Friday May 27th. Vuelta a España - Leg 8

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ianfisher 101
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Friday May 27th. Vuelta a España - Leg 8

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Leg 8 of our current Friday Tour takes us further along the coast of South East Spain and out to the Balearic Islands.

We start in Almeria before heading East to the province of Murcia. The Region of Murcia is an autonomous community centered on a historical region of the same name. The region is 4,368 sq mi in area and had a population of 1,511,251 as at the start of 2020. About one-third of its population lives in the capital, Murcia. At 6,608 ft the region's highest point is Los Obispos Peak. The region is among Europe's largest producers of fruits, vegetables, and flowers. It also has an important tourism sector concentrated on its Mediterranean coastline, which features the Mar Menor saltwater lagoon. Industries include the petrochemical and energy sector and food production. Because of Murcia's warm climate, the region's long growing season is suitable for agriculture; however, rainfall is low. As a result, in addition to the water needed for crops, there are increasing pressures related to the booming tourist industry.

Our next stop is Alicante which has been inhabited for over 7000 years. The first tribes of hunter-gatherers moved down gradually from Central Europe between 5000 and 3000 BC. Although the Carthaginians conquered much of the land around Alicante, the Romans would eventually rule here for over 700 years. The Arab conquest begain in the 8th century. The Moors ruled southern and eastern Spain until the 13th century when the city was conquered again in 1247 by the Castilian king Alfonso. After several decades of being the battlefield where the Kingdom of Castile and the Crown of Aragon clashed, Alicante became a major Mediterranean trading station exporting rice, wine, olive oil, oranges, and wool. During the early 20th century, Alicante was a minor capital that took profit from the benefit of Spain's neutrality during World War I, and that provided new opportunities for local industry and agriculture. The late 1950s and early 1960s saw the onset of a lasting transformation of the city by the tourist industry.

Further along the coast we reach the town of Benidorm which has been a tourist destination within Spain since 1925, when its port was extended and the first hotels were built, though it would not be until the 1950s that it became renowned as a summer destination for people coming from inland Spain, especially Madrid. Today it is known for its hotel industry, beaches, and skyscrapers and receives as many tourists from abroad as from Spain. According to the 2020 census, Benidorm has a permanent population of 70,450 inhabitants, making it the fifth-most populous town in the Alicante province. Benidorm is popular with tourists from the UK, Ireland, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. It's initial growth in popularity can be attributed to the package holiday explosion, and continues year round, due to the night-life based around the central concentration of bars and clubs. The large number of free cabaret acts that start around 21:00 and continue into the early hours sets Benidorm apart from other similar cities. A word now on the British sitcom of the same name written and created by Derren Litten and produced by Tiger Aspect for ITV that aired for ten series from 1 February 2007 until 2 May 2018. The series features an ensemble cast of holiday makers and staff at the Solana all-inclusive hotel in Benidorm over the course of a week each year. It is usually the same people who go at the same time of year, usually by coincidence. As people say, those who come to Benidorm "can never stay away" or "never come back". Some higher-class people who come to the Solana are not satisfied with its facilities or the holidaymakers who go there, though others enjoy themselves, mostly due to the fact that it is all-inclusive. In July 2018, it was confirmed that Benidorm would not be returning for an eleventh series, just weeks after the tenth series had concluded.

We continue North East and leave the Spanish mainland at Cap Marti before flying to the island of Ibiza. It's 93 miles from the city of Valencia and is the third largest of the Balearic Islands. The largest settlement is Ibiza Town and Its highest point, is 1,558 feet above sea level. Ibiza is well known for its nightlife and electronic dance music club scene in the summer, which attract large numbers of tourists. The island's government and the Spanish Tourist Office have worked toward promoting more family-oriented tourism. Ibiza is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nightlife in Ibiza has undergone several changes since the island's opening to international tourism in the late 1950s. Origins of today's club culture may be traced back to hippie gatherings held during the 1960s and 1970s. During these, people of various nationalities sharing the hippie ethos would regroup, talk, play music and occasionally take recreational drugs. In recent years, during the summer, top producers and DJs in dance music come to the island and play at the various clubs, in between touring to other international destinations. Some of the most famous DJs run their own weekly nights around the island. Many of these DJs use Ibiza as an outlet for presenting new songs within the house, trance and techno genres of electronic dance music.

Our final destination on this leg is Mallorca, which is the largest island in the Balearic chain. The capital Palma, is also the capital of the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands. Like the other Islands of Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera, the island is an extremely popular holiday destination, particularly for tourists from Germany and the United Kingdom. The international airport, Palma de Mallorca Airport, is one of the busiest in Spain; it was used by 28 million passengers in 2017, with use increasing every year since 2012. The Cultural Landscape of the Serra de Tramuntana was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011

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