Living in Valencia Week 5

We can’t believe it, the last week was finally here. My students couldn’t believe it either. As they finished up their coursework, turned in assignments, and studied for finals, they are soaked up the last moments of the Spanish lifestyle.

This week was a whirlwind. After classes finished up on Wednesday, the students headed a few different ways, all of them were doing some traveling prior to coming home. Ashley became friends with them and decided to join Ruth and Lauren on a trip to London. She’ll have to do a guest post later on their weekend there.

Dustin headed off to Austria for WordCamp Europe. This opportunity was a huge blessing to us, because his involvement there helped cover his cost to come to Europe. So that left K and I in Valencia for a fun Mommy and K weekend. Before everyone left we took some fun pictures in Valencia to end our time there.

During this whole trip K loved walking the streets herself, she would say “I walk myself” to wherever we were going.  So she loved this one last family stroll around our neighborhood.

Since it was just me and K for the weekend, we enjoyed some yummy food out, it was hard enough to cook there with help but by myself I didn’t really try. The first night we had amazing Greek food at a new cozy restaurant called Kuzina. I also ordered a dish to take home for dinner the next night! Greece is one of the top places on my bucket list.

The next day we also meet one of the students’ host mom’s for lunch at a Thai Restaurant called Green Papaya. This was also very tasty. I love Asian foods, Thai wins because less of it is fried. We stopped on the way home to get a chicken from El Pollo Criollo, a place we tried last year when we had lunch with the same host mom Lucia! I wish I had known this was right on bus line 4 which went directly to Plaza de la Reina where we lived to because it was so so so so good! This was K’s dinner while I ate my greek leftovers and then we had it for lunch the next day and there was some left for Ash to eat Sunday night.

One day we enjoyed the park and the Museu de les Ciències. They had a kids area that had a fun water table, and “real life” construction zone for the kids to build a house with a play crane! GrandDad would have loved it! After the museum we made a quick stop in the Aqua mall to check it out right across the street.

K and I also made two trips to the beach during our weekend, she loves it now, and was covered in sand head to toe.  I was so worried she was going to get sand in her eye and I had to figure out how to deal with that by myself. But thankfully she didn’t complain of it.

On our last evening in Valencia, we met Dustin at the Metro stop as he returned from the airport and walked to Cruz Pampa. This may have been some of the best food we’ve had here. Argentinean steak houses are amazing, might have to add Argentina to the bucket list. Ashley’s flight was delayed and she returned to Valencia shortly after we got home from dinner.

On Monday we said good by to our “new house” as K calls it and took the high speed train to Madrid. We stayed near the Atocha train station that evening, then headed to the airport Tuesday morning. Lots of emotions as we headed back. I am forever grateful for this experience, and especially thankful I was able to bring my family and my sister to experience it as well. A piece of my heart will be in this city. We hope to return someday. Maybe then we’ll know more Spanish! Hasta la próxima Valencia!

Salou, Spain

On our long free weekend, we decided to stop at the beach on the way home from Barcelona. I found a fairly good deal at this resort. After coming from really nice place in Barcelona, we were a little spoiled and not too impressed. It was good, just not great. There were kids EVERYWHERE ha! Having a kid with us, we sort of wished for the no kids except for ours scenario we had had at the other places. 🙂 It felt like we were in the UK and not Spain because most of the people there were either Irish or British and most people spoke English.

We had half-board which was breakfast and dinner. Somehow that didn’t include drinks at dinner so we had to pay for a bottle of water to share. The food was pretty good. The first night (I wish I had a picture) the buffet seriously had more desserts than dinner options. There were kids everywhere flying to get a taste of the chocolate fountains they had near the fruit.

We enjoyed the beach nearby and the pool, although the pool outside was cold. 😦 We were on the Costa Brava just south of Tarragona and it was still getting down to 50 degrees F in the evenings which made the water stay chilly. They did have an indoor pool, however you had to buy swim caps to swim in it. So we obliged and paid 2 EUR each for the swim caps you see pictured below. K just called them a hat! She looks very much like Dustin when you take away her hair. 🙂

Here are some pictures we took after dinner!

On our way out back to Valencia the next day we stopped for a few amazing photos, hopefully we’ll be adding one of this to our kitchen wall soon under our Hawaii 2011 canvas.

