Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Spain September 2019

Just back from a budget 4 night break to Spain.  We stayed at Melia Benidorm (collecting loyalty points) and flew with Easyjet.  This is the view from our floor into reception - all the 'gardens' are of rooted, living plants on each floor and are maintained by a daily gardener.  Our hotel is on the 'New Town' side which is full of lively bars and sky scraper hotels and where the original 'Benidorm' TV series was filmed (we visited Neptunes bar and The Palladium on our first night).

Our sons joined us and enjoyed the night life in the 'New Town' area, but we all preferred to spend time in the much prettier 'Old Town' which is full of little tapas bars and narrow, winding streets with rickety houses.

The weather wasn't great, there was torrential rain/lightening on arrival at Alicante and that evening we learned that Spain was experiencing the worst weather since 1978 with floods in Alicante and nearby areas although Benidorm itself was fine.  The Government issued a red alert so all the hotels that had trees were forced to close the pool and grounds due to potential storm damage, ours was therefore restricted for the best part of our stay and also the beach was red flagged so no swimming - the sea was very rough.  On our last day, Sunday, the red alert ended and we had sunshine all day and were allowed out to the poolside.

pool area closed, balcony was nearest we could get!

Below was a very pretty house with garden next to the famous Carrero del Gats
(alley of cats) I have tried but unable to find why it is called this! we only saw 2 cats here and they weren't telling.  It's right next to a lovely Dutch bar and seems to be famous not for cats but for giving a view of both beaches (Lavente and Poniente) if you stand in the middle of the alley and look left then right.

If you can't see the video below of the firework fiesta, I have uploaded one on Youtube here
(you will need to copy and paste the link below)

We were lucky to be in the right place at the right time to see a local fiesta of fireworks, it hadn't been advertised (the main Fiesta in Benidorm is not until November).  This started at 2am when tourists were scarse and appeared to be for locals only, police were present and also  Red Cross but it was peaceful, although you wouldn't get this close to fire in the UK.  People strap homemade metal contraptions to their backs and tape the fireworks on so that when lit they are like human catherine wheels with sparks flying out everywhere, there is much running and jumping in and out of fire along the route.  The procession went on for over an hour with pipers playing all the way round winding streets and ending in a spectacular display at the Centre of Old Town.  We joined the procession through the town, it was very smoky which is why some people had covered their heads/faces - I went to bed with my hair smelling of smoke and my arms smarting from stray sparks!

The reason for the fiesta was hard to fathom, the locals said it was 'Drunk Fire'  rooted in history of  the battles between the Moors and Christians, which took place over control of Spain in the 13th to 15th century.

We came to Benidorm in 1982 for our honeymoon, my inlaws came too (and also my 'boss' from work and his family!).  My in-laws were regular visitors over the years and liked this bar (Tony Moran's Bar Rumbo) in the Old Town - so of course we had to put in a visit once again - and here we are - 37 years later with our boys visiting for the first time to carry on the tradition, we got a very warm welcome as the original owners son still runs the bar!

These kind of bars are plentiful in the narrow streets of this area and known as Tapas bars as they offer traditional Spanish snacks like spicy meatballs, olives and crusty bread. 

This spectacular door is to the church of San Jaime and Santa Ana and is the oldest church in Benidorm, 18th Century.  Inside lies theVirgen del Sufragio, so called due to her intact discovery among the ashes of a ship in the year 1740.  In November the church door is surrounded by a halo of flowers.

So, a lack of pics of the beach due to the unexpected weather! but we still had a good time.  Here's the view from the Old Town looking across the beach to the New Town.

p.s.  I decided to keep my other blog Betty-thewoodfairy going after all for all things mostly un travel related :)


  1. Lovely! It's surprising what a difference even a short geetaway makes.

    1. Seeing new sights and being away from routine really lifts the spirits.

  2. Great to see all your handsome chaps together. Imagine what folk would think in this country if people went around with homemade contraptions beset with fireworks strapped to their backs!!Health and Safety would have a field day! Lovely pics, Betty and glad the weather turned for a little while.xx

    1. thanks Anne yes, I have never seen fireworks so close, they did have a red cross van there and police followed at a distance.

  3. You look so comfy and relaxed in that pretty dress by the pool side Betty! :) Omg that fireworks video is INSANE lol!!! I'd be afraid my hair might catch a spark!! What a lovely visit. When I did the student backpacking trip across Western Europe in 1989 (just when the wall was coming down), I skipped over Spain because I was having too much fun in Portugal! I always wanted to go though, maybe some day!

    1. There's so much to see and so little time! I have not been to Portugal, that's on my list! Lucky for us living near these places, I imagine it would be a very expensive trip from your part of the world.

  4. Oh such a delightful post dear Betty !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    what a beautiful family :)))
    Spain and Italy are top on the list for holidays here for us either :)
    how amazing that your inlaws visited it yearly and you too were able to visit here.

    how wonderful that your sons join you guys there and i bet you had best time ever :)
    you precious kids are fine young men ,may lord bless them with all the happiness,amen!

    i enjoyed firework video ,so much fun indeed
    i am sorry about bad weather and flooding there ,heartfelt prayers for people who facing such upsetting weather
    i love hotels where real plants are around
    sending you best wishes for next tour my friend!

    1. thank you Baili, I hope you get to visit Europe, there is so much to explore.

  5. Lovely to see you all together in that bar!
    Your hotel looks very posh with all that lush greenery in the reception area. What a shame about the weather but it looks like you all had a fab time anyway. I'm intrigued about the origins behind the name of the cat street and would have loved to have seen the crazy fireworks.
    How many people came on honeymoon with you? What a popular couple you were! xxx

    1. Yes I would love to know more about cat street! My mother, father, brother in law and hubby's cousin were there, they went out there every year at that time and met a lot of friends there who came out each year, they all met at the bar we went to. My boss was staying nearby with his wife and two children and took us out to Guadalest for the day, although it looked quite a crowd we didn't see too much of them all!