Fri 10th of April 2015
So there we were, on the runway, excitedly waiting to head off for an action packed activity weekend in Alicante, Spain.
What do these weekends involve…? Well, our weekend package consisted of accommodation for the weekend, 2 chosen outdoor activities, lifts to and from the activities, 2 breakfasts, 1 lunch and collection & return lift to the airport…. Happy days! We also knew outside of this we had room to book in extra activities if we wanted at our own expense..
On arrival into Alicante airport, our host Sergio was waiting for us…. A great guy, friendly with great English…
After greetings and introductions were made, we were soon out of the airport and on our way to visit Sergio’s shop “Cuquet De LLum”.
The shop, in Alicante city centre, is just 15 minutes from the airport. Cuquet De LLum is a shop of natural food and beverages typical of Alicante. Here you can purchase anything from natural foods, honeys, drinks and oils, right down to a fine selection of herbal Tea’s.
Over a light lunch, which Sergio prepared of different Tapas, we discussed our agenda for the weekend.
Unfortunately for us, and it can happen, the weather had turned a little and it wasn’t looking as though we were going to be able to partake in the water activities we had chosen. After doing another check on the weather we decided the most suited activities would be Rock Climbing and Horse Riding..
Leaving Cuquet De LLum, we headed to check out the facilities and the available activities at Campello Nautico Club. This was the harbor area where all water sports take place.
So, here we discovered that Kayaking, Sailing, Stand Up Paddle Boarding, surfing, kite surfing, diving and almost any water sport was available… The choice was ours to arrange for ourselves these activities outside of our already planned package deal. If the weather improved over the weekend we would definitely take the opportunity to do some kayaking or sailing..
The harbour was a hive of activity, lively atmosphere and we got a glimpse of some of the caves that kayakers venture in and around… The harbour was about 30 minutes from Onil, the town that our accommodation was in.
On leaving the water front, our host brought us on a cultural visit to the Castillo De Santa Bárbara in the heart of Alicante.. The Santa Barbara Castle is located on top of the Benacantil Mountain and gives us, the visitor, 360 degree stunning views of Alicante city, beaches, mountain ranges and surrounding lands…. It is steeped with historical facts and events and there is so much to see from the views at the tip top, right down the dungeons underground….
Next up was a wee bit of retail therapy… Sergio dropped us off, 10 minutes down the road at Decathlon.. For those who don’t know, Decathlon is a massive retail store of all things outdoor. Clothing, footwear and so much more for every sport activity you can think of… reasonably priced and good quality… Absolute Paradise for Outdoor lovers!
Tired and a little concerned about luggage weight on flight home with Ryan Air, we left Decathlon and started to make out way to Onil.
Onil is where we were our accommodation is based for the weekend. Situated approx. 30 minutes outside of Alicante and nestled in amongst the Serra Mariola mountain range. This mountain range is where most of the land activities can happen. It’s the perfect location for hiking (with the highest peak being Montcabrer at 1389m high) and Biking.. There are an abundance of tracks and trails to be explored. It was also in and around this mountain range that our Rock Climbing and Horse riding would take place.
Our host expertly brought us through the narrow, winding streets of Onil until we reached our destination. A home from home! This 6 bed house has all the comforts.. Sergio has done a huge amount of work to the internal of this house and finished off the job perfectly with colourful décor, pictures, quirky furniture, herbs, flowers and plants in the backgarden.. He had homemade jams, buscuits and bread waiting for our arrival. The cupboards are stocked with all the nesscessities of sugar, coffee, milk and more…
10pm, we were wrecked but still had to eat! Aparrentaly 10 is the time for dinner in Spain…. Sergio brought us down to l’Aplec Café, introduced us to the staff and headed off for the night…
I think it was close to midnight when we placed our exhausted heads down for some sleep…..
Sat 11th of April
10 o clock our host and Zarco (a beautiful border collie dog) collected us for a full day of excursions, information and activities. 15 minutes later we were in the depths of the Serra Mariola mountain range, parked and walking the tracks, heading to our rock climbing destination. I had never been rock climbing before so was a little nervous but everything went great and we had good fun. The scenery was amazing.. we could just about see Alicante City from were we were.. We did beginners level Rock Climbing and did well! There were a few others in the area, close by doing a higher grade climb… it was fascinating to watch…
By the time we tidied up and got back on the road it was 13.30.. Time for lunch..
Lunch in Spain is traditionally the largest meal of the day, with many different courses. We were introduced to different type’s of Tapa’s followed by our main meal…. Definitely could have done with a siesta after this….
Afternoon is free to do as you choose. If the weather had been more suitable we would have spent the afternoon on the waters, either sailing or kayaking. We decided to spend the afternoon and late evening driving and exploring the local area and the mountain range a bit more.
We discovered right beside Onil there is a fantastic large recreational area… great for children and adults. When we passed through there were 2 large families have bbq’s in specially built stone bbq areas with plenty of picnic tables and space around. Beside this there was a large maze for the kids to fun in.. also just beyond beautiful mediterranean gardens to stroll around. The Costablanca Rally was on around Onil this weekend so there was plenty of activity and excitement happening all around. We travelled further into the mountains around the numerous tracks and trails used for cycling and hiking…
We finished off a rather full day with dinner again in l’Aplec where we were remembered and welcomed in even though the place was full to the brim and people were being turned away… Tapas are delish!
Sunday 12th of April
Our flight home was today, check in at 1.30 so we were eager to head off early and see what we could fit in before hand. Suitcases packed and loaded up we headed off to Club Hipica Maigmo to do some horse riding. This was my first time EVER get on a horse so I was definitely a little nervous about this one… and also nervous that the horse would pick up on my nerves and play up on me! On arrival the ranch was fantastic… great atmosphere, plenty happening, dogs, cats, horses, people – it was all happening. There was no waiting around… the horses were brought out and before I knew it I was throwing the leg over and sitting up on a horse – thankfully facing the right direction! We were brought / guided around the ranch a bit to get familiar with our horses and to listen to guidelines and then off out of the ranch and out onto the land we went… Ambling along the woodland and track.
There is one thing I noticed all through the weekend and this amble along the track was no different.. There is such a calm peacefulness, a quiet all around.. even in the yard when there is so much activity.. there is still a quiet spaciousness all around that I found great. It was really something to be ambling along the Spanish countryside, on a horse.. it was quite surreal actually
After leaving the stables we headed towards Alicante on route to the airport. Alicante seafront and promenade was a hive of Sunday markets and festivities of local music and dance. On the waterfront we stopped off to watch a regatta and check out the stunning views of the coastline…
It was off then to the airport where we bid our host Sergio adios and got lost amongst all the irish queing to head home…..
Some pictures taken while rambling around ONIL Village where we were staying