Inspiration Seaside

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The ocean inspires contemplation. No matter who you are, the sheer vastness of the one place on earth we know the least about is something that will inspire. For me, it’s more wondrous than space. I forget this so easily– and returning to the shoreline has felt like a walk on the moon.

We’re in Peniscola- a small little town about 4 hours south of Barcelona. It’s a town you pass through without hesitation, a place that only the commuter train slows down for, and even then if you lose track of the train stops you’re bound to miss it.

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The beauty of this place is that it doesn’t look like much from the train stop. Had we been aimlessly traveling the rails- waiting for a inspiring viewpoint or a sign that called for our disembarkation, I most certainly wouldn’t be here. The town around the train station looks agricultural, with an arid feel… Fields of artichoke and citrus, tractors and industrial buildings… It looks a bit like Fresno but with more self respect. It’s all a decoy. The fields nicely hide a quaint yet consuming historic town with a beach and Mediterranean ocean beyond. The beauty is that we stumbled upon this place remotely. And even more beautiful is how beautiful it actually is.

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Peniscola- at least at this time of year, is a town of about 4,000. There is a beachfront boardwalk outside our front door where dogs walk their owners along the coast each day and families block the wind with large sunshades on the sand. In one direction lies old town. In the opposite direction, the slightly more modern town of Benicarlo. In the summers, the population will grow to 10,000- a mass majority of whom are all Spanish vacationers. It is a town that the guidebooks haven’t placed much emphasis on- and we thank them for having made the oversight. There is something special about finding a place other international travelers haven’t found.

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