Las Flores: Alicante, Spain

Last year NewMan and I spent a May weekend in Alicante. It was a last minute long weekend away, taking full advantage of the UK May Bank Holiday (our funny British words for a national holiday).

How so much has changed since then.

Back then I had a full-time job and limited annual leave and a freelancing boyfriend who longed for the day when my work gave me (and us) the same amount of flexibility as his.

Back then I travelled to relax because time off and time away from London was precious.

Back then I didn't have a travel blog to fill with my stories, experiences and more.

Back then I couldn't take a photo for sh*t.

Forgive me, but it's true. Have a flick through any of my oldest posts and you'll see what I mean.

However, when I rediscovered this collection of photographs from Alicante I was pleasantly surprised to find some decent compositions, some nice captures and wow, the colours. I thought these were worth sharing, though they also remind me how far I've come in terms of my own travels and the journey that is learning photography. The flowers crosses were part of the town's celebration of the Fiesta de las Cruces festival (also known as Cruz de Mayo, the Crosses Festival or the May Cross). There are a number of different theories as to the origins of this festival which is ultimately celebrated as a (Catholic) Christian festival in Spain and Hispanic countries but the most believed version is to do with Saint Helena finding the "true cross" that Jesus died on. It was her dying wish and prayer that all Christians after her would remember and celebrate this discovery. Now, I'm not sure if she also prayed that they'd do so with colourful flower crosses, garlands and bunting but that's certainly what they do in the narrow streets of this Alicante suburb that we explored as we climbed to the top of the Castle of Santa Barbara. This historic strategically placed stronghold was originally built on by the Arabs during the Muslim occupation of the Iberian peninsula in the 9th century and watches over Alicante as city that isn't Spain's most beautiful but we still found lots of character, charm and Iberian ham to enjoy there during our stay.

If I'm honest I'd fully expected to spend our weekend in Alicante hidden in our expensive hotel, enjoying the sun deck on the top floor and the champagne cocktails on the bottom floor bar. But a last minute decision to climb up that hill and see the flower crosses reminded me that sometimes you don't have to see much, to see and experience a lot.

Now, maybe I should give NewMan some photography lessons?

Frances M. Thompson

Londoner turned wanderer, Frankie is an author, freelance writer and blogger. Currently based in Amsterdam, Frankie was nomadic for two years before starting a family with her Australian partner. Frankie is the author of three short story collections, and is a freelance writer for travel and creative brands. In 2017, she launched WriteNOW Cards, affirmation cards for writers that help build a productive and positive writing practice. When not writing contemporary fiction, Frankie shops for vintage clothes, dances to 70s disco music and chases her two young sons around Amsterdam.
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