Alicante Aggravation

14 Mar



As extending the hire of the car without returning to the airport was beyond the capabilities of Budget we thought we’d make the most of an inconvenience and have an overnight stopover in Alicante. The weather forecast that had promised a warm and sunny day when we booked the hotel changing its mind on the day to 100% probability of rain wasn’t going to put us off. When the previously rather temperamental sat nav chose this day to have a complete hissy fit and refuse to load the destination, still we were undeterred. 

It has to be said, though, that the queue for Goldcar and their hard sell of insurance along with a demand for 800 euros pre-payment on the credit card when we finally reached the desk was rather more aggravating. And we really could have done with the sat nav when it came to finding the hotel which despite its name was not on the Esplanade but in an awkward back street with no parking and round the corner from the sex shop. 

Our stay was always going to be about the food, though. The anticipated wandering of the old town as we perused the menus of the various tapas bars and restaurants was rather marred, however, by the promised precipitation and the over-attention of the staff. This pouncing, rather than luring us in, only served to drive us away. At some points the pestering was so ridiculous it became almost impossible to stay polite. 

Fortunately, Neil had done some research and we came across one of the tapas bars on his list. There was no menu outside Sento Barra and the waiter made no attempt to grab us. We simply walked in, surveyed the dishes displayed in the chilled bar cabinet and went with his recommendation. Perfectly cooked skewers of chicken marinaded in in garlic and lemon and served with shavings of Manchengo cheese, drizzled with a balsamic reduction were followed by small crispy rolls with melt-in-the-mouth beef, rocket and a mustard dressing, all washed down with a local beer. And the sun came out. 

The lure of the marina proved too much, though, and we headed for the seafront in search of further tapas. With a view of the boats and castle, a restaurant advertising chiperones fritos (fried baby squid) at 6 euros a portion got our custom despite not being on Neil’s list. When the wine proved to be a favourite Rueda we were also tempted to order the garlic potatoes and some alioli to go with the warm bread rolls. Not wanting to spoil the experience, we took the decision to ignore the blatant over-charging when the bill came and just deducted it from the tip. Well, the Spanish don’t tip and we won’t be going back in the near future. 

The road noise proved to be the least of it when we returned for a siesta to our hotel room. The restoration work on the building opposite our window now involved continuous drilling, much reversing of vehicles that needed warning alarms and instructions that had to be shouted over the cacophony. All this was drowned out by the mini-bar fridge that was only silenced by unplugging.Image

 We can but hope it will all quieten down overnight. A few bevvies should help. 


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