Popeye’s Home Port, Alicante, Spain

Alicante is a beautiful town along the Spanish Mediterranean coast.  It’s no wonder that Popeye calls it home – actually, I’m not sure of that at all, but judging by the number of businesses called Popeye – it must be his home port.

Next time I go to Alicante, I stay at the Popeye Pension

I was astounded to walk down the street in Alicante when I was about to leave town. Readers of my previous blog may remember that several months ago I jokingly proposed that we start a new religion dedicated to Popeye, Yogi, and Felix. Well, perhaps in Alicante, they have already seen the wisdom of this:

Made a new friend on the bus from Valencia, Julio, a juggler from Mexico who has vagobonded everywhere it seems. We got sandwiches upon arriving in Alicante and then I played harmonica while he juggled on the beach. We found a place to stay for 15 Euros each Pension Milano.

Julio got the ‘speak the language upgrade’ with balconey and double room while I was in a closet where the sink didn’t work. Not too bad though, but no internet was a bit of a drag. But it turns out I’ve been spending too much so to get a solo room for the night to figure out my finances, do some writing, and plan out things a little bit was very good.

Here is a complete list of hotels in Alicante with price comparisons from multiple sites and thousands of user reviews. I feel at the moment, like I might be missing something fantastic around any corner here in this tiny town of Alicante (approx. 30K).

Alicante is beautiful. The beach is fantastic and the area where Julio and I found rooms was full of great little bars and cafes where I swear women outnumbered men by at least 3 to 1.

Perhaps there is flamenco being danced around the corner, maybe there is a concert being performed by a lone flugal horn player next to a cathedral accompanied only by the tape recorder and amp next to him, or maybe there is a whole orchestra setting up in a square somewhere and old people gathering around to dance a dance known only to this area.

In any event, there is always something happening in Spain.

I like this place and would like to explore it further but the weather has gotten cold and a beach town is always better when you can enjoy the weather. So I move on to Granada soon.

Meeting Julio was great because this is a guy that is living the way I endeavor to live, and I would say doing so more successfully than I. Somehow, I had forgotten about the spiritual element to travel, the seeking that one has to nurture in order to get the most out of each place.

From Granada, my ever shifting plan has me heading towards Morocco with a stop in Gibralter. I had considered then making my way through Senegal and towards Mali and then across the top of Africa into Egypt and this may still happen, but at the moment, I feel that my course might be better served by going to Morocco and then back to Spain, then to Portugal, on to France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, then Switzerland, briefly back to France, and then to Italy. From Italy to Greece and from Greece to Turkey.

As I gazed in awe at castles perched on barren hills and white stucco farmhouses crouching on the sides of ragged rock formations, I couldn’t help also noticing the man who was seated across the bus from me as he carefully ripped his large map into small sections – that was Julio.

Here is a picture of my friend Julio juggling on the playa while I played harmonica (okay, I paused to snap a picture)

I have the feeling that there is an incredible underground music scene in Alicante, but I will have to wait until my next trip to discover it. Frankly, I froze in the little room I had and woke up ready to be anywhere but in that room another night. I climbed up the back steps to the massive castle that overlooks this wonderous little city though.

At this point, I need to evaluate my situation. I’ve been spending too much. Barcelona was worth the massive amounts I spent if only to make so many new friends and experience so much in a weeks time, but I was shocked to see I spent more there in a week than I did in New York. Part of this is due to the lousy exchange I got on 450 before leaving the U.S., but mostly it is because I have been living far too excessively.

I am attempting to simplify things. Instead of spending 6-10 Euros on a meal, I just bought bread, sausage, pineapple juice, apples and cheese for about 2.50 euros, and this will feed me for the entire day.

I decided to throw away my guidebook yesterday. It was big and filled with information I can find online and really seemed to be not very helpful.

It’s such an odd thing. It doesn’t feel odd at all to arrive in a strange city where I barely speak the language and start wandering around dark streets, more it feels like it is supposed to feel strange, but it doesn’t and that feels strange.

The sidewalk in Alicante is like playing Q-bert

I love all the graffiti in Spain. Here are a few examples from Alicante:

And finally one more self portrait video:

And one more for good measure….

Originally published 29 January 2009


Vago Damitio

Damitio  (@vagodamitio) is the Editor-in-Chief for Vagobond. Life is good. You can also find him on Google+ and at Facebook

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