This week, we’re doing A Day in the Life in London, the UK compared to Alicante, Spain! I’ve teamed up with Suzy from suzystories.com to bring you the similarities and the differences between living in Alicante, Spain and London, UK.
Don’t forget to read suzystories.com first to get all of the information about how Suzy’s day went!
Saturday 27th October 2018
Today, my alarm rang at 6:00a.m and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I resented it. Isn’t it funny how we take on a new routine?
My body has adapted to my new time schedule – no longer am I in bed and asleep by 10:00 – no longer am I able to wake up at 6:00 and not feel like it’s some kind of foreign concept.
It’s still dark when we leave out at 7:45 to get the morning tram. The sun hasn’t even started its day yet. Everything is empty. Quiet. I think back to London, the 8:00am metro; I bet it’s rammed even on a Saturday.
Alex walks me to the tram. There’s a chill in the air. Winter is well on its way. A jumper is essential as are the boots. It starts lightly raining just certifying that the rain isn’t going to pass us.
The tram is empty. So different from the afternoon tram. It’s quiet. There are seats. It’s a short journey and one that only costs me 1,20€.
The tram to Alicante is out of service at the moment so there are replacement buses.
I walk across my favourite park – it’s so different in the morning – almost like Castle Gardens.
You’re probably wondering why I’m getting on a tram before 8:00a.m. Today is exam day. Not mine, though it kind of feels like mine.
All year, I’ve been preparing my children for this day. Cambridge English Exam day. All of the preparation comes down to these three exams. Listening. Reading and Writing. Speaking. They’re strong. They have grown from speaking near enough nothing to holding conversations and being able to ask questions. In English?!
I just know they’re going to be so nervous. But, I know they will be okay. I’ve done my part as the teacher and all I can do is sit outside, give them a hug and hope for the best.
Your best is all you can ever do.
It’s reaching 8:45a.m and there’s still no sight of the sun yet. Even when the sun does rise – I don’t think we’ll catch a glimpse of sunrise with these clouds.
I head to the local café. A croissant and a cappuccino should keep me going. It comes to a total of 2,50€. It makes me wonder how many places in London you could get that?
I like documentation day. It makes me think. It makes me take a step back. It makes me look at finer details. I love doing that.
I get into work and my lovely colleagues are already there. The kids start arriving and they just emit nerves.
The kids came and went having hugs and support from us. They left happy. They said it was easy. Nothing makes a teacher happier than hearing the words “it was super easy!“. I was so impressed, so proud of them all. We’re a good team. I love my job.
Alex met me at the tram and we walked back. We got back just in time for the rain to start hammering it down. The chill is still lingering.
Alex does some marking, it’s been exam week for him too. I play some games of Clash Royale and eat a bag of Thai Sweet Chilli crisps. The other week, I said to Alex the one food I’m missing at the moment is Walkers Thai Sweet Chilli crisps – the next I went into Dealz – low and behold “new – Thai Sweet Chilli crisps”. Did they hear me?
The rain goes on and on and I can’t help but wonder if the flooding will happen again.
I have to get prepared for the Escape Room at the Sol Pelicanos – it’s a Halloween special. They’re always a lot of fun so I’m quite excited to get involved.
I consider doing some blog bits and pieces but I’m so tired. 4 hours sleep. I was nervous for the kids!
We take the bus into Benidorm, the rain has stopped but the flooding is just getting started, getting off at Rincon. The Sol Pelicanos Ocas is located on Calle Gerona, right in the heart of the Benidorm action so the bus was quite a long one.
Wandering into the Sol Pelicanos Ocas, Halloween is in full swing. There are awesome decorations that really bring Halloween to life. We’re wrapped up for the cold weather ahead and the threatening storm, yet there are children playing in the pool. It seems impossible.
We head out to the once children’s play park and find the Pop-Up Escape Room Halloween Special. I love that the Sol Pelicanos and Escape Benidorm have joined together to create something special for Halloween. It makes a change for something so unique to come together to create something that truly has the guests in mind.
The Escape Room was so enjoyable. The staff there truly have built something incredible. To be able to offer such a fantastic experience that is accessible to both English and Spanish speakers is something completely out there. Our Game Leader was absolutely amazing, a true actor. They really pull together to make the experience as realistic as they can.
You really get into the atmosphere. You start to believe it.
After we managed to escape, we were introduced to some members of staff at the hotel who were nothing short of pleasant and welcoming. We were invited to try out their Halloween cocktail, which was definitely strong but super tasty.
