Alicante

Alicante is a very pleasant Mediterranean resort town. It could easily fit on the French Riviera.
The town itself is on a rather flat ground, but it is lying at the feet of a small mountain range. A castle is perched on the very top of the highest mountain. We walked the seaside promenade shaded by palm trees to the tunnel that was an entrance to the castle. At the end of the tunnel there was no light but a machine to buy tickets for the elevator to the castle. The machine had a big sign posted on it that stated  it was presently out of order and the lift, therefore, was free.
The castle on top was very tidy, nicely landscaped, and offered bird’s eye views of the city. We skipped the elevator down and walked the considerable height back to the promenade paved with a wavy mosaic. The wavy mosaic surface looked like a newer version of the mosaic pavement I saw in Lisbon but, even if it were plagiarized, it still looked nice in this setting.
Alicante’s old quarter is compact and well kept. The old buildings are nicely restored; the main square is stately, with dancing fountains in the middle. There is a Dali sculpture in the main entrance hall of the City Hall. I am not a big fan of Dali, finding him a bit primitive in his expression and deliberately trying to provoke the viewers, but I would not turn down this particular sculpture if the town hall decided to present it to me.
Compared to Cartagena, the town is pleasantly laid out. The streets turn and lead to plazas. Everything is located on slightly different levels and at different angles, offering peek-a-boos of other buildings. There are steps leading to higher streets, and the castle on the hill is visible through the apertures between and above the houses.
We went back to the wavy-surfaced promenade under the palm trees and walked along the sea away from the castle The buildings facing the promenade varied in appearance: some were older and more ornate, others – impersonal cinderblocks that are, unfortunately, an eyesore in almost every town. Nothing can beautify them much as you try.
The promenade turned into a little park where, in addition to a children’s playground, there was an adult playground of exercise equipment. Some were very cool and unusual – we tried them out. They were fun to use yet really worked your muscles.
This park is  100+ years old, and so are some of the ancient ficus trees. These graceful giants stretched their gnarled roots far on the ground. Other roots were hanging off the branches trying to reach the ground to create a new trunk and join the mighty trunks already formed by several such former roots, now united.
Across the street, a rather plain-looking restaurant offered a nice view of the marina, the promenade, and the mountains above. The view was so much better thanks to the veil of masts obscuring the ugly cinderblocks.
This town, pleasant as it is, does not have to be added to the list of places to see before you die, but not a bad port to visit while on a cruise.

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