Benidorm love it or hate it. We are not big fans of it but we have a lot of friends who do like it. I don’t mind going in there to visit but I do like getting on the tram to come out of there. It amazes me with all the skyscrapers and bars and mad people. You can see why it has a name for itself. At the far end of the beach is a hill with a cross on the top. I have always wanted to walk up to the cross. Not for religious reasons, just to go up there and admire the veiw above the madness. Our friends Rob and Jean who were down in Devon on the same campsite as the one we were on have rented a apartment in Benidorm. They rented it last year also and we went in to see them. They contacted us about going to meet them for the day. Rob likes walking so a golden opportunity for me to go for a walk with him up to the cross and leave Nikki and Jean to sip wine on the seafront. The story of the cross goes like this.
Once upon a time when Benidorm was just a God fearing fishing village, (with 7km of white sands) a young Mayor, Don Pedro Zaragoza, with much vision, designed an urban plan that would convert Benidorm in to a tourist magnet and a skyline on a par with New York (hence the city is still sometimes referred to as Beni-York). But along the way he encountered PLENTY of opposition … from the landowners who were wary of giving up their sheep grazing meadows to make way for roads and skyscrapers, to the locals who were simply scared of change. But the sector he upset most was the church, when, following a road trip on his Vespa to Madrid, Mayor Pedro Zaragoza obtained special permission from General Franco for tourists to wear bikinis on the beach. This was HUGE news in the fifties; bikinis were considered sinful and were banned in Franco’s Catholic Spain, yet Pedro argued if they couldn’t wear bikinis, the tourists wouldn’t come and so Franco relented …
But to allow ‘foreigners’ to wear bikinis on our beaches was a bittersweet victory; it actually brought Benidorm the fame it craved … but for all the wrong reasons. Benidorm was hailed a sinful place and the Bishop of Alicante threatened to hang a sign at the entrance to the town naming it ‘HELL’ so visitors could be forewarned.
So to appease the masses and especially the church, quick action was needed and it was Benidorm’s priest Father Salvador Perona that saved the day organizing that a giant cross be made from wooden lamp-posts and erected at the highest point to symbolically restore some goodness into the town.
And so it came about that on a chilly morning in the last week of December 1961, following an official blessing ceremony, the wooden cross was carried on the shoulders of the locals from the Church of San Jaime on the headland between the two Benidorm bays, across the town and up the Sierra Helada mountain, where it was erected and has stood for the last 55 years.
The whole town turned out to help with the journey, with the children dressed in their Sunday best, and so successful was the event that it was later declared by the church as ‘Day of Pardon’ as the souls of the ‘Benidormense’ people had been saved from sin!
It is unclear exactly when the original cross was replaced with today’s more sturdy concrete version that lights up at night, but today the cross is a much loved landmark, visited by thousands of people every year. Some, just to walk off the excess holiday calories, others, local youngsters, to hold ‘botellón’ late night drinking parties. It is also a favourite lovers landmark – most Spanish couples have locked lips at ‘la cruz’ as it’s known locally … and even the final resting place to hundreds of Benidorm fans who have specifically requested their ashes be scattered there.
Made it, even with them little legs.
The veiw from the top, that’s from the top of the hill not the cross.
We walked from the far end of that beach in the photo to the top. You really get an idea how far it was when you look at it from the top. While we were walking along the front by the beach I looked up and thought, bloody hell thats a long way up to that cross, which you could just see on the top of the hill.
While walking along the seafront you see all sorts of peaple from newly weds to nearly deads. And the sellers trying to sell there copy Rolex watches and football shirts etc. And the pea peaple, who are the pea peaple. The pea peaple are con artists. They have a table with three cups on and a pea. The idea being the pea goes under one of the cups and the guy shuffles them about and you put money on which one the pea is under. They work in gangs of about 4/6 The one guy doing the shuffling theothers are an instant crowd which draws their prey in, they place bets and obviously win which encourages the victims to place bets. You won’t win so walk on by. As we were walking along there was a police car stopped, we walked passed and heard a shout the pea men scattered throwing their table on the beach and they all dissapered into the crowd, after the police car had gone by they all started going back to where they were.
Another building I wanted to see close up was the Intempo building. To much to do that day so I biked out there today, it’s only a round trip of 12 miles. The Intempo building is a huge gold skyscraper. In 2005 a 92 million euro loan was obtained from Caixa Bank to begin the build. Work began in 2007 and should have finished in 2009. There were problems all along the way and eventually building stopped because the property developer filed for bankruptcy. The main building was done but still a lot more to do.
Intempo has 47 floors and stands 192 metres tall. The gap between the towers is 20 metres or 66 feet, I don’t know if that is exactly but I think it will be near enough. And is all connected by the cone shape between floors 38-44. All this has been stood like this for a while. Now sold again recently and due to be finished in 2019. It will have apartments, 398 car parking spaces and 133 storerooms. Prices for the apartments have not been released yet but I can confirm I will not be buying one. Start saving if you want one. Enjoy the photos there free. I will not charge for biking time and photo shoot.