It was mid April in Germany, and my friends and I got a 10 day vacation. Some people decided to use the vacation to explore more of Germany, others decided to go do some backpacking in Eastern Europe. We were bold enough to rent a place by the beach in Spain for the week.
Only one of the four of us had been to Spain before, so this was sure to be an amazing trip. I went with 3 other guys, one from Australia, one from Norway and one from Sweden. With me coming from the Northeastern U.S, we pretty much represented 3 opposite corners of the globe. What I also didn’t know at the time is that the U.S is one of the few countries where Spanish is taught as the primary second language, so unfortunately we would be navigating through an entire country on my 6th grade Spanish.
We would also be reuniting with another one of our friends who was visiting her parents during the break in another part of Spain. This would come into play later on in the trip. We would be going to Alicante, an up and coming tourist spot in the south of Spain with beautiful beaches. However, when we got there, most of the locals would be bundled up in winter coats and hats. It was a mild temperature, but to many people the winter had just passed. My Scandinavian friends were dead set on swimming as soon as we got into Alicante. I’m pretty sure one even changed into his bathing suit on the plane. The only problem is, by the time we got into the city, it was already about 10:00pm. That didn’t stop these guys! They took off through the city streets in their short shorts and beach towels, desperately looking for any place to jump into the water. We passed by many jacket clad locals who looked at us like we were crazy, but they were the crazy ones! If I lived by the beach I would swim year round, and I still do!
We searched all over the city and still couldn’t find a place to swim. We were thinking about jumping off the docks where they keep the yachts, but it was heavily guarded and didn't seem like it was worth the risk. We decided to cut our losses and head back. The next morning we would swim for sure.
This city was literally a playground for us. They had an outdoor gym along one of the main roads and they had trees you could climb. We laughed as we used some of this ridiculous exercise equipment that seemed so out of place in the middle of a city. This is such a cool concept though, and one I think I’ve only seen one other time. This kept us entertained for about an hour or so and then we called it a night.
Our place was beautiful. Staying at an Airbnb with 4 people gets you some of the nicest apartments in the city for a very low price. We shared 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a kitchen… not bad! We woke up the next morning and got some amazing falafel at a place down the street. This region of Spain has a lot of cultural influence from northern Africa, so you can get some great food here. Over the next few days, we would become regular at this place, and the guy would no exactly what to make us when we went in.
We then headed to the beach. Although everything around us was warm, we knew the water would be only slightly above freezing. We warmed up as much as we could, and then ran full speed into the freezing cold water. Our Australian friend decided to sit this one out. I guess he had become too accustomed to the warm waters of his homeland.
As soon as we got about waist deep, we all dove into the water, and when we emerged from the brisk water, my friend said one of the most quoted lines of the whole trip “Ahhh, it’s like mid summer in Norway”
This was perfect, always looking on the bright side. Throughout the whole trip I started to glean small life lessons from him, as he unknowingly taught me to be happy with less and always make the most of the situation.
The next morning we would be getting on the train to visit our friend in Murcia. She had been hyping up the trip for days now, and we were super excited to enjoy one of the biggest street festivals of the year.