My friends and I have come to the conclusion that Alicante isn’t that big. Sunday morning I took a needed run throughout the city. Out of my group, I have a better sense of direction in comparison to others. I was able to navigate myself to climb up the back side of the castle to the very top, back down to the beach/pier, and around the out of the city all in about an hour and a half. Granted- I got a little turned around towards the end but it was no trouble once I found my bearings. Later, enjoying the beautiful weather by the beach, I must have run into over eight CIEE students.
Despite the seemly small city, you still have to walk everywhere. I live in San Blas, which I recently discovered is pretty far from the center of the city. I wish I was a bit closer, but all this walking is definitely beneficial. Sometimes it’s nice, especially now that the weather is getting warmer. But there are definitely time I wish I didn’t live so far. Taxi’s are tempting because they’re inexpensive and readily available. However, that five euros could easily be spent somewhere else. Which brings me to my next point…
Living in a city is expensive. I’m not doing terribly at the moment but I’m a little more cautious because I’ve never had to spend money like this before. It’s difficult especially one the weekend when you want to go out and have fun with your friends. Nobody wants to sit inside and do nothing. Especially since it’s so much fun to hang out together! It makes it even more difficult because going over to a friend’s isn’t really a part of Spanish culture. I wouldn’t call the home-life private, but it is much more common to be with other people outside. The Spanish are a very social people.
Then there’s transportation costs. I mentioned the taxis, but I have to take the bus to and from school everyday. You pay for a certain amount to get a number of trips. I think I only have a few left and will soon have to refill it. Also, while living in Europe, it’s very evident that it’s easy to take advantage of the proximity of other awesome great cities in Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, even the British Isles. These also add up very quickly… without even realizing there’s an exchange rate.
On top of all these things you have the random stuff like a membership to a terrible gym that looks like it hasn’t been updated since the 1980′s. Also, random necessities: shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash. Back at home I said I would just buy these things while here. Now that I’m starting to run low on the travel sized products I brought to hold me over- I’m thinking I’ll probably just purchase the cheapest products I can find. Seriously, hopefully along with learning Spanish, I’ve been dealt a taste about what it’s like to live on your own in a city. I don’t even have a job! I can’t imagine how expensive living in even bigger cities must be. New York, London, Paris; I might have to wait a while before I’m parking myself in one of these megalopolises.
On a lighter note… We discovered many of Alicante’s little gems this weekend. Friday night, we experienced this great seafood place where we could pick the kind of seafood we wanted and how we wanted it prepared. Also, there was an amazing little Sicilian gelato place near buy that is amazing! We went to two great clubs- Carpe Diem and 5 Avenida (which doesn’t open until four and you need a wrist band).
The next night I watched a Manchester United match with a new friend in a bar called Route 66- probably only one of handful of places that have ESPN. For dinner we went to an Italian place called Sal y Pepe, had the best pasta I’ve ever had. It had bacon and mushrooms in a creamy sauce. Very reasonably priced as well. Sunday I discovered all the cute cheapo little stands that random items like bracelets, bags, scarfs, clothes. Then all the fake designer sunglasses and watches. That night- we found the best, authentic Indian food I’ve ever had. And I can say that because I’m friend from India approved! We were craving a little spice because honestly, the Spanish are dead afraid to have their roof’s lite. It’s not so much that the cuisine is bland… it could just use a little something sometimes (My friend from India is even considering buying a bottle of hot sauce to carry around, if only she could find it in the market!). Overall, a great weekend. I’m looking forward to much more!