As always, the trip from our home in Washington state to Spain was grueling. Nothing went wrong, the connections were actually quite good but still it was 30 hours without sleep before we arrived here. But I must say it felt great to be back and Valencia is a wonderful place to shed your jet lag. Valencia is Spain’s third largest city behind Madrid and Barcelona but it somehow just seems quieter. Yes, it is off season but still there is something going on here. It just seems so much less frantic than the top two cities, and I like that. Everywhere we go we seem to notice life going on at more a more measured pace. Mind you this has all been gleaned from only two days of wandering about, but it is interesting.
I continue to be both amazed and frustrated when I visit other countries and see what sorts of projects they have been able to accomplish while back home, these days, we can’t even seem to fill potholes. Valencia should be proud of all its current civic improvements as well as its rich history. We have seen a few impressive efforts in the short time we have been here. One appears to have been a repurposed diverted waterway. It today is an extensive below grade park featuring gardens and multi purpose trails that runs through much of the city and down to the modern opera house, science museum and aquarium complex that sits just above the port. These two features alone provide access to healthy activities such as walking and cycling, but also together they bestow a calming beauty and peacefulness that every citizen can enjoy and benefit from. We also discovered some gorgeous tree lined “grand via” type streets that provided access to other charming neighborhoods where the pace of life seems to be relaxed and just fine.
Tomorrow we will rent a car and drive to Almería where we will spend two nights before heading off by bus to Motril where some expat friends, Sam and Laura, from Portland will pick us up and takes us back to their home in the small village of Pampaneira. This pueblo, from what I understand, is located in the coastal mountains about an hour or so from Motril. More clarification on that later. But, for now day is done. Today was Robin’s birthday so we celebrated over a wonderful Indian lunch in one of those aforementioned charming neighborhoods and then strolled back to our hotel. As our room door swung slowly open we noticed a bottle of wine in an ice bucket sitting on the table with a card from the hotel manager. Curiously the card only had the managers particulars on it but no message. We are considering it to be a birthday gift but in truth we don’t know. Nonetheless, things are looking up. More tomorrow from Almería as our road show continues.
Madrid to Valencia
The Sistine Chapel of Valencia
Science museum and Aquarium
Cooling off in the aquarium