Alicante’s Santa Barbara Castle, among the largest medieval fortresses in Spain, is the symbol of this historic city. It also dominates the dramatic view through the wall-to-wall glass doors in our apartment. After watching it for the last twenty or so nights, we joined an evening walking tour of the castle, perched over 600 ft above the historic town, the port, and the Bay of Alicante.
The castle’s origins stretch back to the 9thcentury when Spain was ruled by Moors. That domination continued until 1248 when Alfonso de Castilla, future King Alfonso X, took over the castle and established it as a Christian fortress. Many battles took place here, including ones with Napoleon and England. Our guide pointed out the pockmarks in the ancient walls from cannon and musket balls as we climbed to the highest point, past the original gate built by the Moors all those centuries ago. Below us, the city lights sparkled and the bay glimmered in the silvery light of a full moon. Gorgeous!
For us, the most dramatic part of the tour was yet to come. Deciding to take a shortcut, we left the castle confines to walk down to the Old Town via a dark steep path that wrapped around the mountain for nearly a mile. It was spooky and somewhat scary, with no lights or any other people around to help us find our way in the dark. We were quite relieved to descend the last few steps that brought us into the bright city streets. We celebrated with a nice tapas dinner at another city landmark, Manero Bar.