August in Javea, Spain is made for sitting outside and sipping a cold beer. This bar in particular is a haven to rasta-loving Euro hippies. The sounds of classic rock and American reggae can be heard against the waves, which are not too far away. This is life, you’ll think. You have to.
The Spanish patrons butcher the English lyrics but they sing along all the same. Their embracing, open dispositions are also a refreshing change from home. A random, older woman will ask you for a cigarette and some conversation. You’ll know her life story before it’s done, perhaps you’ll have hugged or shared a cheers. Besides their apt title for being relaxed, this is probably my second favorite Spanish quality. Everyone wants to talk to anyone. They believe in sparking human connection wherever and whenever possible. It hugs you like the warmth of the sun on your skin and the chilly comfort of your Mahou. This could very well be home.
Walking by the strip between you and the sand are people you enjoy looking at. As a people watcher by heart, this is one of the greatest places for observing the human condition. Javea has a large English tourist population, so it’s one of the few places in Spain you’ll hear English fairly often. European families and couples, young friends, tourists, local hippies, it’s all there. A traveler’s ecosystem and a beautiful thing to be part of, even for the briefest of time.
At night there are small bars on the beach with chairs and tables laid out on its purely rocky terrain. It requires some thought to walk through, but once you do you’ll love the feeling almost as much as sand. If it’s even possible to get used to a view so breathtaking, at some point during your time there you do. Not in a way that you don’t appreciate the view of mountains lit with the lighting of Spanish houses, their rocky bodies touching the ocean and blending back into the rocky floor beneath your feet. No, you never lose your appreciation for such a breathtaking experience, but you begin to naturally fit in. It’s the recognition that we are all connected and this euphoric place and the state of peace that comes with it is yours. It’s all of ours.
History and culture collide in this small beach town, as with most of Europe. About a three minute walk from the beach there are Roman remains. The remnants are etched in Spanish mountain and telling of the prominent culture’s onc god-like influence. You can run your hands through the carvings, which are layers chiseled into the rocks in order to capture the salt when the tide went down. You can stick your feet where the Romans did and bathe in private beaches while you do it. This manner of being so close to a country’s antiquity makes its significance palpable, even intimate.
The closeness and less taboo nature of Europe is expressed throughout the country. It’s not just that they wouldn’t block off a historical site because leaving it open to the world would do more good, it’s in the culture. The beach is often a place where even the stiffest of people can let inhibitions go more, and in Spain, it’s this same freeness that makes Javea the optimal destination to let everything go.