The next day was easier than the previous one. We slept on AirBnB with a Ukrainian family and discovered the whole of Valencia on foot!!!! We managed to visit one of the biggest local markets, try jamon, raspberries and to walk through the whole City Park – the largest and the most beautiful urban parks in Europe. The weather was too good to take buses and spend 2€ on the views from the windows. The markets are MUST SEE – they are so similar to Greek ones, but with a bigger variety of meat and cheese! The smell of rotten mangos mixes with strawberries and the sellers offer you a fresh juice or coconut water. Mmmm!
Honestly, the Valencian park shocked me. That is the best city for doing sports I have ever seen. There are football fields, basketball, volleyball fields, different facilities for any game you want to play. There are also some open-air gyms, playgrounds for kids with a big spider web in the middle of a playground like huge Gulliver. A little bit further you will find freestyle skaters and roller skaters, bikers and graffiti painters. The whole city screams “Do what you love!”
We ate a quick lunch under a palm, took photos and headed to the hi-tech square with enormous pools, fountains, and buildings devoted to science. It’s must-see in Valencia! A place where art mixes with science-fictiony and creates an insane atmosphere. I really recommend you to spend one day in all those museums. You won’t regret!
Unfortunately, we had only a day in the city of paella and had to make our way to the small village Villavieja, where my brother had enough luck to spend his childhood. We stayed with a big Spanish family who treated me as a part of their family despite the fact that they had met me for the first time. Spanish mentality reminds me of the Georgian one. They are so easygoing and open-minded, hot and happy.
La Villavella is a mandarin paradise. You can just walk along the street and pluck oranges, mandarins, figs, pomegranate, aloe and keep going. The whole city is made of green, orange and blue colors. Ones it’s a season of picking up fruits all citizens head to their own plantations and spend the whole day under the sun sweating and burning. Sometimes you have to make 3-5 km one way to reach your garden. See how hard they work so we have this orange delicacy on Christmas Eve.
- If mandarins have pips, it’s a third category of it. These mandarins will travel to Eastern Europe and will be sold as normal ones.
- If mandarin tree gives fruits with black spots, pipes or they are just small, the tree is marked and it means that soon enough it will be cut down.
- A proper mandarin is big, brightly orange with an extremely thin peel and with no pips.
In addition, we spent much time enjoying Spanish cuisine and traditions. The must thing in Valencian families is paella on Sunday evening. The whole family gathers together, each of the members brings his or her children, a bottle of wine and fruits. They dress up and sing songs while Miguel (the head of the family) is cooking paella. Kids are always running back and forth stealing grapes, figs, and singing “Loca Loca”. The cooking process of Paella is a piece of art. The dish differs from the city to the city. Each family has their own way of cooking it, secret ingredients and the way of serving.
Here is most generous and kindest person I have ever met! Thanks to her I could feel the Spanish culture, taste all those delicious dishes and start learning Espanol!
Every day we were sunbathing on a sea coast and enjoyed the high waves. We were the only swimmers as Spanish considered the water was too cold. It was approximately 22°. (They don’t know what cold means!).
The week spent in totally different European cultures gave a unique insight into people’s lives and what makes them happy, what gives them the motivation to work, how they share emotions, cook dinners, sing songs and love.