Valencia – You Know Those Oranges in the Market?

Visiting a port every day can get tiring.  George has decided to take his meds in the evening to give him more energy during the day.  We will see how it works, but he did get going feeling perkier this morning.  We took a shuttle into Valencia, which dropped us off near the old city center.  We did pass a lot of orange trees on the streets, there must be Valencia orange groves around here somewhere!  An enterprising impoverished looking person sold us a free map of Valencia for one Euro.  We were all happy, and we pretended not to notice it was a free map.

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The entrance into the old city. The old river bed runs right in front of the castle. It repeatedly flooded throughout the city’s history, so they diverted the river away from town. The old river bed is now a huge park that runs through the city. It has jogging/bike paths, parks, soccer fields, etc. It beautifies the city and provides a great way for people to avoid city traffic. There were tons of bikes whizzing along it.

Valencia is HUGE.  This is a large city with large party goers.  All the cruise ship info on the city was relating to the wild night life.  Which was interesting, as we left the port at 6 pm, well before the parties started.  My main interest was the central market.  A giant place, housed in a 1930ish glass domed building.

With the wonders of a not-so-free map and Google Maps, we easily found it.  OH.  MY . GOODNESS.  There are over 1,000 food stalls in the market.  And at least 10,000 people.  And they weren’t all tourists.  Tons of locals were hauling carts through the crowds, body slamming people to get them out of the way.  Not to be rude – it was the only way to get through the crush.  I have never seen so much bounty in one location.  It is supposedly the second largest market, second only to the famous one in Barcelona.

George took one look and said he would wait outside.  I, however, managed to cruise all 1,000 booths.  It should be up there as one of the most adventurous achievements of my life.  I have never ever been truly pushed along with a crowd.  Sort of upright body surfing.  I snatched pictures as I went.  It killed me not to be able to buy the fruit and veggies, but we can’t take them on the boat, and how would I ever get them home anyway?  Take a gander at some of these food wonders.

American shoppers could be pretty shocked at some of the food presentations.  We live very sanitized lives with our food.  We don’t always think about chickens having heads and feet.  Piles of entire carcasses are sold; also buckets of heads and feet can be purchased.  Huge hams are hung with the hooves still attached.  We tend to forget that these were live animals and weren’t born in a cellophane package.  The hardest one for me were the skinned rabbits with their large eyes staring up at me.  Sorry, there I go being a vegetarian again!  I do think they have the right perspective, however.  If we are going to eat meat, we should know and acknowledge how it came to be.

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There were many tasty food stalls, but you had to claw your way to the counter to purchase something. I bought George a juice and pastry to take outside for him, and it was a real challenge.

When I finished, which admittedly took a few hours, George was ready to eat and go home.  We stopped at a tapas bar and had a quick snack.  I had never had Sangria, which is wine mixed with fresh fruit.  I thought I should try a glass.  It’s a good thing it isn’t  available everywhere at home, because this is seriously good.  Very refreshing after a full body press with thousands of sweating people.  And it goes down way too quickly.

They take afternoon siestas in Valencia, (it’s Sangria time!) and many of the businesses shut down at 2 pm.  George was done for the day and said he wanted a taxi to go home.  He did not want to walk back to the prepaid shuttle.  The info I had read said to negotiate carefully the price, because the taxi drivers can take advantage.  I asked the guy how much and he said 12-15 Euros.  We had paid 25 Euros for the round trip shuttle, so I figured he was okay.  He was extremely nice and had us back at the ship quickly for 12 Euros.  George was very happy.  He had been sitting in the sun waiting for me, and was ready to rest.

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There were Yorkie dogs all over the place! It must be the signature dog of Valencia. We have two Yorkies and George couldn’t resist petting one that looked like his dog Charlie. The lady was so nice, she didn’t speak English but they both communicated the love of their dogs.

Valencia is way too large for me.  We could see that there is a large nightlife.  Tons of bars and restaurants did not open until late at night.  It seems like a young persons town.  Admittedly, we saw a very small portion of a very large city and cannot begin to make a fair judgment.  However, they sure do have one cool food market!

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We passed many beautiful doors on our walk through Valencia. Huge, ornate and all of the doorknobs are located very low. I googled it, but couldn’t find the history behind it. People were definitely shorter back then, but these are very low! It may be me, but they seem lower than in other cities. But gorgeous!

Author: Traveling Grandma

As an aging mother of six and grandma to seven, travel was always a dream. Diapers, work and an eccentric high-maintenance husband just seemed to keep those trips a distant desire. Eventually, however, the kids potty trained, lived through the teenage angst years and left the nest to start their own families. Work still gets in the way for my husband, but it does help pay for the trips! Can't do much about the eccentric, high-maintenance husband; after 36 years I have reconciled that he will never pick up his underwear. He's my partner for life, travel companion and can always be counted on to do something totally odd. It makes for a good story, and besides - without his major financial contribution, we would sitting at home year after year, watching yet another rerun of NCIS. Due to a major health scare, I recently retired - and love retirement! I have always LOVED to cook. My love of food, and birthing those babies, led to an 85 pound weight gain. After joining a weight loss program, I shed the weight, went to work for them and found a new career. For me, it was a dream job. How many people can say they loved their job? I got to work together with people and help them live a healthy lifestyle, and lose weight. And it changed the way I cook! Instead of coating foods with fat and/or sugar, I've learned to bring out the real flavor in foods and keep them healthy. It's a joy to travel the world and explore new foods. I'm always on the lookout for different foods and willing to try almost anything. George, my husband, is always aghast at my choices. He's looking for a McDonald's while I'm trying to find the best local eatery. Checking out grocery stores and food forums in different countries is endless fun. Bringing back cooking ingredients keeps the memories alive every time they are used in a recipe back home. Paprika from Budapest, Sumac from Turkey, dried squid from Japan....what a lucky person I am to experience it all. Life is interesting everywhere, and there is always something humorous to be found, even in my own backyard of Mt Hood, Oregon. I love to journal and people have been telling me for years to become a writer. As Medicare is now a prominent part of my life, I figured this was as good a time as any. If I don't do it now, I'll be writing stories about my neighbors in the nursing home. A big trip will probably be whacking along in my walker to the day room to watch the Travel Channel. I take heart that Colonel Sanders started his finger lickin' fortune late in life because he wasn't afraid to try something new. So here I go!

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