La Cuitat [Ciudad] de Valencia

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Flag of Spain and Canary Islands  , Valencian Country,
Sunday, October 18, 2009

We're back now-for a day or two  We've marked off the list Spain's 3rd largest city, Valencia. No, we're not tri-lingual, so please stop asking.  (for the curious, there is a whole other language here "Valenciano"...kind of like Castillion Spanish...but not really).  What we did master on this quick trip to this host city of the 2007 Americas Cup was la comida de Valencia.  

One thing any visitor to Spain will quickly discover, and quite possibly be shocked about ("cause we're in a Mediterranean climate, right?") is the lack of vegetables in the standard Spanish diet. Ham, ham they've got down cold (and I don't even eat the stuff), ...tortilla, olives/oil, oranges, cheese, wine...fantastico!  Vegetables?  I think those are grown for frying.  But Valencia, that's different.  The Valencian diet actually includes tons of produce and all things super duper fresh.  So after arriving we set out on a mission to taste and enjoy - which we did!  Valencian oranges (their trees lining all major streets and heavy with fruit), Horchata - a delicious drink made of ground tiger nuts - with fartons [stop laughing] - fantastic long pastries to dip into the horchata, and of course...paella.  Knock-off paella, which is found everywhere else on the planet except Valencia, just isn't the same.  And paella for dinner?  That's crazy talk.  Will and I allotted a good few hours one day for lunch to settle in to some Paella Valenciana from El Rall in the Old City.  Paella Valenciana is typically made with rabbit and chicken and green veggies like lima beans, artichokes, peppers...etc.  This and Paella Mariscos, with shell fish, are the most common.

Of course we did more than simply eat.  We explored.  Quite a bit actually.  And being tourists as we are, managed to screw up public transportation just enough one day to get in a good 6-7km of walking in.  Maybe that was to burn some of our newly accumulated calories?  We spent much time at the incredible Cuidad de las Artes y Ciencias at their Oceanografic attraction.  I annoyed Will all day long with comments like "this is so San Diego.  Sea World has this.  Valencia IS San Diego."  But the actual architecture of Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias - this is one of a kind and quite massive.  

 Another incredible thing we enjoyed was the coastal area and seeing the work that was completed for the 2007 Americas Cup.  The quick break down is this: In 2007 the Americas Cup returned to Europe for the first time since its inaugural year in 1851.   This was because it wasn't until 2003 that a European team won (I feel una broma [joke] coming on).  However, it wasn't Spain that won - it was Switzerland.  Of course those crazy Swiss have no ocean and the rules state that the races must take place at sea...long story short, Valencia is chosen for its pretty much guaranteed perfect wind, almost no fog, and racing that begins just 15 minutes out to sea.  So there you have it.  And while it is now 2 years after the fact - the evidence is quite clear that some money (about €400 Million) was invested to 'prepare' the city.  In Valencia, things simply glisten in that Mediterranean sun.  

It may be fall in most places out there (and winter in others...[cough] Czech Republic) but we're just not ready to settle into boots and coats.  So we're off in a couple days to our last warm destination - Portugal.  Of course I hear barnacles are a local treat here.  Hmmmm...perhaps a culinary adventure this will not be. 

Adeu [Adios]!
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