K Travels…The High 5 of Valencia!

If I were of the calculating sort, I’d tell you that I’ve traveled more than 10641 miles since May.  Good thing I’ve reigned in my analytical habits to only 84% of my daily energetic outputs. Let me simply state that trails I’ve been ablaze-ing…and if you have to live LA VIDA LOCA…there’s  no better place to do than SPAIN…the south of spain to be more precise. (#5 is probably my favorite…so scroll down there for more info!)

Spanish Tapas

So forgive me for not jumping to this re-cap sooner…  Valencia was over two weekends ago, but working 50 hours a week and continuing to travel every other weekend has reduced my output..BUT! Not input…let me assure you of THAT (did I mention that Spanish Wines are my FAVORITE?)

1) When planning the trip to Valencia, we had read that there were no bull fights in July, so imagine our excitement when it turned out that, yes, the matadors were indeed in town, and for $30, we could get GOOD seats. Knowing NOTHING about the history, the rules, or the expectations of the traditional sport, we spent the 2.5 hours transfixed to the action, attempting to both enjoy the cultural experience, honor it, and also figure out the rules of engagement. The respect of the spectators, the cheering of the crowd, the sun beating down on the ring, the interactions between man and beast, and the predictable dance of the players…all made this a memorable experience. In one word: COLORFUL. The clothes, the blood, the crowd, the tradition itself beaming with pride and integrity. Impressed and Intrigued, that is what I felt the entire time.
(See the end of the post for more bullfighting info!)

2) Jogging and a bike tour through Valencia’s Jardines de Turia…this huge park was created in the late 90s from the entire river bed (the people raised funds by buying double stamps). Now, it is 9 km long, and it offers sports grounds, kid’s playgrounds, green mazes, fountains, elaborate gardens, alleys and spectacular buildings like Palau de la Musica and City of Art and Sciences. The scenery changes every other bridge, which are gorgeous in and of themselves. In two days, I came here three times (2 am jogging runs and a bike tour…quote of the weekend “if I can run the next day, it’s doesn’t count as a hangover).

3) Mumford & Sons.  The last concert festival I attended outside was almost 12 years ago, and I fancy myself more of a down-home, small venue or sitting in a pub somewhere listening to lesser validated artists than jumping in a mass of 10,000 internationals and paying almost $100 a ticket for it. The Festival Internacional de Benicàssim gives 10000+ music lovers three nights (6pm- 8am) to get their groove on. But, I am in love with Mumford and Sons. I love the blending of their theological philosophy with lines I memorized from major literary works (Shakespeare, Steinbeck). Of course, hearing them live felt strangely akin to my days as a young Christian attending a worship service, and I felt my emotions, particularly those of feeling week and in need of redemption, overpowering. At yet, I also felt constrained, and not relaxed at all. Being 61 inches, squished and puny like a raisin between people obviously taller and more inebriated than myself…well, it cheapened it as well for me. I’d more rather prefer a pub next time. 🙂

Beaches in Spain are the BEST!

4) Visiting the beach of Catelleon the evening following the concert was more of an afterthought than a planned to do. We only had one hour to rest up on its shore, but once there, the sun so friendly and not oppressive, the sounds of the waves drowning out the people spaced far away from each other, the warmth of the sand and its purity…a highlight in its simplicity. Made me want to come back and do it “properly” with a picnic, a book and of course, maybe some beer or wine and just veg all day.

5) Tapas! and Wine (my steady Best Friend!). The most widely accepted history of tapas explains that people at local bars would cover their glasses with slices of bread between sips in order to prevent flies from landing in the drinks. This edible lid was the precursor of modern-day tapas.

Pickled White Fish, Jamon with Red Pepper, Soft Cheese Studded with Walnuts

One of my hobbies is tasting things. Sampling is Superb. I love adventure, feeding my

Wine, with a pear salad and a dish of spreads and olives. SUPERB!

curiosity and sucking the marrow out of every possible option. Sure, this greatly annoys my traveling buddies, but hey, at the same time…exposes them to a VAST ARRAY of choices they wouldn’t expose themselves to one their own. We visited an AWESOME restaurant, La Malquerida, where we tasted a superb crunchy prawn and their doughy heavenly bread… Seriously…the  wine in Spain can be tapped into an IV should I ever develop dementia, and I am pretty sure I would slide into heaven on an oblivion of pure elation. I would marry this wine and have only it for the rest of my life. Over the course of three days, I most likely ingested over half a dozen glasses and enjoyed some beer as well…The VIDA LOCA is MI VIDA AMOR.

Are you loving your life? If not, why are you stopping yourself? Get a bottle of Rioja and let the love reign in.

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4 thoughts on “K Travels…The High 5 of Valencia!

  1. OMG….still living vicariously through you and your travel pictures. Spain looks lovely! Thanks for sharing your stories and adventures with us!!!

  2. Looks like an awesome trip. So glad you got to see a bullfight. Certainly a cultural experience not to be missed. I love Spanish wines too, and tapas. I made sure to take my layover in Spain and not England (when I went to Israel) just so I could have lunch in Spain with tapas and one. Glad to see you are doing well. Can’t wait to send you a package of Japanese goodies once we are settled. Still in transit now in the US.

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