In the heart of Valencia

We were happy to be in Valencia for Easter. Joy took several photos from our balcony of the three Holy Week processionals that made their way down our small street. After being in secular Montevideo, Valencia feels much more Catholic to us. Still, though the days between Palm Sunday to Easter loom large on the Christian calendar, you’ll notice there aren’t as many spectators lining the street as there are paraders.

Palm Sunday parade down our street in Valencia

It’s a religious observance, important to the few but fairly ho-hum to most natives of this city.

In our last post I let you know a bit about our apartment in Valencia, a spacious two-bedroom flat, thoughtfully furnished by Karen Lopez, our solicitous landlady, who has hurried to fill our every request. We’ve learned in this Next Phase adventure that the Airbnb hosts are as important as the accommodations themselves. Karen gets our highest praise.

A couple of other plusses: 1) The grocery store is nearby, and since we carry our purchases home in bags, we’re glad for short walking distance. 2)  On my morning constitutionals I have been able to reach some of the city’s best tourist sites, including the modernistic City of Arts and Sciences just a thirty minute walk away. What I am saying is that we have a very fine apartment, perfectly located for our purposes–and at a reasonable price. All is good.

Except for one little detail. The elevator. Sometime during the night of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, the lift stopped lifting. It took a holiday for this holy day weekend. It descended to the basement and we haven’t been able to budge it since. We aren’t the only residents missing its services. Someone in apparent desperation tried to pry the ground floor door open, so it now stands with a six-inch gap, convenient for looking at the top of the elevator below, but otherwise unhelpful. I confess I understand the anonymous resident’s frustration.

Elevator is broken–seven floors to climb

Did I mention we’re on the 6th floor which, since in Europe the first floor is really Ground Floor and doesn’t count in the counting, means we’re really on the 7th floor. That gives us unobstructed views from the balcony, which we appreciate. It’s a little less than thrilling, though, to haul the groceries—from the conveniently located grocery on our block—up seven flights. That’s a full story for every decade of our lives. Joy counted the steps from the ground floor to ours: 96 of them). As of this writing, several days later, the lift has still not lifted itself from the basement. We’re developing strong calf muscles.

Bentley Family

Jesse and Sophie Bentley (and Juliet, Liam and Elena) showed us a memorable evening out of town so they could introduce us, on a tiger nut farm, to Spain’s distinctive drink, horchata. It’s been around since the Muslim period (from 8th to 13th centuries) here, their gift that keeps giving. The milk-like drink is concocted from the yellow tiger nut, a tuber that when crushed suggests the taste of almonds. The drink is delicious and though non-alcoholic it can become addictive–at least to me. The accompanying bread, called a “farton” (pronounce with care), which is longer and fatter than a premium cigar, consists of baked flour glazed with sugar–every bit as good as your favorite donut.

Country farm on the outskirts of Valencia, across the road from the tiger nut farm we visited.

The farton and horchata combo leaves the taste buds yearning for more. So did the company we were in. We hope to see more of the Bentleys while we’re in Valencia.

Easter worship at Iglesia River Valley in Valencia

Easter is always a special day for Christians, even for those who are in church every Sunday. They are there weekly to quietly remember the “death, burial and resurrection” of Jesus; even so, this annual celebration stands out. On some Sundays we might be tempted (and even succumb to the temptation) to forsake the regular meeting with our fellow believers; on this holy day , though, you can find us at our post, worshipping, no matter where we are in the world.

So it was with us this Easter. We attended the Iglesia River Valley with the Allsops (Erik, Erin, Malachi, Elliott, and Jonas). Once again we were in the linguistic minority. This is a Spanish-speaking congregation. We didn’t understand many words, but as it was for us in South America, once again we felt at home. Though the pastor is a white-haired gentleman in his sixties (an American whose command of Spanish is flawless, according to the Spanish speakers we consulted), his message and manner communicate effectively with his quite youthful congregation. Amplifiers boomed the music at full throttle; singing and clapping and praising were enthusiastic. I know of at least one elderly person who turned off his hearing aid, not in criticism but to enhance the enjoyment of the experience. We’ll go back.

