Going past Benidorm and Altea on our way to San Juan:
Leaving early in the morning we again had just a light wind and could motor-sail (this becomes the norm now!). The sails went up and came down as the wind dropped but the sightseeing along our way was still fantastic! We often divert into a bay just to have a good look at a beautiful town or city where there are either no anchorage or where it would not be safe in the current winds.
Benidorm was one of those places we just could not ignore! Coming around the point, the sight was just mind-blowing! All of a sudden huge ski-scrapers appeared along the beach front – the one bigger than the next and going 6-8 buildings of that size deep! The 10-15 story buildings (normally perceived as big) were dwarfed by ones double that size and a few of them above the 40story size! That in anyone’s terms are massive, but what made it so spectacular was the sheer amount of those huge buildings all along the about 8 km stretch of beaches!
Benidorm has the highest amount of sky-scrapers per capita in the world! The (permanent) population is just above 67 000 but never drops below 100 thousand and in the summer months there will be 300 thousand people at any given time – more than 4 times the population! No wonder people refer to Benidorm as the Manhatten of Spain or BeniYork!
The one building that is by far the most impressive and the new kid (and pride) on the block is the “In Tempo” building.(This is just the temporary name of the building as it has not yet been named). Statistics can be boring but grand me one more … “In Tempo” is the tallest residential building in Europe! It has 52 stories and towers 200 meters into the sky of Spain’s Vertical City!. Face-on it resembles the no 11 and the letter M (a tribute to the victims of the 11 March 2004 train bomb attack in Madrid.)
The two gilded towers are joined in the middle by an inverted diamond motive and will have sculptures of flying seagulls suspended between the two twin structures … the cost estimated at €45 m! The luxury apartments will have a bird’s eye view of the ocean, the long stretch of white beaches and the 330 high-rises surrounding it. Very, very impressive! Once it is fished, it will be glass plated and the ocean (as day) and the sunset (at night) will be reflected in the whole structure.
Benidorm waters did not provide enough protection against the wind and swells so we moved on … it would have been spectacular to be anchored in front of all the city light at night…
The next little town that stole my heart without even having been to it was Altea. The water was very quiet in the bay so we could go quite close to the town to have a good look at this beautiful old Spanish town with the most beautiful church! There was no way we could anchor there …it is very exposed with too much of a swell and it will mean that we will have to go via road or hope for a very unlikely wind on the way back.
It was just before lunch when we pulled into San Juan for our overnight stay.
No seriously … after coming from a fabulous anchorage, with blue waters and having seen all the above amazing buildings and towns on our way …San Juan was a shock to my system to say the least!… The beach is dirty looking brown sand and pretty small (people are lying on sandstone ledges to tan) and the town is aesthetically painful to look at! Brown uninteresting buildings, it looks extremely dry and the water (just to top it off for me!) was dodgy, dirty and with heaps of grass at the bottom…very dull green looking. You get the picture … I was not impressed …the sweltering heat forced me to swim in that water (I had to check the anchor on the anchor the second time we tried to get a hold on the surface!) The wind started blowing that night and left half of the Sahara on the boat! To top it off, a mere 10 drops fell shortly after the wind died down and left the boat even dirtier than it was! There one thing worse than a filthy deck…and that is: having a filthy deck at anchor in San Juan! Thank goodness Alikante is just a half an hour away and we will be in a marina with free water and can clean San Juan off our deck and minds! (My apologies to the people of this town – I hope no-one of San Juan will ever read this blog!)