Two Eurojumelages activities with 56 participants took place simultaneously in Benidorm from 7th – 13th November 2021: The activity "In the sun of Benidorm" and the first Spanish language course since the corona pandemic.
. At the same time, the annual congress of the Asociaciones de Personas Mayores took place with about 350 participants. The group Mayores de Telefónica de Valencia and the Jumelages AHET Valencia had prepared the week-long programme with several day options. The language course (29 participants) took place from Monday to Friday - except on Thursday - from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. There were 3 levels: beginners, intermediate and advanced. The 27 non- participants at the language course organized their day themselves or took part in the day options offered. The European twinners from Germany, France, Italy, Poland and Spain met during the meals in the dining room and in the evenings in the bar to exchange ideas.
The following is a description of our experiences as non-participants of the Spanish language course.
Saturday 6 November
We met almost all the German participants at Frankfurt Airport one day before the two activities started. During the flight to Alicante, Lufthansa provided us with a hand disinfection wipe, a 0.25 l bottle of water and chocolate.At the airport in Alicante we first had to present our mandatory health document before we waited at the baggage carousel for our suitcases. Afterwards, the whole group took the public bus to Benidorm and then taxis to our hotel "Melia" in the periphery of the city. One of 4 lifts took us to our room on the 19th floor. From there we had a wonderful view of the many skyscrapers extending towards the sea and the surrounding mountains. In the evening we met other European friends who had also arrived a day earlier.
Sunday 7th November
We had the whole day at our disposal. The sky was bright blue, the temperatures pleasantly warm. So we took a walk on the beach promenade of Playa Levante to the Mirador Punta Canfali, a wonderful viewing platform on a headland that divides the coast of Benidorm into two parts. It is also known as the balcony of the Mediterranean Sea. The way back led us first through the narrow streets of the old town and then past the skyscrapers back to the hotel. In the late afternoon, Antonia Monedero, the chairwoman of the Valencia association, provided us with information material and a small colourful backpack. In a large room of the hotel, the programme was then explained and we met more friends we knew from other language courses in Spain.
Monday 8th November
We went on an excursion of the region together with our Polish-French friends, Basia and Yann, who had come by car. We started with a visit to the coastal town of Villajoyosa with its colourful houses. Then we continued to Alicante, where we parked in a parking garage in the middle of the old town. First we visited the fortress-like co-cathedral in the heart of the city, then the interior of the town hall, decorated among others with many portraits of former mayors. Afterwards we strolled along the esplanade, where we also had a picnic. In the afternoon we drove towards the mountains to the caves of Canelobre. Unfortunately it turned out on site that the caves are closed on Mondays. Instead we went for a walk in the beautiful area and watched climbers on an imposing rock face. We were back at the hotel in time for the choir singing by the TELECOR group.
Thuesday 9th November
Today we decided to go for a walk in the mountains east of Benidorm to the Mirador de la Cruz in the Serra Gelada nature park, 217 m above sea level. It went up steeply and after many bends we reached the cross which a pious monk is said to have carried up all by himself. From there we had a wonderful panoramic view of the Benidorm skyline. In the afternoon we explored the area north of the hotel and could also pursue our hobby of geocaching. So we were not far from the Centro Social La Torreta, where at 5 p.m. RONDALLA DE SAX, a large choir, accompanied by guitar and mandolin players, sang many well-known songs.
Wednesday 10th November
A coach took us to Guadalest to the back country of Benidorm together with other twinners and congress participants. The picturesque place is located on a hill (586 m) above the valley of the Rio Guadalest, which is dammed here. Unfortunately the weather today was cloudy and grey and the temperatures of course lower than at the seaside. We also had short periods of light rain. Fortunately, we had the right attire and could enjoy the beautiful place. From the bus car park we walked through the new part of the village. Soon we reached the stairs to the old village with a view of the bell tower. Then we just had to go through a tunnel and arrived in the old village where we could climb up the many steps to the castle ruins on the castle rock. Before the coach took us back to Benidorm, we looked at the handicraft products in the small shops in the village. During the afternoon event of the TELETEATRE group, Peter Backes, President of the Eurojumelages, was given the opportunity to deliver his prepared speech in English, which Irmi reproduced in Spanish. The General Secretary of the Eurojumelages, Pierre-Yves Videlot, was also able to briefly present Eurojumelages.
We did not take part in the excursion to Valencia for the twinners and the language course participants, as we know Valencia well and had been there for a week shortly before the Covid pandemic. Instead, we set off to walk through the Serra Gelada Natural Park. This time on the beautiful asphalted walking trail between the sea and the mountains to Punta de Cavall with the Torre de Les Caletes. After lunch and relaxing, we set off again, because we wanted to get to know the western part of Benidorm beyond Punta Canfali. First you pass the harbour and then walk through a palm grove and finally arrive at Playa de Poniente, which is quieter than Playa de Levante. There are some new architecturally interesting skyscrapers in this part of Benidorm. After strolling through the narrow streets of the old town on the way back, we discovered the Aigüera Park with 2 amphitheatres. In total we covered 21 km on foot today.
Friday 12th November
Two coaches took interested people to the beach of Albir to walk from there on a 2.5 km asphalted path to the lighthouse of Albir. We were with the party. On the way you had a great view of the coastline. Information boards in Spanish and English pointed out geological features such as fossils in the rocks and a former ochre mine. At the lighthouse itself, the wind whistled around our ears and there was no toilet, so we were happy to be able to return the same way. In the evening the language course participants received their diplomas from their language teachers. Those who wished could watch a spectacle at Benidorm Palace at a late hour.
Saturday 13th November
The flight to Frankfurt was scheduled for late in the afternoon and therefore we were able to pack our suitcases and start the day calmly. At 12:00 noon, the German group consisting of 15 people and a few French twinners met in the lounge of the hotel. Peter had organized a shuttle bus so that we could get to the airport comfortably. Fortunately, Monika was also allowed to fly back with us: she had fallen badly the night before, fractured her shoulder and had spent the night in the nearby hospital.
Irmi & Alfred Corbet
Association of Darmstadt