June 18, 2024

Have you ever seen something so stunningly beautiful that it literally takes your breath away? I have: the view from the Santa Barbara Castle in downtown Alicante, Spain.
I had the privilege of calling Alicante, Spain my home for five months, as I studied abroad for the spring semester.
Now, just close your eyes and imagine this: straight down below you, glittering in the fading sunshine, is the Mediterranean, an impossibly blue-green sea, not a speck of muddy-brown anywhere. The waves break a bit at the shoreline, but beyond that, smooth. Smooth as glass, the sea stretches into an endless pale blue sky, delicately painted with the typical evening streaks: the palest of blues, the softest of yellows and the most muted orange.
Now, turn a little to your left, and, careful not to look directly into it, take in the setting sun. His final rays of the day bathe the quaint casas below in a comfortable orange glow.
Now, a bit dazed from gazing at the setting ball of fire, you let your eyes follow the snow-white gulls, dancing in the last rays of light; they are so at ease, soaring ballerinas, pirouetting through the evening air.
They drift to your left, unexpectedly, and beyond them, something else catches your eye: the mountains. Etched into the fading blue sky – looking like a five year-old’s first creation on his etch-a-sketch – the mountains stand tall, surrounding the city, almost as if guarding its many little treasures and secrets.
Finally, you look straight down again, and this time, you see the twisting streets below. You see movement. Movement everywhere. The people, the cars, the birds, the tram and the waves – all are on the move. And yet, you can’t hear a thing.
How strange. How tranquil. How magnificent.
You may feel a little shiver electrifying your body; that’s okay . . . let it work its way down your  spine, traversing its way through your arms and legs, your fingers and toes.
Now, just rest your hands on the cool, stony wall, inhale the briny sea air – be sure to take it all in – but most of all, be prepared to let it take your breath away.

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