National party for hundreds of thousands of people: Allicante summer paradise in Spain
A fantastic people life and hundreds of thousands of people in the streets, with the fire as a symbol. This is how the entire city of Alicante, Spain, comes to mind - every summer.
"Hogueras de San Juan" is the name of this phenomenal event over four days in the middle of Alicante. This is, in a way, a many-day saint his celebration. Processions. Music. Fireworks. Burning of sculptures in the streets! Spectacularly. Historic. Something completely different to what we can see and experience in Norway. Alicante is a city with hundreds of thousands of inhabitants. During these days, it boils among both residents and tourists. An estimated 700.000 people attended the party in summer 2018, according to the city's tourist office. The highway and the large, four-lane streets in the city center are closed to traffic. The most special street is the "La Rambla" which runs in the heart of the city, with the old town on one side and the center of Alicante on the other.
Clothed Spaniards walk in procession through the streets, via "La Rambla", to accompany the orchestra and orchestras. Hour after hour, several evenings until late at night. Most bands play traditional Spanish band music. Some orchestras play lively Spanish traditional music, with dominant trumpet solos facing the summer sky. Happy music. Music to be loved. And they are good at playing, they hold a high level of musicality. One evening there was a special procession in the streets, where people showed folk costumes from all over the world. An attraction in itself.
At this time of year on the Costa Blanca coast of Spain, where Alicante is located, there is guaranteed heat. Summer. Pretty sure the sun is shining, too. Summer and sun and people with Spanish energy.
The most special of these days are giant sculptures made in the streets and burned like bonfires when the happenings are over. A large sculpture was erected in the square outside the town hall "Plaza del Ayuntamiento" in the old town, only a few hundred meters from "La Rambla". This was a sculpture with a big girl's face, and a little girl's face, on one side and another figure on the back, in addition to many smaller sculptures in the sculpture, so detailed and nicely made, that one had to stand long to study it in order to bring everything with you.
The sculpture projected many floors up against the large buildings that surround the square.
Other sculptural works of art were located on street corners and various central places in the city. There were a total of 180 monuments, small and large all over the city. Some figures had a political message, some were a little socially critical. Art with seriousness and fun, with the most emphasis on the beautiful, simple, popular. There were large sculptures for the adults, small sculptures for the children. There were also works of art at the entrance to the dining places set up with tents on the highways. Outside a restaurant stood a sculpture of a policeman holding a note saying that the fraudster had to pay 1.000.000 euros in fines. No scams there in the yard.
One of the most special things about Alicante is that there is a fantastic swimming beach in the middle of the city. It is only two to three minutes to walk from the main street to the beach "Playa del Postiguet". A beach for residents, children, youth, families, senior citizens, tourists. A popular beach. Along the beach there is a nice boardwalk and restaurants. On this beach there are fireworks shows at midnight during these days.
The midsummer celebration literally explodes at midnight 29. June. Fireworks light up the dark night sky over the city. A few minutes later, something that no one would think would happen unless one knew of the special tradition of Alicante. After midnight, fire trucks drive up to the huge sculptures made of wood and cardboard. The firefighters set fire to every single sculpture. The sculptures are burned down, like a real fire, while thousands of people are watching. People are cheering. Laughing. Enjoying themselves. The firefighters make sure that the fire does not spread to the buildings that are close to the sculptures ... As the sculptures lay in ashes on the ground, the audience shouted at the firemen to be sprayed with water hoses! Thus, many hundreds of audience members became soaked during the summer night. But it was almost 30 degrees of heat, so they didn't freeze anyway.
Norwegians in Alicante
Alicante is located down the Mediterranean on the Costa Blanca coast of Spain. There are many tens of thousands of Norwegians living in the Alicante region, but not in the city itself. The Norwegian settlements are in Albir and Alfas del Pi, near Benidorm along the coast on the north, and at Torrevieja on the south side along the coast. The summer season for bathing tourism on this edge of Spain starts in full in June, and summer and sun are guaranteed well into September, maybe even October, before the Spanish Alicante winter comes with medium Norwegian summer temperatures.
Intensity and joy
If you want to combine exceptional people life with beach life, a trip to the center of Alicante between 24 is recommended. and 29. June, when they celebrate "Hogueras de San Juan". You can find a lot of information about the happenings at and www.alicanteturismo.com og www.hogueras.com, the latter is a Spanish site. We "celebrate the city with intensity and joy" under Hogueras de San Juan, it says on the websites. It is true. An experience of a lifetime.
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