We’ve been enjoying the intercambios de idiomas, and talking with la gente here in Valencia. I practice and appreciate the Spanish language a little more each day. Today I heard a word that made me laugh.
We like to visit the smaller churches as well as the cathedrals. We’ve walked by St. Ursula lots of times, but yesterday was the first we’ve found it open.
Near the entrance there was a little shrine setup outdoors.
Like many of these smaller churches, the inside is more impressive.
I found this interesting tile image, but I have no idea what it means. I wish I had a symbol dictionary so I could understand these strange images.
And here’s an image I keep running into in Valencia. The angel or saint holding a fish. I think it’s Raphael, the archangel, but I’m not positive.
We also found St. Vincent’s open.
Ok, I assume you’re tired of all those churches, and would like a breath of fresh air. So, what about those famous Valencia oranges?
Orange trees are everywhere here, and the region of Valencia is a major producer of oranges, but no one touches the ones growing here in the city. Our guide told us they were brought here originally by the Moors, and in the city they are decorative, but very very sour.
Oranges are in season here now, and the orange juice in the cafes and restaurants is fantastic, just not made from the oranges in the city.
One last thing. The hardest thing about going to the market is having no feel for the metric system. Everything is in kilos. But, we’ve been buying lots of delicious tangerines, and turns out a kilo is about a dozen smallish tangerines.
Poco a poco, as they say here. Little by little.
Valenbisi is the city’s program to promote bike transportation. Today we signed up, and went for our first ride.
Plenty of people own their own bikes, of course, but few are as fancy as this one.
Here’s Mary still looking a bit skeptical.
We set a simple goal today: buy bus passes and take a bus to the beach. Here’s Mary on the #2 bus, now and forever the Valencia Beach Bus.
The weather was gorgeous. I finally got some sunny pink in my face. Of course, by Valencia standards, it’s still winter, so the beach was quiet. A few surfers, families walking the beach, tourists from less friendly climates. Most of the bars and cafes are open on the beach, and it was a great day to enjoy a cervesa or vino tinto and listen to the beach musicians.
Mary is always calmest and happiest at the beach.
So, it was a sunny day with mission accomplished. What more can you ask for?
Yay! Sunny again today, and a little warmer. Our language exchange was fun again, though last night’s crowd was much older than Sunday’s. It’s possible to attend one of these exchanges every night, if you want. Today, after two nights out in a row, we didn’t do much else but a sunny walk.
Our day usually starts with a trip to Mayan Coffees.
His coffee is strong and smooth, no bitterness or burnt flavor (como Starbucks). This coffee opens your eyes and your attitude, and Oscar’s shop is no nonsense. He imports four coffees, and each day makes just one of the four. You don’t have to worry about choosing. You get the coffee of the day in espresso or americano style. No pastries, no donuts. But it’s sooooo good, we go there most everyday.
The price for his world class coffee is 1,50€, and since the exchange rate is so good right now, that’s not too much more than $1.50. Other things here are also very cheap. Here’s the wine we like.
We stumbled into a language interchange last night. We were in search of a good craft brewery and a quick dinner, and navigated to, Tyris on Tap. Turns out the bar was hosting a group of gregarious language learners who welcomed us into their intercambio de idiomas.
The place had good ales, but we really didn’t have time for anything but conversation after joining the group.
There were folks from around the world, and on each table was the flag of the primary language to be spoken at that table. Mary enjoyed speaking English with someone other than myself, and I struggled with my Spanish at another table. We had a great time, and saved a lot on beer and food since we were so busy talking.
We were invited to another intercambio tonight at the Cafe de las Horas, and for today’s excursion we set out to find the place. Along the way, we saw something that’s been rare lately.
Yay! The sun is out for the first time in about 5 days.
Anyway, we found the cafe, and it’s definitely worth looking for.
Well, since there was no sign posting a story, I’ll make up my own. This is an ancient version of my Uncle Bill being taught by an angel how to catch fish anytime and anywhere.
Finally, here’s what I heard as I hurried to return to the church after mass.
According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of_Valencia, we’re having 1 of only 44 rainy days of the year. Of course, we had another just a couple of days ago, and another is supposed to be on the way.
Rosa, my Spanish tutor, says, “Esto es historico aqui!!!” (This is historical here!) Those selling paraguas (umbrellas) are very happy, the rest of us, not so much.
In this next picture you can see that it’s not all been rain. That is hail.
Here are some details.
And, of course, the North Station needs its identity displayed.
There are lots of other art deco details.
And best wishes for travelers are all around the station in lots of languages.
It’s easy to imagine another time at the North Station, maybe a little more graceful and elegant than today.
“I am an illustrious house built in fifteen years. Try and see, fellow-citizens, how negotiation is such a good thing when there is no lie in the speech, when it swears to the neighbor and does not deceive him, when it does not lend money with an interest charge for its use. The merchant who acts this way will prosper galore and at the end he will enjoy eternal life.”