Barcelona 2016

We decided to spend part of our free weekend in Barcelona. Last time we were here, we loved it but only had about 5 hours to explore. And since the Sagrada Famalia is so amazing, we wanted Ashley to experience that. We cashed in almost the rest of our Marriott Points and stayed at the Renaissance Barcelona Fira Hotel.  It was the most futuristic hotel we’ve ever stayed in. Apparently Gold status in Europe means more than at home because both Marriott’s here have given us free breakfast buffets. We felt like royalty from the time we stepped in, they even gave Kenley a welcome Pineapple Juice! The staff was so sweet to her. At breakfast the second day, they remembered how much she loved smoothies and told her she had to ask us for them at home! Not sure I’l be able to recreate the Papaya smoothie at home. 🙂 

We spent one day exploring Barcelona. We started the day taking the metro into the center of town.  The metro was right outside our hotel which was very convenient. We started with a stroll through El mercat de La Boqueria, we couldn’t believe the prices here were so much cheaper than the market in Valencia. Everything else in Barcelona is more expensive. We got some raspberries for K and Ashley got a smoothie. Then we headed to Plaça Reial where we started a walking tour with Runner Bean Tours. We took the Gaudí walking tour. This blog does a great job highlighting the top ten must sees!

Here in the plaza was one of Antonio Gaudí’s first works, lampposts. They said he only was paid about 7 EUR at the time for these.   They took us by many of Gaudí s other famous works in the city starting with the Palau Güell, then the Casa Batlló, the La Pedrera, and we ended at La Sagrada Familia.

Ashley and I went inside La Sagrada Familia while Dustin and K headed to lunch. Supposedly the church will finally be finished by 2026, but just like our tour guide, I have my doubts!  Afterwards we joined Dustin and K for lunch.  It wasn’t a very exciting lunch just a buffet nearby that we knew would be quick.

Our next stop was  Parc Güell, you have to get tickets for the monument zone and can only come in within 30 min of that time. So if planning a trip, make sure to book in advance, if you don’t you may not get in or have to wait several hours. There is a limit on the # of people per day since it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Parc Güell was a highlight of the day (well this and La Sagrada Familia!). It was quite the climb walking from La Sagrada Familia, it rained for a bit on us, but when we got to the monument zone it had cleared up!  We stayed for a couple hours admiring the works and taking some fun pictures. K was loving dancing around between columns, even other tourist were taking her picture.

Since K didn’t have a nap the day before or that day, we knew we had to head back shortly, so we took the metro back towards the center of town along the La Rambla. And found the restaurant we ate at with Josh and Sarah on our trip in 2012 called Elisabets.  It was about the same, a cozy authentic restaurant tucked away from the busy tourist street.

After dinner we headed back to the hotel. We had 4 rides left on our transport pass, and it would take 6 to get us back to our hotel, we found a bus that we could take that would only be 3, so we headed that way since it was a direct bus and only a few min walk.  On the way we stumbled upon Chok Barcelona, let’s just say this crew couldn’t pass the window up.  I got a truffle and Dustin and Ashley split a Oreo Pastry.    

We got back to the hotel, got K a quick shower and got her tucked into bed.  Ashley and I headed upstairs, I enjoyed the “whirlpool,” the jets felt so good on my sore feet. We had walked over 18,000 steps that day! The reason I say “whirlpool” in quotes is the whirlpools here aren’t actually warm, everyone hotel we’ve stayed at that has had a jacuzzi type pool it’s been luke warm at best.

The next day we had breakfast again, packed up, visited the Ikea across the street! Had to check it out in Spain! We got K a few things that she doesn’t have at home for her play kitchen!  When we talk about going home, she gets very excited when we talk about her room and her kitchen.  Luckily plush food is easy to stuff somewhere in our bags.  Before we headed out we drove by the Olympic Park area, and up Montjuïc Hill. It was a really cool view of the city and fun to image what it might have looked like in 1992 when the Olympics were held here. We were in the car, so we really dont’ have many good pictures. Mental images! 

We love Barcelona, just wish the tolls to get here weren’t so crazy expensive!  It was around 40 EUR each way for tolls.  Afterwards we headed to Salou to relax in the sun for the rest of the weekend!