Erik, Erin, Malachi, Elliott and Jonas Allsop

The Allsops invited us to their home for Sunday dinner: rice dish, pulled pork, garden salad, broccoli, fresh pineapple garnished with fresh mint desert, coffee. Perfect. When the meal and conversation had to come to an end, Erik walked us to the bus stop (I think he’s aware of our reputation for getting lost) and sent us on our way. We landed within a few blocks of our home. Then we proceeded to explore unfamiliar streets in our neighborhood. We hadn’t intended to, but since our two GPS apps didn’t always agree with each other and since we couldn’t show favoritism, we followed the dictates of one for awhile, then consulted the other. We weren’t lost. We knew where we were. We just weren’t certain how to get to where we live. (There’s a difference, you know.) Eventually we overrode the apps, trusted our instincts, found our block, trudged our way up the seven flights of stairs to our apartment, and 50% of us settled in for a Sabbath nap. A very good day.


Furrowed field ready for planting
Valencia is a city of festivals. Here are two ladies costumed for the Fallas, the most important of the annual celebrations.
Handing out palm fronds for Easter season at the Cathedral–in exchange for a donation, of course..



  1. Your adventures are so wonderful to read about. The picture of the farm w/field is almost surreal in appearance. I’ve been to mostly larger cities in my own travels but, I always find it a blessing that there has always been a place of Christian worship. Regarding the lift, I’m thinking Amazon food delivery drones; maybe a new market for them. Look forward to the next write-up and pictures.

  2. It’s exciting to think that your joyful Easter celebration was reprised innumerable times in the course of global Easter–including a wonderful service at Hopwood! As for your uncooperative elevator–it reminded me of the only too cooperative elevator you two road into the Tower of Darkness in Prague in 2011!

    1. Not all elevators were created equal, Jack. Or should I say conversely, not all persons were created for elevators!

  3. We hope while you are Valencia, the home of Paella, you can go to the beach and eat excellent Paella at La Pepica. Their paella was so perfectly cooked, Roger and I were “fighting” for the final morsels at the bottom of the pan! Just a tip, don’t go too early, they are after all a traditional Spanish restaurant and don’t start serving until about 8 pm! No such thing as Happy Hour there! 😋

    1. We hope to take you up on your suggestions of both the paella and the Lladros. Thanks for the tips.

  4. My knee replacements would never handle those 96 steps.. You two are amazing! I have to share with you that one Easter we were in Martinique and decided to go to the biggest church in town. There was standing room only in the balcony and it was extremely hot and crowded up there. As we entered, they were singing a song to the tune of Michael Row The Boat Ashore. Since the song was in French, I have no idea what the words were but I know that when a familiar tune plays, I sing. Ever sung Michael Row The Boat Ashore on Easter? “He who sings prays twice”

  5. Happy belated Easter .So glad you are enjoying your selves.Hope to see soon back at FCC.You ought to be in great shape with all the stairs.
    We miss you .

  6. Roy, it is so much fun to read your blog and we are learning a lot too! Once a teacher, always a teacher, and you are the best!!! We think of you often and look forward to many more blogs! Love Joy’s pictures too! Any time we need a vacation, we just read through another one!
    Miss you but hope to see you again on this side or for sure we will see you on the other!!!
    Hugs and Blessings, Margie & Lou

  7. And Joy your pictures are all so fantastic– every one! Loooove the farm with the fanning field and the fine ladies and the families… what a pair you make as two artists–xoxoxo

  8. Roy, I hear you ate with my nephew Erik and his wife Erin (family shorthands their 2 names to E2, read E-squared). Glad that you can be with them as they’re helping to start this new mission there. I remember an earlier time when you met with some others going to start a mission in England. E2’s story of how God brought them together and then led them to Spain is an amazing one.

    1. Had a great time with the E-squareds. As you point out, in addition to becoming acquainted with this fine family I had a little trip down memory lane, thinking of the young Schades who were en route to their mission in England. Now here I am again, a full generation (or two?) later, meeting others in the family with the same dream, just different country. They said you may be returning to ET in the future. Good for you!

  9. Oh my, Roy & Joy, I could never have done 6 flights of stairs!!! You two are in such good shape!! The daily excitement of your fantastic trip must keep you going …that’s for sure!!!

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