Sights, Scents and Sounds

Yesterday, we decided to go the other way on the river. Usually, were heading towards the City of Arts and Sciences. Or to Colon to go shopping. But what lay the ‘other way’, we weren’t sure so we decided to find out. What a fun day!

The upper park is less Hollywood and more neighborhood. Its part of the older city and there are museums and parts of the old walled city that we’ll go back and explore. Stone bridges and towers from the 1300’s, and sculptures of popes and saints that festoon them.

We watched kids of all ages in organized rugby matches. Something I would expect in Manchester, not Valencia. We understand the rules, not at all, but it was fun watching the kids and the crowd getting into it.

We had a wonderful lazy lunch and then enjoyed a semi-pro baseball game. It seems that some of our US pro teams have farm teams here and the play was really good and FREE. It was nice to watch a sport where we know the rules and can cheer at the appropriate times.

Dr Seuss Trees

In that section of the park, found new types of trees that we have never seen before. Jeff calls some of them Dr Seuss trees. They have thorns on their bulbous trunks and they lean over under their own weight with large pods that look like larva for some terrifying bug, but are really filled with seeds and soft downy flax that protects them. In fact, there are a lot of trees here that have pods.

And we discovered a type of tree that looks like many leafy trees back home. Except it is covered with the most unusual lily-like cluster flowers in bright orange-ish red. Again, we have no idea what type of tree it is. Both of us have found this frustrating and I’m going to see if they have a tour of the river park by an arborist who can explain what they all are and where they originate. Or maybe there’s an app for that.

Lily tree

On the way home, we discovered there is a horse club near our house – right in the city. If I decide to take riding lessons I’m good to go. And speaking of animal friends, we are overrun with dogs here. Jeff stands at the window and watches them a lot. We can’t have a pet because we want to travel, but it doesn’t stop him from following some of our neighbor’s dogs and getting to know their habits.

One dog, a golden retriever I have dubbed ‘Rodriego’, is a regular. He looks exactly like our dog, Mr. Perkins who passed away in 2014. Jeff recounts Rodriego’s exploits in the dog park across the way and admires how he carries his owner’s newspaper home from a local bodega. Today, when we woke up, Rodriego was out and about and we had our coffee, charting all his idosyncracies – just like Perkins. Golden Retrievers are wonderful dogs and we’ve ‘adopted’ this one from afar.

I’m not sure we will ever get used to the persistent scent of orange blossoms everywhere we go and the sounds of church bells. I know I love that we are still making new discoveries in our adopted city and, I like that I can count on them to be a part of my day, every day.