Living in Valencia Week 4

“It’s getting Hot in here!” Is the theme of the week!  Monday started off HOT HOT HOT. I even rode the bus home from work because it was too hot. One thing I’m looking forward to when we get home is central AC. Even though we’ve only truly had 3-4 really hot days, it always seems hot in our apartment. We have one unit in our apartment that keeps it fairly cool except when we have to shut K’s door at night to get her to sleep it gets hot in there. Monday Aunt Ash took some fun pictures of K while we were at work! Her sunglasses are from Babiators, a Shark Tank company!

On Tuesday evening, we rode the bus down to the pharmacy I had visited earlier in the month to make a return; I thought it would be a good idea to purchase some face cream but it made me break out all over my face! Oh well lesson learned, stick to stuff you know works, so I’m trying to make mine last. And I have already placed my 100% Pure Order (affiliate link) so it will be there when I get home! We walked back through the Rio Turia, the evening cooled off super nice, and K played for a bit in the park. We then headed back and grabbed ice cream sandwiches from WACIS! On Tuesday nights they are 1 EUR but only for students but still cheap at 1.5 EUR for us. They even have frozen yogurt sweetened with stevia and gluten free cookies. Didn’t feel bad about letting K have a lick of stevia sweetened frozen yogurt even if it was chocolate! Thanks California for rubbing off on Valencia, Spain with stevia. It’s hard to find around here with azucar everywhere!  🙂
Wednesday after work I picked up chicken for lunch from a local place that makes rotisserie chickens. We’ve had this once per week while we have been here. Since we don’t have  crockpot or easy way to slow cook it, it’s nice to be able to just grab one! It was super super hot that day again. But it cooled off enough to go to the park with K again. We also ended the week stocking up on a few snacks for our weekend trip to Barcelona. The students decided to go to Granada, Spain for their free weekend. As much as I would have loved to see Southern, Spain, a 6 hour drive with K was not something we wanted to do. Since Ashley hasn’t been to Barcelona and there are some nice places along the coast to stop, we decided to head that way. We went to Barcelona in 2012, but only for about  5 hours on our 3 week EuroTrip. Stayed tuned for Barcelona fun!

Gandia Palacio Ducal & Weekend Happenings

On our way to Gandia we made a quick stop at Albufera. This is a freshwater lagoon with an abundance of fish surround by rice fields. Dustin and I were able to stop here briefly last year as well. Dustin and K stayed on the board the bus while Ash and I got off for a few pictures.
Our main attraction to visit today was the Palacio Ducal. “The oldest part of the building dates from the 15th century, but was restored and turned into a sanctuary by the Society of Jesus. It is attached to the wall that surrounds the city and has two gates, a Gothic one and one from the Renaissance.” (Source Wiki). It was originally built with gothic architecture and then was transformed as the years progressed. So inside there was quite a mix of styles.
After the tour, Ashley was very hungry and we stumbled upon the Pastelería Roselló. This place brought flashbacks of our 2012 tour to Europe. It reminded us of the french bakery we stumbled upon in the french countryside on our way to Barcelona.  They also had apple strudels that reminded of us of Prague. Dustin had the pastry pictured below with fruit on top. Kenley wanted to try, so we did let her take a few bites mainly of fruit as she ate her banana. I tasted it too and it was delightful. Ashley had a few small croissants filled with cheese.
Once we got back to the bus we were dropped off near the beach were we found lunch. The restaurant was supposed to have a German twist that we found, but the Spanish version of German was not so great, ha. It was ok but not the best place we have eaten here. I ordered a salad that I expected green lettuce (tried to make a healthy choice) turned out to be coleslaw with lots of mayo. Germans don’t use mayo in their potato salad, it is vinegar based, so it surprised me. But I did have a bratwurst and Ashley enjoyed another order of patatas bravas.
Afterward we headed to the beach and since it was overcast opted not to purchase a char and umbrella like we normally do. We also only a few hours. We hung out near the students. This beach will be remembered for a long time in this family because K finally walked on the sand without screaming!  I think it helped she had 15 students cheering her on ha!  She walked over to them, played with a ball, built a sand castle, walked to the water. Finally over the hump! She loves the beach now!
We cooked dinner at home, the one ecological “organic” store here has the best chorizo sausages! Sunday was super low key, we didn’t go to the beach today because we were there on Saturday. I cleaned in the morning while Dustin took Kenley to the park. Our apartment gets so dusty so quickly because it is very dry here and with walking everywhere. Even though we take our shoes off upon entering I feel like we need to mop every other day!  
For lunch we tried to go to one oriental restaurant, but the kitchen wasn’t open yet and we were hungry, so we stumbled upon a restaurant called Sake in the same neighborhood. It was a Buffett but the food wasn’t out on a buffet line, it was more all you can eat ordering. Dustin and I had had WAY too much sushi (well food in general). Ash enjoyed some friend chicken and rice. We packed K’s lunch but she also enjoyed some rice and pineapple. We tried to give her a California type role that just had cream cheese and avocado but she wasn’t sure about it!  Dustin and I ate so much that we didn’t really eat the rest of the day.
On Sunday evening Ashley and I enjoyed a Flamenco show with Ashley & a few students. I got to see this in Madrid last year, so I wanted Ashley to have the opportunity to see it. This was a very small cafe that was packed to the rafters with people but it was only an hour long. It was fun and the students loved it!

