Thursday night we went to a little bar called La Vitti to hear Devin, Mary’s cousin, play.  Devin played drums behind a keyboard player and singer/bassist.  It was an intimate setting, with a very appreciative crowd.  It was tough to get pictures, but here’s one of Devin and Mary.

My Spanish teacher in Valencia, Rosa, also came out with her husband Jose to enjoy the music.
Rosa offered to take us to El Palmar, a nearby village known for fishing, rice farming, and the best paella in the world, so on Friday, we made a road trip.  I’d never seen a rice farm before.

Wet fields like this are bound to breed mosquitos, right?  Everywhere in Valencia you see one animal that’s kind of the mascot of the city.
Bats eat huge numbers of mosquitos.  There are stories of a battle where a bat awakened a general before a surprise attack, but I’m betting on the more practical and prosaic explanation that bats are ecologically beneficial here.
Anyway, we tested the theory that the best paella is made in El Palmar at a restaurant called Pasqualet.  It’s a small place, run by just two men, but they serve amazing food.  We had shrimp with garlic, a fish stew with spicy gravy and potatoes, and finally, a large seafood paella.  All fantastic and served with great hospitality and humor.  When you visit Valencia, go to Pasqualet in El Palmar!
After lunch, we took a boat ride on the Albufera, a salt water lake.  Our boat was like this one.
We cruised past the traditional houses of the area.

And then out onto the large lake.

After our boat ride, we stopped at a smaller beach called El Saler.  
Thanks so much, Rosa!  We had a wonderful day, a day we’ll never forget.