Saturday, 21 September 2013

Alicante warmth

First, Alicante isn't just sun, sand and tourists, bodies baking on the beach and cooling off in the Med. It is partly, and rather pleasurably for those concerned too, but even then there are plenty of Spanish voices to be heard and rather fewer "Brits" than I expected (snobbishness, probably, sorry!)
There are three real jewels of museums - the Archaeological MARQ (Museo Arquéologico) and the modern and classical art galleries MUBAG (Museo Bellas Artes Gravina) and MACA (Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Alicante).
Archaeology has rich finds in the area from the Iberic hunter gatherers and boating discoveries. Salt extraction has been an important feature and there was a parallel exhibition about Hallstatt and salt mining in Austria.
The Contemporary Art museum was a pleasant if light excursion though some dark contributions which seemed to jar with the sunny and generally optimistic feel of the town.
The Gravina gallery has some really beautiful nineteenth century Spanish and specifically Alicantean art, echoing realistic art from elsewhere in Europe but with local touches in the settings and costumes and the people portrayed.
Emilio Varela was an Alicante painter (1887 to 1951). Local scenes with Cubist and other influenced, but realist and with the sun-soaked, sandy buildings and parched landscape of the area. Wonderful, and you probably won't see these elsewhere, another reason to go to new places if you can.

Above all of these, as they say quite literally, the Castillo Santa Barbara looms on its rocky outpost looking out to sea. Dramatic and housing history exhibitions and the lift to the top from the rocky underground centre is welcome in the Mediterranean heat.

Location:Back in Birmingham

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