The rain started to threaten so we did what anybody would do, we dashed over the road to the nearby Morgan’s Tavern. Benidorm is known for its tribute acts and the Motown tribute singer was incredible.
Morgan’s Tavern is a pirate-themed bar which hosts all sorts of tribute acts from Bruno Mars to Queen to Take That. There’s something for everyone. It’s also the bar that was on the Benidorm TV Series. I felt like I was living out the TV Show, first the Solana then Neptune’s.
When we left, the skies opened and the rain fell. It fell hard. Wearing boots and jeans, I was absolutely soaked. We were feeling pretty hungry so were able to dash into the nearest KFC, after leaping over water flooding out of the drains and gushing down the street like a river. When it rains, it pours.We got to the bus stop, which fortunately is sheltered but by this point, we were soaked and cold but it didn’t dampen the day.
When we got in, Rio was excited to see us. Throwing all wet clothes to the line to dry, we hope for a better weather day tomorrow. After all, everything changes in a Benidorm minute.
The rain splashed against the window and the thunder crashed and roared like a territorial wild animal. Dashes of light lit up the rooms as the storm got closer and closer. I lay awake listening to it all as Rio tosses and turns in his sleep.
Another day has ended in Benidorm. It’s time for bed.
Similarities and Differences Between London and Alicante
After spending so much time in London, I just know that even in the height of summer, nothing compares to the hustle and bustle that London promises. Tube rides just aren’t as comfortable as they are here. Even in rush hour, the tram driver has time to stop and wait for you. You’ve always got a little space to breathe.
We’re no strangers to London and its access to the world. You can get anywhere and everywhere and that’s one of my favourite parts, but sometimes, why would you want to go anywhere else? London has everything you could ever want in a capital city, it’s beautiful.
London has a host of airports with good connections to the Rest of the World, Alicante, however, is very short of connections. We have regular connections between Britain and Spain thanks to Ryanair, Jet2 and EasyJet, but places further afield are a little less simple. Most of the time, it means travelling to Madrid, Valencia or Barcelona to get anywhere other than the limited Europe connections.
Even though England is known for its rainy weather, it was Alicante that brought the thunderstorms and the battering rain this time. Although London has on average 10 days of rain in October, whereas Alicante has 5, it was Alicante’s turn for the waterworks. London remained sunny. Would you believe it?
I do wonder the height difference between my own and Suzy’s flat, with her being the top floor, I wonder what difference in height it is for our middle apartment that sits on the top of a rather large slope towards the mountain. We are both lucky to have an oasis of quiet inside two big cities, even if mine is minuscule compared to London.
Suzy managed to find a slice of Spain in London, at £10 a head. I do wonder if it stuck to the original recipe. Recently, a marketer from Visit Spain worked with Sainsbury’s to work on their marketing surrounding paella. There were a lot of paellas promoting the inclusion of chorizo, which doesn’t work as a traditional paella recipe. Their reasoning: “the chorizo is for nibbling with wine, you don’t put it in the paella!”.
It was interesting how Suzy brought up the idea of paying by card, I too in England always paid by Apple Pay or Contactless. Never did I think I’d be one who now doesn’t even use a card. Everything is just cash.
London brings in around 22 per cent of the UK’s GDP whereas Alicante brings in around 15 per cent of Spain’s GDP.
The Comunidad Valenciana region is actually one of the highest qualified in Spain and the South of Europe based on excellence. It boasts 4 private universities and 5 public. Amongst this, they have American and British English Educational Centres, plus French and German. At the moment, there are currently 124,000 university students here.
This, of course, is minuscule when you shadow it against the 50 universities in London. There are far more educational opportunities and far more choices for courses. However, the difference in university fees is phenomenal.
University tuition fees in London are £12,000 on average, whereas in the Comunidad Valenciana, for a 60 credit course it is currently around 1,400€ per annum. The difference in price is absolutely jaw-dropping.
Next time, we’ll be comparing the similarities and differences between living in Alicante, Spain and Cape Town, South Africa!
Want to know all about life in South Africa? Well, stay tuned because next time, I’ll be teaming up with Fadwa from Hello World Breakout Girl to bring you A Day in the Life in Cape Town compared to Alicante, Spain.
Make sure you’re subscribed to my blog so you don’t miss an episode!
If you want to be a part of this exciting series then please feel free to fill in the contact form below. I look forward to hearing from you!