Living in Valencia Week 3

Week 3 started with just the typical “Mondays”, grocery shopping the Mercado Central, cooking, cleaning, etc.  I love to cook but I miss my cooking gadgets!  🙂 On this day it took K forever to fall asleep!  We recently have given up on the early bedtime here because she seems to be sleeping her full 12 hours even if she goes to bed at 8:30 so we have let her stay up and go to the park with us after dinner. We started that on Tuesday evening. She and Dustin played while I did a short work-out/run to the outdoor machines and came back to the playground. Bedtime went a bit better, she was over tired but Aunt Ash has magic powers and was able to leave the room and have her fall asleep on her own!  Ash might be in charge of bedtime from now on. I’m such a sucker when I’ve worked all day and she is asking for me, I have trouble saying no especially when we are in a “strange or new place.”
This week I had a lot of fun teaching. I incorporated some of the intercultural development activities into the Health Behaviors and Beliefs class that I learned from the CIEE conference I went to last year. In one activity the students were assigned a specific cultural non-verbal rule, for example they had to stand close, they had keep their distance, they don’t make eye contact because it is offensive, smiling during a conversation means it’s not being taking seriously, etc. Then they were instructed to engage in conversation with each other, when the person they are speaking with violates their non-verbal rule, they gave the person violating the rule a toothpick. Then they had to figure out each others non-verbal rules. I think they had a lot of fun! It’s so important as health care providers to remember how our non-verbals impact our patient communication.
Late Wednesday afternoon, the students and our family went to the aquarium called the Oceanographic. It’s expensive but as a group the discount made it much better for all and overall a cool place to see. It was sort of like SeaWorld. They had a dolphin show which Kenley loved! After the show we had Spanish Tapas dishes at a cafe near our home. Even Ashley was adventurous. We had a dish that was potatoes, bacon, and cheese, and the other dish was little quesadillas with basaltic vinegar on top. It had mushrooms inside but the cheese was the main flavor.
Thursday my students and I got to visit a local hospital. Here is a blog post that one of them wrote about the experience! After work we made dinner at home, and again went to the park afterwards. Dustin and K played while I ran down the “river” to the outdoor exercise area did some exercises and ran back.
Friday for lunch, Ashley K and I ate out.  We went to a place called Saona, it was delicious. It is a 2 min walk from our place. Might have to go back! Friday night after work was date night for Dustin and I .. Aunt Ahh-yay stayed with K, they enjoyed a popsicle before bed! K loves popsicles we make at home with just fruit and there is a place steps from our apartment building that has 100% fruit no sugar ones too!

Peñíscola, Spain & Weekend Happenings

This Saturday’s excursion lead us to Peñíscola; a small town a few hours north of Valencia. Here there is a castle where the Pope Benedict lived from 1417 until his death in 1423. The castle was restored, improved and new walls were added in 1960 when a movie was filmed there. It was a little bit of a climb through town which was fun wth the stroller, we would have wore her but we weren’t going back to the bus until the end of the day, so the stroller came along.

