After our dinner and a few phone calls and text messages home we settled into to our evening routine. Even though we didn't plan to stay up, something about the evening did mean we were still dozing rather than fully gone by midnight. However, moored just outside the port of Valencia there seem to be a fairly constant array of large ships queuing for the port and as the New Year ticked into being they decided, en masse, to start blasting their horns (I suppose there's not much else to do while bobbing on a peaceful Mediterranean Sea?) Waking us up from our dozing state, the prospect of a few fireworks on the horizon sounded a good one, so we slipped on a fleece and poked our heads out the back door, to be met by a much better sight than some distant pyrotechnics. Instead, we found our beach parking neighbours, a lovely mix of Belgians, Dutch, Germans and us, the English, were also all stepping out as well.
Day time bought a peaceful start, slightly later than normal, and the sunny afternoon saw a repeat gathering emerging of the same multicultural, multilingual group all with a common joy and love of life. There was a big spread in ages, backgrounds and languages. The German husband spoke a little English, but the wife only spoke German. The Dutch couple spoke only Dutch. The Belgians spoke Dutch, German and a little English and we added our own English, Dutch and some stumbling German to the mix, but despite the lack of a single, common language it was clear that everyone could speak 'human'. Nibbles and wine flowed fast, as did the jokes (especially the inappropriate ones), hands were waved, smiles shared and everyone understood exactly what they needed to.
For us, having parked up here a little over a week ago expecting a quiet place to rest up, the unexpected community feel and generosity of kindness really gives us a huge burst of hope for 2016 and for human relations in general. We have noticed that sometimes in motorhome aires people often group by nationality, or even don't talk at all, when they are heads down, focused on their own journey. But this impromptu coming together really touched us deeply.
The joy even spilled over into the next day when another couple hosted a similarly unplanned gathering and we introduced our own new favourite game, Finnish Skittles, to the group which was especially good at bringing people together, particularly those who only spoke one language. Who won? Who lost? Who cares? Fun was had.
Also, it's started 2016 with a big burst of hope. Before we started travelling we used to put off by what we read and saw in the news. Sometimes it seemed like that safer meant being separate and keeping to yourself, especially with some recent events in the world and previously open borders being policed once again. Yet, meetings like the one which spontaneously took place over the past few days between strangers without a common language, really turn that feeling around and give us hope for the future that communication is always possible. We are all human after all!
Happy New Year Everyone