Finding Spain Beyond Barcelona

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The old town of Peñiscola

Living in a city like Barcelona, it’s often easy to forget the world outside our city limits. And why not? We have everything we need here. Bordered by mountains and beaches, Barcelona is situated in a near perfect bubble bursting with eclectic neighborhoods, world-class restaurants, luscious parks, and a whole heap of bars and clubs to suit every taste. Now that summer is here, the city is alive…CONSTANTLY.
And while I love this city and its rhythmic, intoxicating beauty, summer is the time to make frequent escapes. As misguided tourists flood my neighborhood, I’m packing my bags and hitting the road.

This weekend’s destination was one that may have forever remained another random dot on a map of coastal Spain had it not been for a friend’s inexplicable love for an unassuming seaside town known as Peñiscola. Rolling into this town, looking not unlike any other, lacked that sense of awe when you feast your eyes on something beautiful for the first time. Peñiscola, at first glance, was simply ordinary. Beach front hotels, each dawning a slightly different color pattern, stood modestly over the terrace umbrellas of restaurant cafes down below. A walking path stretched in each direction as far as the eye could see along the beach. Looking ahead, however, the old walled city, built up high above the surf, stood majestically above the modern resort-style sprawl as if it were still claiming its name as the true Peñiscola, stone by stone. My camera and I had a date to discover its old world charm.

Ascending the cobble stoned steps revealed a town that was the epitome of Spain. White washed edifices, tiled balconies adorned with plants bursting with color, gnarled wooden doors, and the roar of laughter and good conversation had by visitors as they too were charmed by the town’s lighthearted spirit. It’s times like these when I get lost in the good vibes of tiny villages that I remember just how hectic city life can be. It’s also in these moments when I realize just how not Spanish Barcelona is. So, I lose myself in moments behind the camera, trying to capture the essence of village life. I’ll need these photos later when I’m caught up in the stress and commotion of the big city.

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