We enjoyed the tour of the castle and K loved running around. Anything to get out of the “stroll-stroll” aka stroller!
After exploring the caste we had lunch at Playa Restaurante. This was our first time this trip taking advantage of the Menu of the Day (Menu de la Dia). Dustin and I enjoyed some Spanish specialities and while Ashley had a pizza and Kenley ate from our plates and from the lunch we packed her. Lunch lasted a few hours since it was multiple courses. By the time we were finished it was raining and not good beach weather. This was a bummer but with just the small amount of rain, K enjoyed the playground anyways. We found a couple different playgrounds and the adults might have taken a turn on this cool rope swing too. It started raining harder and Ash and Dustin kept our stuff dry at a cafe next to another playground where K and I played until it was time to get back on the bus.
On Sunday the weather in Valencia was nice and sunny! We headed to the beach. It was much more crowded this week but still enjoyable anytime there is sand between your toes and waves rolling in. Dustin was super sweet and took K back to the apartment while Ash and I enjoyed some peaceful time at the beach. We stayed another 1.5 hours and then headed back ourselves.
On Sunday evening we got ready for the week and took K to the grocery store with Dustin and I. She wanted to help and pull the cart basket herself. She was pretty good minus coming around the corners, ha! She likes to do lots of things herself right now. Which works out until she gets injured after getting her figures smashed in the buckle on her stroller she now does not want to do that herself, instead she says “Momma do.”  We are re-energized and ready to take on Week 3!

Living in Valencia Week #2

I think we finally have a rhythm!

Monday and Tuesday evening were mostly filled with cooking, cleaning, shopping, and getting organized for the week. This week we found the Navarro Herbolario which is a natural foods market that is about a 10 minute walk from us. They have all kinds of goat cheese and goat milk/goat kefir products!  K does much better with these than with cow dairy.

Generally she is such a good eater, she is willing to try almost anything and most times likes it! I’m super thankful for that. I think a lot of it has to do with us giving her things without sugar early on. She eats plain yogurt, plain avocados and finding yogurt without sugar at the “big box” stores here is more of a challenge!

We have been getting lunch meat at the Mercado Central.  Ordering lunch meat here seems to be always a challenge for us. I ask for cuatro cientos gramos (400 grams) de pavo (turkey) and every time she thinks I am asking for 4 slices. I luckily know the word for More and I kept saying “mas” until it looked like enough for lunch for a few days, ha. I think I ended up with 200 grams. I guess maybe normally people just want enough to make a sandwich right then! We have also been buying our dinner meats there, steak, fish, chicken, and pork. Pork is EVERYWHERE in Spain! The first time we got ground meet thinking it was beef, turned out to be pork!

Meal planning here is so different because we don’t have the tools or space to make a lot of the recipes I do at home. But we are doing pretty well despite that. I figured out how to make a smoothie with an immersion blender in a large cup for my breakfast and found some leche de coco sin azucar (Coconut milk with no added sugar!). It actually is the cleanest commercial coconut milk product I’ve ever seen.. maybe I should get an extra suitcase and fill it up with cartons ha! Take-away shops that have pre-cooked chickens, or pre-cooked paella are popular here. It may be because the Spaniards ahve their largest meal mid-day so it’s hard to cook in between work. We have enjoyed the rotisserie chickens!

Tuesday we had our first visit from our Spanish Dietician/Pharmacist guest!  It was fun to learn about diabetes in Spanish. We also had a translator. She is coming back two more times to class as well. Next week will be about the holistic approaches they take in Spain since that is the focus of my class. Here is a picture of the class with her!


Late Wednesday afternoon K and I went to the park while Dustin was still working and Ashley climbed the tower in the Valencia Cathedral with my students. It’s fun to see kids of all backgrounds playing together. This particular day there was a family from India whose little girl loved following K around and a few Spanish children as well. I really wish I knew more Spanish to communicate better with people I meet in these situations. The Indian family spoke great English so that was nice to communicate with them. I’m working on my Spanish but between working here, household tasks, taking care of K, cooking, etc. and studying Spanish has been the last priority. Hopefully this week we can master getting K to fall asleep without someone laying beside here. Laying there for 30-45 min or falling asleep there takes up so much precious time although it’s probably good for me to rest!

Wednesday evening was my turn to visit the local farmacia with one of my students, the other students visited last week. Here is her post if you are interested! It was fun to see “behind the scenes” in the local pharmacy, see the process, how it differs from ours, see all the drugs with different labels, etc. I will say their way of storing products in draw systems seems much more space efficient than our shelves!

