Monday, March 19, 2007

Denia, Spain

It just occurred to me now that exactly ten years ago I was living in Spain. By this point, actually, I was a little more than halfway through my time there. Spring break was still coming up when one of the other guys and I did the stereotypical North American college student backpack-carrying train tour of Europe...well, of France, Germany and Switzerland anyway--we would have spent time in Italy too, but there was a train strike so we couldn't get in. And Madrid, Segovia, Toledo was still to come (a trip organized by our program). But we'd been to Barcelona with the program, and Granada. And possibly Sevilla and Córdoba, which I did with just a group of other students...but I forget exactly when we did that. We'd celebrated Carnival in nearby Benidorm, dancing all night long in the streets while dressed as a caveman...with black face paint that did not come off easily, and we'd been to visit Javea/Xabia and were greeted as very important visitors by the town itself.

And what was there in Denia itself? The people, especially my host family. The Mediterranean Sea. An old castle on a hill in the middle of town. An older Roman tower down the coast a little ways that I liked to walk to. Raw sea urchins, the local delicacy. De Nit ("Of [the] night" in valenciano), the club where we'd hang out some weekend nights, not a proper discoteca since it closed at 2 am, and the real discotecas didn't really get busy until 2 am. Orange groves--beautiful. Lots of seafood. Lots of oranges. Olive oil and red wine. And sangría. And then there was the mountain, Montgó, which inspired the first poem I ever had published. There were a few caves to explore and some piles of rock that seemed to be incredibly ancient ruins (the town went back at least to the Greeks and probably to the Phoenicians...and may have had whatever the original Iberian peoples were as well [possibly related to the Basque people, though that's not known for sure right now]).

So to anyone from Denia, I say, "Bon día," and wish I remembered other phrases from valenciano that would make sense here.

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