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30th October, 2015

Alicante, Spain

The principal city of the Costa Blanca, Alicante is a port and popular seaside resort built around a natural harbour area. Situated in the shadow of Mount Benacantil, Alicante is a mixture of different styles and influences, and was once the home of Greek and Roman settlers before the Moors took control in the 8th century. Alicante is home to the imposing 16th century Castle of Santa Barbara, which looms majestically over the city, as well as the tree-lined waterfront promenade of the Explanada de Espana. Also worth seeing is the 18th century town hall, whose marble staircase is marked with a metal disc, used as a reference point in the measurement of sea levels around the whole of Spain.

Our arrival brought with it yet more perfect weather and I was able to gently ease Sapphire alongside our berth right on time at 8am. By 0830 our tours were departing, the first being to ‘Guadalest and Nougat Museum’ - the village of Guadalest is consistently ranked amongst the top attraction for visitors to Spain. Precariously perched high up on the pinnacle of a granite mountain, it’s easy to see why journeying along the twisting road that climbs forever upwards is worthwhile as the views are breathtaking across the Moors, Guadalest Lake and the Mediterranean Sea. During the excursions our guests visited the Casa Orduna, a nobleman’s house of the 19th century and were shown the Arabic based castle, before heading for the town of Jijona, sometimes written as Xixona. Situated 14 miles from Alicante, is the ‘Museo del Turron’ where the different kinds of nougat are made and produced. In particular, our passengers visited the factory responsible for 1880 and ‘El Lobo’ trademarks. It is said muslims brought with them this delicious sweet when they conquered the land of Alicante in the 8th century, and by the 16th century it became common to eat nougat at the Spanish court. Certainly throughout the 20th century, Jijona’s most important trading activity was the production of turron, marzipan and sweetmeats.

For those wishing to wander ashore independently the city was only a short stroll away and of course for those wishing to relax onboard we offered a full range of activities throughout the day.

We now continue our ‘Adventure’ to the beautiful Balearic Islands and the one which I have classed as my second home for years, Mallorca.

Captain Wesley Dunlop

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