I feel like I have to start from the beginning with all of my moving-around-Europe stories for it all to make sense.
My Spanish story is divided into four parts, and here it goes:
Part 1 – Maria “moving” to Spain (Torrevieja).
The official soundtrack of me getting brave - moving to a foreign land ;) (me and my weird 80s music... I know... I know)
Seven years ago I decided to change my home country from Estonia to Spain. I wasn't totally convinced that this was the right and permanent choice, but my parents moved there a couple of months before and I thought, I might as well...So I packed my bags (leaving nothing behind), grabbed my cat, my best friend and we were on our way to Barcelona. My lovely cat, Beta, had only about two and a half panic attacks on the plane and considering our hardcore hangover after the leaving party gin and tonics, our flight went smoother than expected. My awesome parents came to pick us up from the airport, as flying to Barcelona was just the beginning of the trip – there was a nice sweaty six hour car ride ahead to Torrevieja, on the Costa Blanca. Even though I had been to Spain many times before, all over in fact – north, south, the islands, top, under and the middle, it just so happened that I had never been there in the summer time. We always used to travel there in winter or spring, because you feel like going to Spain when it's -20 degrees at home, don't you?
I already started to feel all faintly at the airport “too hot, tooooooo hot, let's go out, let's go out I need some air.” I didn't quite get why my mum found it so amusing...Then it HIT me, like a very heavy baseball bat - walking out of the airport was like walking into a sauna on a nice winter evening in Estonia! That's why my mum was laughing – I thought it would be colder outside than it was inside (proper northener). I'm not stupid, I was expecting the heat, but I didn't expect it to take me weeks to get used to.
Why did my parents choose Torrevieja? Well, they knew somebody, who knew somebody else, who's uncle's daughter's babysitters' second cousin's hairdresser's friend's milkman said it was cool...aaaaaaaand they were wrong, it was far from cool. Maybe cool as I'm hot, so it means you are cool, as meaning not so awesome. Or something like that.
Of course in the beginning it was nice. The palm trees, the beach, the flamingos on the pink salt lakes and everything new felt so exciting, as it always does, but it didn't take me long to understand that something was a bit off.
I didn't feel like I had moved to Spain. Not to the Spain I had imagined at least. It felt more like some unknown desert village full of English and Russian people, and I wanted to see more Alejandros and Consuelas running around, but they were nowhere to be found in the middle of all these Marys and Sergeys.
Not being very pleased with my choice to move to Torrevieja, pushed me to travel more around Spain. That summer I also visited the bigger cities like Madrid, Valencia and Granada, but about that later (you can read more about my Granada trip here: http://www.puravida.me/articles/granada-alhambra-spain ).
We discovered that we were not too bad with choosing where to live, we "ONLY" missed the nice spots by a couple of tens of kms. I love Alicante where my long-term relationship with Isla Marina got its beginning (50km from Torrevieja) and of course, my future love and partner in crime – Altea (120km from Torrevieja).
You can read about my 3 favourite places to visit in Alicante here - http://www.puravida.me/articles/top-3-places-alicante
We found the cute little arty town of Altea when we rented a catamaran with some friends visiting from Estonia. Altea is a little port town situated on the Greenwich Meridian (on the same line with London's Greenwich, little did I know that in 3 years time I will live in London ...and in Greenwich ;), which seemed like the perfect place to say “Ahoiii Matey...” and sail away. Exploring the stunning Costa Blanca, port by port, was such an amazing trip (the cutest towns to visit are Javea and Denia. I'm definitely going back).
My parents were not with us in Altea, but when we showed them pictures and went on and on about how much nicer and more “Spanish” everything there was, they got curious and planned to check it out as well...with interesting results.
Long story short - I was not happy in Torrevieja and decided to move back to Estonia after just one and a half months. I just wasn't impressed.
End of part 1
Stay tuned for....
...3 months later when I flew back to visit my parents they had already moved to Altea and were happier than ever.
After the first visit to my parents' home in Altea started part 2 of my Spain - “The Visiting Period, aka. Still a Tourist”
You can read it here : http://www.puravida.me/articles/part-2-marias-spain-“-visiting-period-...