Mishaps and Fortune

I believe I will never forget those days in Valencia and Alicante. Every journey of mine has a unique atmosphere – one that will never be recreated. This vacation was a chaotic mix of laziness and haste, excess amounts of alcohol, all-day trips and being too aware of how the time passes. It was also a mixture of things, good and bad, occurring one after another. All up to the turning point. None of us had expected what happened at the end and we were completely unprepared.

We arrived in Valencia in the afternoon. We found our accommodation and set out on a walk. For the Spanish it is entirely normal to talk so loud that three blocks in every direction, people are up to date with the subject matter. Thus, the first evening we witnessed a lot of ordinary, never ending shouting matches and one significant disagreement. All that happened in the street, naturally. After returning to Poland I was quick to miss this frantic country. Whenever I hear people talk in the street at night, I now think of Spain.

We visited the Oceanographic and the City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia’s main attractions. We played with electricity and optical illusions. We saw little chicks hatching, dinosaurs reconstructed, and dolphins dancing. We could watch wild animals such as penguins, seals, and crocodiles. We spent there two entire days, from sunrise until sundown, and yet we did not discover all the nooks and crannies.

We were accommodated in an apartment that oversaw a small alley. The large table in the dining room was always full of tapas. We wanted to try everything and bought Spanish food in huge quantities. When I fell in love with sangria, we made it ourselves in a big pot. We poured it into glasses with a ladle.

Our stay in Alicante was completely different than Valencia. It was only then that we began to live to the fullest every day. We rented a car and drove a lot, looking for wild beaches, waterfalls, and beautiful landscapes. At times, we were accompanied by Jorge, A.’s friend who lives there. Now, back home, I think I’m not capable of truly experiencing moments. I have promised myself to work on it, though.

When Jorge joined us, we went for a walk around the hilltop Santa Barbara Castle. We saw the whole of Alicante from up there. It was especially picturesque just after sundown – a seaside town in orange and pink. We sat on huge rocks by the castle and waited until it got dark.

Our last day we left the apartment and set out on our way to the airport. We had a few hours to spare, so we parked the car in the center, at the castle hill. We wanted to enjoy the view for the last time. After we got back, a broken car window was our welcome. Everything had been stolen. We went to the police station to testify and the forensics guy checked for fingerprints. He found none.

All my documents were gone and I felt non-existent. At least to the airport employees. I had my testimony from the Spanish police station, but it changed nothing. There was no way they’d let me go back to Poland and the flight was due in a few hours. It was an extraordinary feeling. I kept dozing off at an airport bench with no documents and no luggage, with only my phone and my camera on me. The only things I always carried, the phone and the camera. Nothing else.

I didn’t know what to do. The airport people didn’t want to let me through. I was a ghost to them, after all. Internally, I’d already begun working on a plan to get to the embassy in Madrid. There was no one who could help me in Alicante, there’s not even a consulate. Just then, when I was ready to travel inland, my dad saved me. He sent me a picture of my passport from back when I was about nine… and it worked. It’s marvelous how red tape functions. At the gate I identified myself with my testimony and the ages-old passport. And I got home. It’s partly because of it all that I believe I will never forget those days in Valencia and Alicante.

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