocked at her rude behavior. The tour guide said she had never seen anyone that rude. Not one for conflict, I disengaged myself from LuLu as much as possible the rest of the trip, which was difficult as she was my roommate.

 

Travelling alone enables me to more easily meet people, something I increasingly relish. Coming full circle, today I am waiting for the arrival of my 20 year-old son to my home in Spain. He will spend the summer with me. I hope we can travel to some of Spain’s many historic and beautiful sites, that is, if I can pull him away from the young ladies.