Are there really such things as pink lakes and buildings shaped like cicadas? In Alicante, there are!

2017-03-01 14:21:08

After an intense week at the trade fair, the SapientStone truck gets back on the road, heading for Alicante. As we prepare for our next appointment with Italian design, we offer our readers a few excerpts from our travel log so far.

We leave the coast behind to head for a magical place we have heard a lot about: the pink lakes.

But are they really pink, or is it just an optical illusion, we wonder. It may seem incredible, but in these fantastic lakes the water really does vary in colour from pale to reddish pink.

The phenomenon would seem to be caused by the presence of algae rich in carotenoids such as Dunaliella Salina, and Halobacterium cutirubrum, a type of bacteria, which together cause a chemical reaction that gives these salt lakes their unusual colour.

There are only a handful of lakes of this type in the world, mostly in Australia, Azerbaijan, Senegal and Canada.

In Europe, we can admire the beauty of this unique phenomenon in Spain, not far from Novelda, the next stop on our tour.

The Salina de Torrevieja and the Salina de La Mata are located in the region of Alicante, and the constant flow of visitors has changed them from places for extracting salt to breath-taking tourist attractions.

In the city of Alicante is an equally amazing sight, in this case man-made: the Cigarrera, a building measuring more than 250 square metres next to Centro Cultural Las Cigarreras, containing a bar and coffee shop, designed by artist Manolo Garcia.

The multi-purpose structure is inspired by the figure of a cicada, with a head, a body and a tail, all different shapes and made out of different materials, but perfectly integrated together.

It was constructed in 2015 with funding by the suppliers of the building materials, who offered them free of charge to give the city an innovative new building.

The region of Alicante is also famous for its amazing chocolate, comparable to that of Modica in Sicily and praised by the writer Leonardo Sciascia.

Continuing northward, we come to the town of La Vila Joiosa, where there were about thirty chocolate-makers in the 19th and 20th centuries; only one remains today where chocolate is still made entirely by hand. Pérez was founded in 1874, and the current owner, Gaspar Pérez, grandson of the brand’s founder, still has the company’s old advertisements and utensils in his shop. To go inside the shop is to take a trip back in time while inhaling the inebriating scents of chocolate and vanilla!

What more to say? An essential stop on any trip to Spain!

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