Its a sunny Sunday morning in Valencia. Less than 24 hours to go and we’re enjoying the freedoms afforded to us by Phase ! – as I like to call it. We will wander drunken without the guardrails of Phase 0. Oh – what shall we do first?
In anticipation of this impending moment, I decided to head out this morning and capture the final sights of Phase 0. When you see my eventual photos of Phase ! you’ll notice a marked difference in how people are conducting themselves. I dare you to analyze them in detail and pick it out – because I won’t really be able to tell.
I hear there are regional differences starting tomorrow. While we can swim in the Med in the Valencian community, in Catalonia they are not allowed to swim – only surf. That’s pretty optimistic on their part since when I’ve tried to surf I spent nearly the entire time swimming. Perhaps those living up north are more talented surfers than myself.
So, after my ‘KMB’ (Kelli’s Morning Brew – as Jeff calls it) I headed out, alone today. El Jefe stayed home for a little ‘him-time’. I put on my walking playlist and took it slow. Its sunny and the world is out, but I was masked up, had my hand sanitizer, and dodged, weaved and crossed the road to avoid others. Joggers were out in droves and only in Europe would you see sweating men, dressed for a marathon, jogging with full-on baguettes after being told by their wives stuck at home with the kids ‘You can go for a run but don’t bother coming back without the bread.’ So there was a stop at an open bakery somewhere. Even if I could eat those logs of gluten I’m not sure I’d want to after my husband sweated all over it.
It was a glorious walk nonetheless. And I thought I would share some of the photos from my solo adventure. I went across the Trinitat bridge today, for the first time in 10 weeks. It spans the Turia and I made my way down the other side to Torres de Serrano.
The flag on the tower is at half mast in honor of the 28,000+ who have died so far, and those who have suffered in Valencia during the pandemic. There are no tourists here. All the hotels have been shut down (except those housing isolating pandemic victims or health care workers) – they open back up for tourists tomorrow with many restrictions. But there will be no one to fill them. Valencia’s international airport doesn’t take flights from outside the country anymore. Even those who fly internally must have a documented reason for making a trip. So I was struck by the number of people taking photos today. We all seemed to have a need to capture this day. The beauty of the towers against the clear blue sky. Even an old priest stopped and chatted with me as I was standing on the bridge with my face to the morning sun. We all feel the blessing of it.
The gardens of the Jardin del Real were open and I walked through the gates on the way home. The smell of the mesquite trees and their purple blooms are in describable. It really is like perfume.
Walking through the streets on the way home, I saw well tended balcony gardens. This one struck me as the owner has gone all out this year and these geraniums haven’t missed a watering.
We’ve begun telling the time in the evenings by the balcony clapping (8pm) and the pot banging (9pm). But there are silent nods to those who have suffered and lost their lives to this terrible, and as yet, not well understood disease. Hanging on many balconies, from so many buildings, are the Spanish or Valencian flags. Only now there is a new addition. The black ribbons. To signify unity of the country as we have fought back against this virus, and to recognize that we are all in this together.
Its easy to complain about the confinement or the rules. But when something like this happens it reminds us that we are all just humans doing the best we can on a sunny Sunday morning. And our best is all we can expect of ourselves and each other.