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Posts Tagged ‘Valencia’

I’ve been to Spain three times now, and it’s always a whirlwind of tapas restaurants, walks on sandy and pebbly beaches, rapid-fire sentences in a language I only half understand, soaring stone churches, spicy red wine. And in the middle of a gray, dour February three years ago, it was winter survival.

My friend Cole, who has talked me into many things (including joining a swing dance club and flying off to Hawaii for a month), coaxed me to join him and a bunch of students on a three-day jaunt to Valencia. Much as I love Oxford, I needed a break from damp gray days, rainy nights, penetrating cold and mounting school pressure. And Spain felt like a sun-drenched, stuccoed paradise.

I actually walked around without a coat for three days – with damp hair, even! – and took off my shoes (worn without socks!) and walked barefoot on the beach. I ate gelato without shivering. I sat in the town plaza soaking up the warmth, my fingers sticky with juice from the local oranges I peeled and ate. I turned my face up to the sun (and even got a mild sunburn), bought a kicky red coat, tried cafe con leche and loved it even though I hate coffee. And oh my, how it helped me get through the rest of that long winter.

I can’t fly off to Spain this winter, of course, more’s the pity. But it helps, sometimes, to look back at these light-filled photos, and remember.

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