Sometimes life moves too fast. The sun rises and minutes and hours pass and the experiences you have blur into one another. The sun sets and days pass. You try to recall memories but it begins to feel like a dream and fine details slip away. I think this is one of the reasons we are so obsessed with taking pictures. Our minds are fine operational machines but their capacity and synaptic pathways are flawed. We want to take pictures because we know that we will not be able to remember just how that moment looked. We want to be able to see it again and again and the mind may remember it for a while, but eventually it will fade.
The way the sun shines off of a fragment of metal on that sculpture in the park as you sit at a sidewalk cafe sipping a latte. The smile of your lover as you peek across the table over a menu. The scent of lilac as you walk an unfamiliar path, unsure of where it will take you. These are the details we long to capture and retain, but of course, pictures only tell a part of this story.
April 9th was actually 2 days ago. Yes, I’m trying to use the time I have now, sitting alone outside near the pool and bar of our hotel to remember what we did two days ago because, at the time, I did not have a spare moment to write about it. It has only been two days, and yet, it is already slipping away from me, like a beautiful daydream…
In the morning we cooked breakfast and then made our way on foot through the narrow streets and passages to the “Central Market”. It’s an impressive and beautifully ornate structure which houses about 10 to 15 rows of 10 individual vendor stalls. It’s mostly food, but there are a few specialty “shops”. I think there were nearly 25 that sold fruit and veg. You could clearly see that some people were there for their real shopping but most were just tourists. Apparently it is quite an honor to be a shop owner there, with most stalls being passed down from previous generations.
After the market we made our way to the Valencia cathedral which is one of the main attractions of the city. We did the self-guided audio tour and got an ear full of history. The Cathedrial is massive and inside there are many individual worship areas and rooms that have slight differences and house different art and artifacts from various time periods. Part of the Cathedral, the oldest part, was constructed in a gothic time which is evident in the exposed stone. The addditions over the top of that are more artistic and ornate.
One of the main artifacts that is located there is advertised to be the Holy Grail, though, as I read about it, it seems like several places around the world claim they have the real one. Who knows. I guess if there was a guy named Jesus and he had a “Last Super”, he probably had something to drink and it was from some sort of a cup. That could be the cup we saw or it might not be. People believe will always believe what they want. They believe in what elevates their hope and alleviates their fear. I myself find that seeing is believing but, as with pictures, it only reveals part of the story. I digress.
As with the market there were people actually going about their normal daily rituals there. Mass was being conducted in one restricted area and I saw more than a few pregnant women doing laps around the main hall which is said to bring a healthy birth.
Touring the Cathedral took over an hour and after that we wandered around that area and saw a few more points of interest, but were sort of over the “tour” thing and walked back to our apartment. As I said, the details are already failing me. I don’t recall what we had for lunch, pizza at a sidewalk cafe I think. I’m fairly certain that is when I discovered my new favorite cocktail, Agua de Valencia. It’s orange juice (of course) and cava with vodka and gin. Yeah – that! After just one glass I was feeling it and let Jim take the wheel on where the afternoon went (sort of).
One of the things I wanted to see more of from our segway tour the day before was the City of Arts and Sciences and Jim had found good reviews on the Aquarium there. That was only a short drive away and we luckily did not have any issues with driving or parking. The Aquarium was quite spread out and we walked from building to building which were supposed to represent the various areas of the world. It was a lot of walking and to be fair, coming from a city that has a world class Zoo and Aquarium, it wasn’t that impressive.
The only unique thing was the beluga whales, for which they had trainers out, having them do tricks. It was neat, but I’ve been on the fence for a long time about animals on display in captivity. I guess if the source is rescue and the goal is rehabilitation or preservation, then that’s one thing, but animals in cages otherwise seems cruel. I think on future adventures I will skip any zoo or aquarium.
It was a long afternoon and I think we were both glad when we were back home, relaxing on the couch. And, even though we were tired, it was our last day in Valencia and we did not want to waste it. After a short rest we changed for a evening out which consisted of drinks and dinner. This time, we ventured out on foot and did not have a plan other than having more “Agua” and trying to find a place with paella. We eventually found a fair bit of both. I had a little too much actually and don’t have a good recollection of our walk back home. I guess thats part of the charm of a daydream.. some things are shrouded in a haze of warm feelings. I’m 4774 miles away from home and safe in the arms of my love. No picture can accurately capture that.
Anyway, that’s it for day 2 I think. Next stop.. Day 4.
Caio for Now,