A short trip in the Thunderbird to Alicante in the south of Spain
This summer we made a very nice mini trip with the Thunderbird to Alicante. We left early Friday morning traveling towards Malaga then continued on the A7. This highway is called Autovia del Mediterraneo and most of the time it follows the coastline. There is another highway, often running nearly parallel but this is a toll road and does not have the local flavor we wanted. There was not too much traffic so the driving was comfortable also due to this autovia having a good surface.
We were on our way to meet other Thunderbird owners. Michael imported his car last year to Spain. and on the internet. had gotten in to contact with people from Barcelona. 2 Couples were coming down from the capital of Catalunya and the other couple lived in Alicante. After a coffee stop and a light lunch on the road, we arrived at 17.00.
We had booked the Golf Hotel and met the other people early evening in the bar. Michael does not speak Spanish yet but these people could communicate in English. That evening we went out for dinner and enjoyed nice food and conversation. We talked about what programme we could do the next day and the person who lived in Alicante had made reservations for visiting a famous Bodega.
Interesting visit to a famous Bodega
The next morning after breakfast we all met with the Thunderbirds. 1 light blue, 2 red, and 1 cream colored. It was quite a sight in town and many people turned their heads on seeing us pass. The weather was lovely, just over 30C and after about 1 hour we arrived at the famous bodega. There were a few other people present so we formed a small group and were taken outside close to a small experimental vineyard. There we were told about the different soils and how that influences the taste of the grapes. It was nice to hear the whole setup was organic.
The beginning as a small family business
In the 70’s the patriarch Enrique Mendoza started it as a small family business and over the years passed on his knowledge to his 2 sons. As Mr. Mendoza states: The best wine is in the best vineyard. Control everything from the beginning to the end. Use your own vineyard, controlling the irrigation, use the best techniques in viticulture and having the best grapes are the fundamentals in order to make the best wine.
When you have reached all this then you will have to apply refined techniques to determine the evolution of the plant growth, using Scientific factors based on dendrometry, controlling the hydraulic stress in plants. No herbicides or insecticides are used and only the best compost is given to the grapevines.
Inside the Bodega
His 2 sons were also given vineyards and the small family business grew into something big.
After this interesting introduction, we were taken to the bodega where all the barrels were lying. They were of different sizes and made from oak wood coming from different countries. Depending on which country the wood comes from, it will give its specific aroma to the wine while aging in the oak barrels. We then proceeded to the gardens where a wine tasting was organized. I remember we tested some 7 different wines. This was accompanied by tapas.
Tapas and Wine
Tapas are small bites on a slice of bread or crackers. Different cheeses or some ham, perhaps also fish, there are no limits to imagination. While we were trying the wines Mr. Mendoza came to meet us and mingled nicely with the Spanish and foreign people present. A nice young orange colored cat also appeared. He looked very well fed. I can imagine he always shows up when people are wine tasting being sure of a piece of cheese or ham now and then. Our visit ended with a stop in the shop where we bought a couple of the wines we liked best.
We went back to our hotel and after a rest, met at the bar to go out for dinner. We were not really hungry as the wine tasting and tapas was more than lunch. Our host took us to a very nice restaurant and as dinner time was well after 21.00 we were able to have a small meal.
Visiting the famous Castillo de Alicante
Plans were being made for the next day which also was the day of our departure. After breakfast, we should all meet and visit the famous castle of Alicante. Castillo de Santa Barbara is 1200 years old. It is situated 166 meters above the city. From up there you have a lovely view over the city and the coastline.
There are many stories about the castle. Nicolas Peris was a one time governor who fought fiercely so the castle would not be taken by Jaime II in 1256. Nicolas died with the city keys so firmly clasped in his hand that there was no other option than to cut his hand off. Sometimes at night time, one can hear his laments for having lost his castle.
This castle also has a dungeon not such a nice place to see. During the Spanish Civil war, there were 50 prisoners. One after the other these prisoners scratched their name on the walls with a nail which was handed around. There are many more stories to be told so I think the best is to come on a guided tour of the castle.
Going home again
We had to say goodbye to our new friends, these were happy times and much too short. Perhaps we will meet again one day. Till then we maintain our contact by email. We left at 11.00 and took the Mediterranean highway back home.
At lunchtime, we stopped at a nice little place called Agua Dulce (sweet water.) There is a small Marina were we took a stroll looking at the moored boats. Behind the buildings on the promenade, there is a high looming rock which encloses this small Bahia, it really looks unusual. We came home at around 18.00, tired but happy for having made this nice trip. The Thunderbird was put into the garage to have a rest, she did a good job.
Source: My Life
Photo Source: Private
You might like to view this video of the castle.