Yes, for you Spanish speakers, I know that Espana in this post’s title needs a tilde over the “n” to make the “nya” sound, but my small computer doesn’t give me that option. My spelling here seems appropriate, though; I orally butcher all Spanish pronunciations, so for consistency I should butcher the spelling as well, don’t you think?
This is our last post from Spain. During our month here we’ve made new friendships and strengthened old ones. The natives have put up with our many linguistic and cultural faux pas as we continue to demonstrating our amazing virtuosity in doing the wrong thing—repeatedly. Just one example: The day we congratulated ourselves on finally mastering Valencia’s bus system we missed #4 as it sped past our bus stand. We didn’t know the driver wouldn’t stop unless we signaled him—at the bus stand as we stood at the curb looking pitiful. Boy, do we wave our arms now!
That failure was on our second attempt to visit the Lladro Museum.
Two days earlier, as we reported in our last post, we decided not to risk being late for the English language tour, so we rode a taxi to the museum. That time we were let out of the cab in the wrong town and couldn’t get to the right town by the appointed hour. So this time we knew what to do. We would take the bus; our plan would have worked well, if only the bus had stopped for us. It didn’t. We lost ten minutes waiting for the next #4. Having learned our lesson, we waved with authority. The bus stopped, we boarded–and arrived at our transfer stop just in time to be too late to catch #16, which would have taken us the rest of the way to the museum. One little problem: the next #16 wouldn’t get arrive for another 25 minutes. If we had waited, once again we’d have missed our appointment. Once again we had to rely on a taxi. The museum tour was free. It only cost us fares for two taxi trips and three bus rides.
So much for self-congratulation. You’d be amazed at how much humility we’ve gained during this Next Phase of our life.
The museum—another recommendation from Nancy Storms—was worth the trouble. The Lladro brothers are world-famous for their work in porcelain. When we still owned things, Joy treasured a piece (a little girl carrying a her pig in her arms) that daughter Candy gave her, so when Nancy told us the Lladro factory was here in Valencia, this became a “must-see.”
You can Google Lladro Factory Spain to see more of the quality and variety of these pieces. They’re very expensive; we saw why, since the pieces are hand- crafted, hand-painted art objects of the highest quality. We watched a couple of the craftsmen who have mastered this intricate, demanding art form. Joy is picturing samples of the smaller pieces here, but some of them are very large, covering a medium-sized table top.
You would know we couldn’t leave Valencia without a tour of Mercado Central, the huge market in the center of the city featuring fruits, vegetables, fish, meat of every kind, and a miscellany of non-edibles.
As you would guess, Joy was in hog heaven. I lasted awhile.
Not far from our apartment is Valencia’s famed City of Arts and Sciences. In an earlier post I described the beautiful Jardin [garden] del Turia on the former river bed that once coursed its way through the city.
The City of Arts and Sciences is a complex of ultra-modern buildings covering 89 acres toward the end of the park. It’s considered one of the 12 Treasures of Spain. We couldn’t examine the interiors of all of the buildings, so we chose El Museu de les Ciencies, the science museum.
We confess that the contents of this building didn’t quite live up to the promise of the architecture. We were a little disappointed. It’s “hands-on,” much like children’s museums we’ve taken the grandkids to in the States. We didn’t have our grandkids with us and the people who did have grandkids didn’t seem all that interested in lending them to us for the day.
I didn’t want to be critical but I couldn’t help noticing how many of the displays didn’t work; some of them even posted well-worn “out of order” signs. I couldn’t even get the men’s toilet to flush. I think they’re skimping a bit on the maintenance budget. Still, the City of Arts and Sciences is, indeed, a treasure.
There was one moment when I wished to be young again—like some teenagers who entertained us as they valiantly attempted
to stand up in large transparent plastic bubbles on the reflection pool at the science museum. Both teenage boys and girls were playing in them,
so there was a bit of showing off, of course. Great fun.
On Monday we enjoyed an authentic Spanish dinner in a real Spanish home. David (Daveed in Spanish) and Barbara (Barbara in Spanish) invited us to their apartment for Spanish tortillas and Spanish sausage–plus all the trimmings, topped off with fresh strawberries. It was a veritable feast.
After living in Spain following their wedding five years ago, David and Barbara moved to England for David’s work (he’s a video game illustrator), where they lived a couple of years before returning to Spain—not to the Basque country, Barbara’s native area, but to Valencia. As a computer artist David can work from home, so he’s still with the same company but now back in Spain. They chose Valencia specifically so they could give support to the new en Vivo campus ministry here. The Bentleys and Allsops repeatedly expressed their gratitude for this dynamic couple. And now we express ours for their warm hospitality—and excellent meal.
I should mention one more virtue we discovered during our sojourn in Valencia and Salamanca: the cost of living is much less expensive than in most of the other countries we’ve visited. We could easily be tempted to return. (More for the friends than the money, you understand–but also for the money!)
JOY’S PICK OF THE PICS