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2002 Saga Rose. A nice esplanade and lovely beach but, except for shopping, not a very inspiring Town. Visited the Castillo de Santa Barbara (Barbara Castle!) which has spectacular views over the Town but is not anything other than a patched up ruin really. Still the weather was fabulous.
It wasn't until after we'd visited Alicante that we found out that first cousin Margaret lived there! Never mind, we'll go back one day.

2006 Arcadia. We went back! Margaret and Husband (David) met us from the Arcadia (at 8.00 AM!) and we had a WONDERFUL day at their residence. I hadn't seen Margaret since 19** (who knows when) so everybody was a bit apprehensive. "We must get back to the ship by lunchtime" seemed a good cop out. Not needed. Lunch and wine provided (we'll make it up M and D) and we had to drag ourselves away. Don't be surprised if the site has an Alicante visit in 2007.

2007 YES, WE WENT BACK! April 2007 may have been the driest April in the UK since records began but Spring in Alicante was the wettest since records began! We were gutted by the weather but, nevertheless, had a great time (walking the dogs a lot, which was a joy). Unlike most Brits Margaret and Dave don't live in an ex-pat "ghetto" but have integrated with the Spanish (for 20+ years). We visited an ex-pat village a couple of times (to see shows - one was on behalf of a Cancer Charity and most of the ex-pats were smoking!) and I'm pleased that we weren't among them! Alicante has more going for it than I originally thought. We did a tour of the Historical Sites (10.30 from outside the Tourist Office in Ramblas) and were well impressed. Also went on the annual Pilgrimage to Santa Faz. 250,000 people joined us! Magic. Went to Benidorm (ugly buildings, nice Resort) a couple of times and thoroughly enjoyed it. The folks also showed us the more local Resorts near to them in Muchamiel. Our first holiday in the Costa Blanca, well worth the visit. Mustn't forget that we went to lunch at one of M and D's (Spanish) friends' houses. Real Paella and lovely people. A not to be forgotten day.

Alicante Harbour with the Saga Rose.
Saga Rose in Alicante Harbour

Bullring SquareFountain near Port
Bullring Square and a fountain near the Port

2016 and we're back on the Black Watch. The only reason we chose this cruise was because it visited Alicante but it only stayed for a VERY few hours! Got in at 8 am and had to be back on the ship by 13.30 (may seem reasonable but we don't get off at 8 and we don't leave it until 13.30 to return)! None the less, we had a great time meeting up with Margaret and Dave - a couple of cafes visited where Margaret showed her command of Spanish (at the first stop there were several people came up and chatted to "us" - we smiled and said "yes"!). It was worth it.

Barbara Castle 2016

2018 and we're back on the Saga Sapphire! Damn! Because of a medical emergency on board we had to detour to Alicante to transfer a passenger to hospital. One hour only. Ah, well. We thought of cousin Margaret (sadly Dave has passed away since our last visit which made us doubly happy that we visited them in 2016).

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