A Staycation in Valencia

Jeff is off work for the next three weeks. Normally, we would have gone to the US for the holidays but we are homebound – like everyone in the world right now. So we´re going to socially distance, observe all protocols, and try to enjoy the city where we currently live. Jeff works a lot. So much of the time we´ve lived here he´s been working and hasn´t always been able to take advantage of all that the city has to offer. It´s weird to think that we´ve now been in some sort of lockdown or restriction for 9 months. By March it will be a whole year of the three we´ve lived in Valencia. I think it´s safe to say none of us could have imagined it would last this long

Has Jeff seen all the museums? No. Does he want to see all the museums? No. But there are a few I haven´t seen so we will space them out and go to some while there are no tourists here. Does he want to drink beer in the middle of the day? Yes, yes he does. So we went to some landmarks and sat in cafes in their shadows, and he got to drink his beer like all ex-pat retirees, without a care the world.

It´s funny. The first morning we went out to go to a place he´d `always wanted to go´ and we found ourselves rushing – just like a normal morning. Because usually he has to be back to log into work. Finally, he realized he had no where to be and slowed down. I was grateful. He has long legs and I´m like a hamster on a wheel most days trying to scurry to keep up. It also allowed us to take a breath and look around. See the city as less a series of tasks and more where we can see the little details. Stuff we usually walk by.

Valencia is so lovely. And winter is my favourite time of year here. The sky is cerulean blue, crisp and clear. The air is fresher and the orange trees lining the streets are getting heavy with fruit. It´s hard to believe it´s been nearly a year since the last orange harvest by the farm equipment beast that shakes the trees on our street. Soon the smell of oranges will perfume the air.

We walked a bit too much yesterday as we were so excited to be out at mid-day. It wore me out. Today we had an appointment at the bank and on the way home we thought we would stop and buy our annual Christmas lottery ticket. The lottery in Spain is a huge deal, but the Christmas lottery is the mother of all lotteries. Its the big show. They have jackpots of billions and if you don´t want to pay for your own ticket – it´s expensive – you can buy into a share of a ticket at your local bar or cafe. Then watch to see if their number hits.

Today, on the way home from the bank, Jeff spotted this sign for the lottery on the butcher shop window and he laughed.

`Of course. The butcher is selling shares in the lottery and tacking on €3 euros to go to The Animal Defense Fund. Talk about not being self aware.´

`Maybe it´s guilt money.´ I told him. `Absolution for the rest of their literal bloody year at the butcher shop.´

Jeff didn´t seem convinced. We had an Amazon delivery so we had to rush home. He ordered more filament for his 3D printer and he´s planning on building something – I don´t understand it. He bought the plans for it from some dude in Madrid online. So I have a feeling that the rest of these three weeks will be me saying something along the lines of `Want to go see the silk museum?´ and him saying ´I´m printing something. I should probably stay home in case something happens.´ Like there are 3D printer emergencies. I´ll have to check the website. Maybe the silk museum cafe – because there will be one – will serve beer. Then he can´t resist. Even Superman has his kryptonite.

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