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La Vida Buena

Experiencing the good life in Spain on the Costa Blanca. Semi-retired Dutch/American couple on a budget, blogging about places we visit, foods we try, wines we like, places we stay. Follow us for our view on the good life in Spain.

Gay Parade in Benidorm
21 September 2015

This was our first year to be in Benidorm in September and we had the pleasure to see the LGTBI (gay) parade last weekend.   After the event, we started talking to someone at the Tiki bar, and we told them we were from Amsterdam, sometimes called the gay capital of Europe.  Everyone seems to know that Amsterdam has a LGBTI festival every year and they asked us to compare the two parades - Amsterdam and Benidorm.  I thought it might be interesting to share our perspective with you here.  

We had to say politely, that the parade in Benidorm was really fun but quite modest in comparison to Amsterdam.  But the Benidorm parade was a much more close up and friendly experience.  One in which we could actually (and did) talk to the parade participants as they walked by and could take photos up close and personal.  Great fun!  

In Amsterdam, the annual LGTBI (gay) parade is a huge, day long event and the entire city seems to participate.  The parade attracts several hundred-thousand visitors per year.   Vendors cover the streets above the canals, providing an endless variety of food, drink and trinkets for sale.  Local businesses sponsor boats and barges as a platform for parade participants.  In Amsterdam, the colorfully dressed participants float by on the canals whilst standing and dancing to the booming music on their floating stages, as the observers stand above on the streets overlooking the canals.  The parade lasts for hours.  The entire city seems to vibrate with colorful energy while watching the festival event floats by.  The Amsterdam Gay Parade has been a major city event since 1996, almost 20 years.  Also, Amsterdam has a long history as a city catering to gay tourism.   Gay residents abound as well.  There are many bars and restaurants catering to the LGTBI residents and visitors. 

Amsterdam parade has made it into wikipedia:   

According to the Benidorm Gay Pride website:  they've been organized for 5 years now.  I'm not sure if they've had a parade each of those 5 years because we haven't been here, but considering the festival is only 5 years young, it's developing quite nicely and it's sure to continue to grow.  Benidorm Levante boulevard and the Spanish weather are a perfect combination for such a fun event.  

Anyway, my husband and I enjoyed the Benidorm festival event and being out on the boulevard on a warm and sunny afternoon in September is always nice in and of itself.  Straight or LGTBI, if you've not had the chance to be here during this festival, of which the parade is only one event, we recommend it and you should consider a visit in September.

In honor and support of the LGTBI community, we share with you just a couple of the fun pictures we were able to capture last weekend.



Like 1        Published at 19:49   Comments (0)

Just a short drive to Sella
12 September 2015

Just a short drive from the sea to Sella.

After the past week of daily rain and flash floods, during which we spent too much time in our small condo longingly looking out the window wishing the rain would stop, it finally turned sunny and hot again.  Yesterday was a beautiful sunny and hot Costa Blanca day.  We decided we needed to get out and take a drive.  Our destination would be Sella. a small village just 18 km from the sea and our base in Benidorm.

Sella is a sleepy village, just a short, pleasant drive up into the mountains. We thought it would be perfect for a walk and late lunch.  We’d also read about a restaurant called Restaurant Bar Fonda in Sella and we wanted to give it a try.  

It was an easy drive on a typically Spanish, winding and narrow mountain road, which we shared with only a few cyclists.

Once we arrived in Sella, we parked in the free municipal parking lot at the bottom of the village.  From there we walked up the fairly steep, narrow 300 meter long road to the Plaza Mayor.  There we found a small outdoor market on the main square, but it was rather deserted, like the rest of the village.  Since it was noon and very hot, we weren’t surprised by this.  Most of the local villagers were likely comfortably lounging in their homes behind the cool, 1/2 meter thick clay walls, away from the heat of the mid-day.

We strolled up and down the narrow streets of Sella, snapped a few photos and decided to look for the Restaurant Bar Fonda that had been recommended to us.  Even though it’s a small village, we couldn’t seem to find it so my husband asked a very friendly man at the market.  Hearing that our Spanish was very poor, the kind gentleman walked us about 4 minutes down and around a couple of winding streets and pointed us across the street to the Restaurant Bar Fonda.


We entered and were greeted by a very friendly older Spanish woman.   She reminded me of my grandmother.  We were given a great table overlooking the Spanish hillside.  Because it was rather early for spanish lunch, it was quiet like the village.  To begin with, we were the only people in the restuarant.  But by the time we finished, it was starting to get busy.

We started with a glass of rose wine and a large bottle of water.  We both ordered the menu del dia, choosing the lamb over the chicken in tomatoe sauce or a choice of different paellas.  The meal consisted of starters: salad, ham and cheese plate,  garlic bread, sausage and the best tortilla I've ever had.  

This was followed by the main course of lamb chops and fries and we added a nice bottle of red.  Vino tinto this time to go with the lamb.  Finally dessert, tart a la casa made with melon and a cortado. Overall, it was a very typical spanish style meal.  Simple, made from fresh ingredients and very tasty.  We were both satisfied and agreed we would not need dinner that evening.  Content and happy, we asked for the bill.  Total bill was Euro 32.   Would we do it again? Absolutely.  It was a great half day excursion and gave us a needed break from our "big city" life in Benidorm.


Like 2        Published at 15:18   Comments (0)

Benidorm - our home base
05 September 2015

Benidorm.  I think you either love it or leave it.  We happen to love Benidorm.  My husband and I have both been coming here for years, though my husband for many years before me.  He came to Benidorm as a child with his parents from the Netherlands and kept coming back off and on over the past 50 years.  He watched the city grow and expand and remembers things "the way they used to be" when he was a kid.    

I, on the other hand, made my first visit to Benidorm less than 10 years ago.  Being from the USA, my previous trips to Spain before that, were short city trips to the major cities of Barcelona and Madrid.  I never made it to the coastal areas at all until I came back with my husband for a holiday in 2006.  Immediately fell in love with Benidorm and the Costa Blanca area.  And since then, we've started coming back regularly, looking around for a small place to buy and last year, we found what we were looking for and decided to try living the good life in Spain during the winter months.  

We like the big city feeling and the constant buzz of activity in Benidorm. Yes, there are some areas we avoid.  Too many drunk Brits can get old real fast (for an American anyway wink)   But there are so many great restuarants and the beaches are wonderful.  Benidorm is a great location for us with easy access to other areas of Spain, which we hope to start exploring this winter. 

Like 2        Published at 17:15   Comments (1)

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