Without a doubt, one of the most stunning areas of Alicante is the old town, otherwise known by locals as El Barrio. On a gloriously sunny day, the old whitewashed houses decorated with hanging baskets and pots full of multi-coloured flowers possess such a unique charm. During my time in Alicante, I spent many a weekend just wandering around the winding streets, searching for hidden gems tucked away amongst the quaint buildings.
Tje old town of Alicante is located within the triangular area enclosed by the Rambla de Méndez Núnez, the Explanada de Espanya, and Mount Benacantil. Built beneath the protection of the Castillo de Santa Bárbara, the winding streets of Alicante’s historic El Barrio focus around the Ayuntamiento (City Hall) and the San Nicolás Cathedral.
Saved from rapid deterioration just a few decades ago, El Barrio’s reputation as the “bad part of town” was swept out with the tide and long forgotten. A major government initiative, designed to bring the alluring streets, brightly colored houses and cozy plazas back to their former glory, totally revamped Alicante’s oldest neighborhood and polished it back into the gem that it is meant to be. Here you’ll find the bulk of the city’s cultural and touristic stops, its liveliest bars, its most stunning architecture and its most enjoyable terrace cafés- all of which perfectly complement each other to form Alicante’s undeniably lovely El Barrio.
The Santísima Trinidad (nicknamed La Real) was a Spanish first-rateship of the line of 112 guns and later upgraded to 140 guns. She was the heaviest-armed ship in the world when rebuilt, and bore the most guns of any ship of the line outfitted in the Age of Sail (that is to say between the mid 16th to 19th century).
A full-size representation of the Santísima Trinidad can be seen and visited in the harbour of Alicante.
With Alicante’s natural bay tucked between the Cape of Las Huertas to the north and the Cape of Santa Pola to the south, Alicante’s Port stretches well across the sea front. Taking a walk along the esplanada, many can admire the hundreds of beautiful moored yachts in the harbour, as well as the stunning replica of the Spanish Ship Nuestra Señora de la Santísima Trinidad.
Pop-Up Street Restaurants for this years #Hogueras Festival #Alicante #Spain #Paella #Traditional #Food #NoFilter
Carousel Horses, Alicante #hogueras #2013 #fiesta #luz #fuego #spain #funandgamesatthefair (at La Marina)
The Daily Telegraph, Tuesday 11th June 2013
Ideas/plans like this only increase my frustration at the way that language learning is looked upon in the UK nowadays.
As a student who has carried two languages (French and Spanish) through to degree level, I can only sing the praises of language learning and the benefits it brings to not just your day-to-day comings and goings but also your future job prospects. I can also tell you however, that language learning can be one of the hardest (and dare I say it, mind-numbingly boring) when it comes down to grammatical rule and the nitty-gritty inner workings of the language.
Students in the UK are already totally disinterested and disengaged in learning languages at a higher/GCSE level as it is, let alone if they are force fed difficult grammar and taught in a manner that will suck any remaining hope that is left in these young mouldable minds. This is MOST DEFINITELY not the way to teach a language. From my personal experiences, as both a learner and a teacher, students should be encouraged to engage themselves in the language, immerse themselves in ways that they never thought possible to learn - watching dubbed/sub-titled programmes and films, listening to foreign music artists, reading magazines or comics, talking to natives, checking up on language blogs, picking up colloquial language that can be used in everyday REAL situations, the chance to spend a period of time in said country. The essence to learning a language is being able to enjoy the process of learning a language. Disengagement equates to boredom and therefore a lack of motivation and a total lack of satisfaction in the learning process for the young students.
The United Kingdom is lagging behind many other European countries in terms of language teaching and second language acquisition by young students :
” It used to be compulsory for secondary school pupils to study foreign languages until 16, but this was dropped in September 2004, and they became optional for students over the age of 14.
In 2001, eight out of 10 teenagers took a language GCSE, but this had dropped to 40% by 2010.
Just one in 10 of people taking a GCSE in French went on to take an AS-level in the subject (the first stage of an A-level). That compares with about a third of those taking biology GCSE.”
Many students in the United Kingdom have the same attitude “everyone speaks English in the world, why do we need to learn another language?!”. Hearing these utterances make my blood boil, and not at the fault of the young students, but at those who fail to promote languages as the important and also beneficial subject that they are! During my six-month Erasmus period in Alicante, Spain, I met a number of different students from many different countries (France, Austria, Germany, Poland) and it was incredible to see the way that they looked upon language learning, the way they were incredibly excited to communicate with people who speak in a different tongue and to have the opportunity to put what they have learnt over the years into action. We would often have conversations where the languages intertwined, French turning to Spanish, through to English, intermixed with German. This is what I feel that we lack in British schools … PASSION.
I think that if reforms like the above mentioned are actually integrated into the national curriculum, it will be the final nail in the coffin for language learning in this wonderfully diverse country where languages really are a necessity.
'The Three Pilgrims' statue located in front of the Basilica de Santa Maria, Elche