Wednesday 18 June 2008

Alicante lights up with the Hogueras de San Juan Festival

To celebrate the arrival of summer, Alicante will party in style with the Hogueras de San Juan, which has been officially declared a Festival of Interest to International Tourism. The festivities reach their peak on 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd, with the night of 24th June being the most important date on the calendar for the people of Alicante.

The programme of activities is already in full swing. With the rattle of the firecrackers and a marked whiff of gunpowder, the city's residents and visitors are set to enjoy Alicante's first ever night-time mascletaes nocturnes, firecracker competition, Pólvora a la Nit, which will be held at midnight every day from Monday 16th to Wednesday 18th June at various locations around the city: more specifically, next to Estrella square, on Cruz Roja square and on Los Luceros square.

In the run-up to the night of San Juan, the shortest night in the year, there will be the traditional plantà de ninots de carrer or the setting up of the satirical effigies in the streets on the 19th June. This is an unmissable opportunity for visitors to appreciate and admire the strength and skill that goes into the design and construction of these ephemeral works of art. On Friday 20th June, the finishing touches are made with the plantà de les Fogueres or the setting up of the bonfires, in preparation for the big day.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the most eagerly anticipated moment for all arrives on 24th June with the burning of the official bonfire and the official children's bonfire on Ayuntamiento square next to the City Hall, followed by the burning of the other monuments and the entrances to the barracas.Alicante will then see the festival out with a bang on 25th and 26th June in the manner it knows best, on the seafront with gunpowder and the best possible company - that of residents and tourists.


Neither Rubbish Nor Jellyfish

Great news for sea users round Benidorm way. It seems that the rains we had in Spring are having an extremely beneficial effect on the amount of jellyfish in the sea. Boffins from the Institute of Marine Sciences reckon that the amount of rainwater flowing into the sea round the coast has formed an impenetrable barrier keeping the pesky jellyfish, which only like salt water, well away from the beaches.

Meanwhile Benidorm's firemen took some time off from risking life and limb rescuing cats left out on a limb to clean up the seabed round La Cala de Finestrat. The area at the far west end of Benidorm yielded a multitude of rubbish from a depth of 10 to 12 metres, chucked in by 'people without scruples.' Amongst the junk recovered were tons of tins, bottles, a motorbike chassis and an old telly ideal for watching 'Titanic' or 'The Undersea world of Jacques Cousteau.'


Monday 9 June 2008

New Shows for Terra Mitica

We all love a good all-singing-all-dancing musical spectacular and so Terra Mitica has just the shows for us this summer. Two of the planet's most popular musicals - High School Musical and Fame (you're singing 'I'm going to live forever' now, aren't you?) - will be performed in the Benidorm theme park's Circus Maximus arena.

Over 250,000 euros has been spent on alterations to the arena which improve the acoustics, lighting and seating facilities for 2000 people! The season kicks off with High School Musical on 29th June until 13th July, followed by Fame (you're singing 'Baby remember my name' now?) from 1st to 17th August.

Tickets will cost 25 or 35 euros depending on the seats. See you there?


United Nations of Benidorm

When we look at Benidorm today with its skyscraper hotels and packed beaches it's difficult to believe that less than 50 years ago its population was around 6000 people. Since then the population has rocketed skywards as fast as new hotels and its make up tells the story of Benidorm too.

Nowadays around 73000 people are registered here with the council and, of these, 35% are foreigners who were born in no less than 121 different countries before coming to Benidorm. Many of these immigrants are Brits who have retired here or come to run businesses serving the many British tourists, the other big groups are from Rumania, Argentina and Equador who have come to work in hotels and construction.

It probably won't be a surprise to hear that over half the 47,000 Spanish residents have come to Benidorm from outside the Valencian Community. If you ever been around when the Andalusians or Asturians celebrate their regions' Fiestas you'll know just how many of them there are!

Even better with pretty well every region of Spain represented you can sample the whole of Spain on a plate in Benidorm's bars, cafes and restaurants without having to travel far.


Wednesday 4 June 2008

The Peñón de Ifach under full sail

The Real Club Náutico de Calpe will be hosting the 20th Peñón de Ifach Trophy. The competition is held under the endorsement of the Real Federación Española de Vela (Spanish Sailing Association) and the Federación de Vela de la Comunitat Valenciana, (Region of Valencia Sailing Federation) in the waters off Alicante and Formentera.

Since it was first held twenty years ago, the regatta has become the most important event held by the Real Club Náutico Calpe. Nowadays, it is one of the prestigious group of regattas that make up the Campeonato de España de Altura de Cruceros Deep-Water Cruising Championships and thanks to the large number of competitors, it has become one of the most important dates on the national cruising circuit.

The competition is also part of the official calendar and counts towards the 3rd Copa de España de Cruceros RN Cruiser Cup, the Campeonato de España de Altura (Spanish Deep-Water Championships)) and the Campeonato Autonómico de Altura (Regional Deep-Water Championships). 90 vessels (just over four hundred yachtsmen) are expected to take part in the twentieth edition and will set sail from Calpe for the island of Formentera. After a day's rest on the island, the second part of the regatta consists of the stage from Formentera to the port of Calpe.

Once again, the Organising Committee has decided that all vessels taking part should leave at the same time, with 90 vessels sailing across Calpe bay. It will undoubtedly be a spectacular sight.


Sand and Trams

A couple of Benidorm news published the same date, last monday, 2nd of June.

''The new tram system will commence direct journeys from Alicante to Benidorm today without having to change to one of the old trains. The service is every half hour and will take around an hour from A to B, calling at 14 stations. ''

''The Coastal authorities will start moving 15,000 cubic metres of sand to Levante beach today. The sand will give an extra 5 metres width to parts of the beach and will cover some rocks which currently make getting into the sea a little difficult. The sand is being brought all the way from Poniente beach where work on the new promenade has exposed tons of the stuff which needs to be taken elsewhere. ''