Tuesday, July 21, 2009

valencia

greetings and salutations!

as i´m sure most (or at least, some) of you know, we are currently in valencia, spain. right now we´re killing time- only 9 1/2 hours until our bus to granada leaves! our plan for those hours include: going to the supermercado and getting some food, taking that food to the park and having a picnic, window shopping (we have neither the money nor the room in our bags to do any actual shopping), going to the museum of arts and sciences, and sitting at the bus station reading and journalling and generally waiting around.

our last couple days in barcelona were pretty solid days... we woke up early one morning, planning to hit the beach, and wouldn´tcha know it, the sky was black and it was spitting. so naturally, we went back to bed and tried again later. it was a little clearer and definitely not raining, so we leapt onto the metro down to la mer and found ourselves a nice little spot on the beach. the sky was partly cloudy, but the water was warm enough to be in, so naturally, we were. we spent a couple hours lying in the partial sun, and i made friends with an old french man.. not really. he asked me to put sunscreen on his back.. what could i do? how do you say no to that? so i did it. then i ran away quickly back into the water. we got another doner kebap for dinner- becuase you really really cant beat them, i mean, the amount of deliciousness vs. the cost.. you can´t go wrong.

one night we walked for just under an hour to the fountain show at the bottom of montjuïc- the ´mountain´ in barcelona, home to the jewish cemetery. it was pretty cool- its like the bellagio fountains (only not quite as mind blowing. i mean i don´t think anything will ever blow me away like the bellagio fountains did), with music and lights and this really cool cloud effect.

our bus to valencia left at 10am and took 4 hours. leaving barcelona was kind of sad- its got so many memories of friends and family and fun (the three big Fs). but arriving in valencia was nice and refreshing. it was easily 5-10 degrees cooler, there´s a nice breeze and its a lot quieter.
we´ve been staying at the red nest hostel in a 4 bed room. its a pretty nice place, i would stay there again. our room wasn´t huge, but we really didn´t need it to be. the whole building is painted fun bright colours (its not a taupe wonderland by any means).

since the days are all blurring together i´m going to have to stop doing day-by-day recounts and give you a general recap. i do hope you´ll forgive me.

and so let us discuss valencia... we spent a day at the beach- actually just half a day, it was HOT. there is zero place to hide from the sun, and in the middle of the day that´s all i want to do. but we got in some solid swimming time, and some beach lounging time, and i managed to only get burnt on my right leg, and not seriously, so all in all, i´m quite proud of myself.
we spent a fair bit of time in the park that winds through the middle of the city. when you see it, its pretty obvious that it used to be a river- bridges cross over it, its set down below street level, it just looks rivery. however, back in the day, the river flooded, drowning valencia under 2m of agua. since the people here are not amphibious (i was a little disappointed to discover this too..), they decided that a flooded city= not cool. so they movedthe river and now the ex-river is a park. and its cool. every bridge you cross under brings on a new theme to the park- artwork or playgroudns or fountains. its fun.
last night we had paella. becuase its from valencia. and my word, was it ever good. it arrived in a giant frying pan- easily half the size of the table, and we devoured it in 3 minutes flat. and scraped the bottom to get every last grain of deliciousness. so good.
quoi d´autre? we´ve been eating at pans and company a fair bit.. its kind of like quiznos meets mcdonalds- but its got good, relatively cheap sandwiches.
i´m looking forward to the city of arts and sciences, its the largest museum in spain, and is divided into 4 parts- océanografic (orrr something like that), hemisferic, artsy and hands-on sciencey. i´m not sure which one we´re going to- my vote is either the ocean or the hands-on. i´ll let you know how it turns out.

ok, last time i ran out of internet time (you pay by the 1/2 hour or the hour) and didn´t get to tell you about my lessons...

I LEARNED THIS:
1. pet stores smell the same everywhere
2. orange juice stains white clothes
3. i like buying stamps in spain, they´ve got fun machines with buttons to pushç
4. laundry is a luxury
5. my bank card only lets me take out 50€ at a time. and charges me 2€ for it. not cool.

and now a quick housekeeping note...
i´ve got my phone so that only wifi internet is turned on, phone signal is not. so if you need to reach me do it by email- brooke.hanna@gmail.com. i´m guaranteed to get it.


with affection,
brooke c. hanna

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