It was this time last year that I hit publish on a post titled ‘When something has to give’.
And I’ll put my hands up and say, 12 months down the line, I’m back in that place. I started a new job in November (I can’t even remember if I’ve discussed it on here, but long story short: it’s great, but full on), which tied in nicely with Sam doing the same. Christmas swiftly followed, and then we all snow balled into 2018, with big birthdays and babies galore – I’m just thankful I don’t have any weddings this year. Life is rolling by at 100mph, so when Jet2 offered us a few days away from it all… I needn’t explain the rest.
On the long Easter weekend (the only dates we could find free, and even then I missed a very special party), we headed to southern Spain for four days of sun. Quite frankly, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world – not only were we getting to go via my blog, we were escaping the awful March weather we were all enduring. We left rainy England for beautiful sun-filled Spain and I’m not sure I’ve ever appreciated a holiday quite so much.
We opted to fly from Birmingham, which sounds ludicrous to some as we live on the South Coast. But Jet2 mostly fly from the Midlands upwards, and we much preferred the thought of a leisurely drive up the M40 than battling round London to Stansted on a bank holiday weekend. We set off on Thursday night, staying over for our early Friday morning flight. Sun, I was coming for you!
I need to give you an overview of Jet2 as you’re probably wondering who they are, if you’ve not heard of them before. A Leeds based, low cost holiday company, they’re the fourth largest scheduled airline in the UK. I’d seen their branding before but never delved into the idea of a holiday with them – we tend to be the more self catering types and leave the package holidays of our early twenties pre 2010. Saying that, of course we weren’t going to turn down a trip to sunny Spain and I can’t tell you how magical Jet2 are. More on that later – but I am converted, let me tell you.
We rolled into Alicante late morning, collecting our suitcase from baggage reclaim because – yes – you get 22kg standard included when you fly with Jet2 (the ease of flying in 2001, is that you?) and hopped in a cab to our hotel. After a long, long winter, I can’t begin to tell you how the the palm trees, the beach, the blue, blue sky made us feel. Three full days to relax, take in the sights, eat the beautiful Spanish food and finally, switch off. Our luggage safely at the hotel (which was the perfect distance from everything, right across the road from the market – you can find it here!), and that first heavenly shower after an early flight done, we took a stroll down the beachfront (in nothing but jeans and a tee, I hasten to add). Spring! Sun! Café con leche!
That first afternoon, we wandered, drank and actually headed back to the hotel for that all important nap (with a side of Cheetos and hotel TV). It was literal bliss knowing we had no plans, no where to be, and actually not a huge amount to see. That’s part of the reason we were so pleased to be visiting Alicante – although a city, it didn’t have masses of sightseeing to do. An old town, a beach, a castle and that’s about it. Had we been heading to Barcelona or similar, we would’ve spent all three days cramming everything in, and no doubt coming home more tired than we began. I was so looking forward to a lazy, lazy time.
Day two, we took a leisurely marina walk followed by a breakfast in the sun of pastries, coffee and OJ. The wind was with us, but the sky was blue and it was actually the perfect day for climbing the hill to the castle. For those visiting Alicante, there is a lift but we decided it wasn’t too hot and to take the stroll through the Old Town as directed by our waiter. For once, I let Sam lead and of course, we went significantly wrong. Guided by some friendly locals, 15,000 steps and 137 floors later, we reached the top and rewarded ourselves with lemony iced drinks. It was the Saturday of the Easter weekend and the castle was popular but not over busy. We enjoyed views of the sea (I forgot what beautiful turquoise water looked like) and some pretty cool architecture. We descended via the elevator, and it was what I’d been waiting for: paella time! We opted for an outdoor spot called Ciao Miami, and both enjoyed a glass of white wine with a classic seafood paella. It was nothing short of perfect, not least because we had nowhere to be. The rest of the day ran away with us – book reading, coffee drinking, napping, and soon it was 9pm and time for a late, Spanish dinner. We went to a place called La Mary which I can’t recommend enough. Beautiful, chic decor (but still okay to were your holiday casuals), we had cod balls that you squirted your own maple syrup into (sounds gross, but trust me when I say it was far from), good wine, duck for main and the most amazing desserts (Oreo panacotta, need I say more?). My only criticism was the low lighting and therefore total lack of evidence! A top place to book up if you’re in Alicante.
My absolute favourite day of our trip was Easter Sunday. I’d heard about Tarbarca Island prior to our visit, and our taxi driver from the airport has confirmed it was a must. A small isle, just 8 miles off shore and home to around 40 inhabitants. It sounded right up my alley, so we boarded the one hour boat from the marina in the most glorious sunshine (the best we’d had all weekend) and arrived around midday. With beautiful beaches on each side, Tarbarca has a quaint old village centre, where we sat in the square and enjoyed a cerveza. Of course it was soon lunchtime, so we tracked down a recommended seafront spot for (more) wine, seafood and general relaxation. One walk and two beers later, it was time to head back to the main land – sun kissed and sleepy. I love discovering little hidden gems like Tarbaca, and it was so different to the vibrant nature of Alicante. A must for visitors!
We headed home the following morning (after a dreamy burger dinner at Circo), feeling super content. It really was amazing to spend just four days in the sun – the cold I couldn’t shift all winter was gone, we felt relaxed and peaceful and Sam even commented that for the first time ever after a holiday, he actually felt rejuvenated. Of course the sun played a huge part in this but we also firmly agreed that traveling and staying with Jet2 made a huge difference to our experience. Low cost they may be, but the included luggage, extra leg room (they put the magazine rack higher up so you get at least another inch back – genius) and helpful staff at the airports made us feel like everything was running smoothly. I couldn’t recommend them enough and I can honestly say, they’ve earned themselves a pair of customers in Sam and I – I’ll definitely be looking to them for our next trip to the sun!
My recommendations for things to do in Alicante
- Eat at La Mary, Circo and Ciao Miami
- Visit Tarbaca Island
- Take the walk through the old town to the Castle of Santa Barbara (and get the lift back down again)
- Eat ice cream (there are an abundance of gelato shops)
- Sit on the beach and do nothing but read