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.

All Creatures Great and Small

It was a beautiful day today. And a little cold. So it was time to get up early and head out to run some errands. We walk everywhere but looking around, everyone here seems to be participating in some sort of activity above and beyond that. It seems if you’re not cycling, running, doing cross-fit in the park, etc. then you’re a schlubb. It was time to rectify that.

We walked about a mile and a half down to a huge fitness complex – seemed fitting – and asked for information about the complex, spa service (let’s be honest, I’m not a heathen) and the like. On their website they tout their large buffet and full bar, which seems a bit disparate, but hey – it’s Spain. Priorities, right? I love it, so I approached the counter and used the 7 Spanish words I have to ask for Infomacion. This proved a bit difficult.

They went and got ‘others’ and finally someone who speaks English as well as I speak Spanish helped me fumble through leaving my number so someone who could talk to me could call me later. That worked for me and I wrote down my info and left.

Of course, one can’t let a day like today go to waste – and I had to get my steps in, so it was time to head to the park near our apartment. It’s such a lovely oasis, but then there is so much green space here. Trees galore. If the air isn’t perfumed with orange blossoms, it’s juniper berries. The plants are lush and amazing. The rose garden in this park is blooming and the gardeners are out in force getting the place ready for the season.

Some of the follys in the park are being repaired and cleaned. And today I got to get very close to the flock of green parrots that live in the area. They were feeding on the grass and I got about 10 feet from them before a dog spooked them.  Gorgeous.

The city was out running their dogs and just running, biking and doing yoga in the park.  Outdoor yoga is huge here. There are a lot of groups I can join where I can do Happy Baby or Cobra on the grass with my fellow park dwellers.

Tomorrow, I’ll head back to the fitness center to complete my sign up so I can keep up with the fittest people on the planet. And it’s Friday, so I’m having lunch with another new friend. And I’ll squeeze in trip to the salon in there. It’s supposed to be another gorgeous day and it’s guaranteed that everyone in this city – furry, feathered or human – will be out enjoying it.