I found out from our Spanish professor that in Spain if the prescriber orders #28 of a product, you get #30 if that is what the package size is. So they don’t actually count many things out, a lot of it is prepacked in the most common quantities. This creates a bit of an issue because the patient may have more or slightly less of what they need.  This particular farmacia had an area where the floor opened up to climb stairs down to additional storage and a compounding area in the basement. I would probably fall down that hole if that was my pharmacy!

After I was finished at the farmacia, the plan was to meet Dustin for dinner at a local authentic Mexican restaurant called La Venganza de Malinche. I thought it was between where I was and where were lived.. then I pulled up the address and realized he was at another restaurant with the same name 2 miles away from where I was standing. Turns out they are the same company. Whoops guess I didn’t check that out completely. But since he was already there I got on a bus and followed it on the GPS and got off when it changed routes and walked the rest of the way. Needless to say I was ready for dinner at that point. The tacos were amazing! It actually wasn’t too far from our place, we may need to go again!

Thursday during my Cafe Work time I tried to be adventurous and try out a different cafe.  Essentially you have to buy something to sit in most places and use wifi which is the same as the states but I feel less guilty in the states about sneaking in Panera than I do here ha!  The only non-dairy milks most places have is Soy, so I went somewhere I thought would have more and they did but I was told that I couldn’t sit there during the “lunch hour” which here is 1:30-4:30 so I had to move on to Starbucks to get a Cafe con Leche de coco! I don’t mind Starbucks but here the wifi has limits and you have to go ask for a new code once yours expires which is super annoying! It’s based on downloads and not time so you don’t even know how many times you will have to go ask. So after asking twice, I gave up and started typing up a blog since I had caught up on grading.

I really want to join a gym here for the month of June but I really don’t know when I would fit that into my day especially since there isn’t one super close by.  I would probably have to figure out how to get to sleep earlier so I could go in the morning. But so far I end up working for 2-3 hours in the evening and doing other household tasks. For now I’m just going to attempt some work-out videos and some running when I can!

On Friday we didn’t do much other than cook dinner and Dustin and I took a stroll to find beach towels and a few grocery items. Another successful week!

Aibarracin & Teruel (And Weekend Happenings!)

For the first three Saturdays of the program, there are planned excursions for the students and we were invited to join in. The first Saturday we headed to Aibarracin & Teruel.

Our first stop was Aibarracin, this town has been around since the period of Muslim domination in the Iberian Peninsula. This post has a great description of the history. It was in ruins after the Spanish civil war, and today it is a heavily-restored version of the village it was half a millennium ago.  We had a guided tour that was in Spanish but we got some translation from the institute team. K did great on the ride. The head of the institute was able to borrow  a car seat from his sister, and it had Mickey Mouse. She was so excited to ride on a bus in a Mickey seat! Thankfully Dustin was able to “rock” her to sleep in the carrier during the tour so she got a brief nap.

After the tour we had a little bit of time to each lunch and ate at Rincon del Chorro.  This restaurant was the best food we have had in Spain that has been Spanish style. The restaurant is beautiful on the inside too!  Dustin and I had the Sopas Tostadas (potato soup with bacon), Albondiguitas de Ternasco con salsa de Almendras, (a greek meatball with almond sauce) and an Ensalada de Jamón de Pato, Frutos Secos, Manzana caramelizada y frutos (salad with apples, ham peanuts, and duck) to share. Ashley and K split the a kids chicken meal ha! Overall a great experience, wish I didn’t have to eat it so fast to make the bus!

After lunch, the bus departed for Teruel. This city is has only about 35,000 people, very harsh winters and hot summers.  It refer to as the “town of mudéjar” (Moorish-influenced architecture) due to numerous buildings designed in this style. One of the famous ones we saw was the Mudéjar Tower of El Salvador (14th century).  All of them are comprised in the Mudéjar Architecture of Aragon which is a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. It is the only provincial capital in Spain that isn’t connected by Rail to Madrid.

One of the other sights we saw and toured as the San Pedro, a notable mudéjar church (16th century). Here houses the mummified bodies of Isabel de Segura (a wealthy woman) and Diego de Marcilla (a poor man who battled at Crusades to earn some money with the intention to return to get married with Isabel) whose love ended tragically. This story is known as los amantes de Teruel.  It’s similar to the Romeo and Juliet story. (source WIKI)

During the tour some of our students were asked by the tour guide to role play the story. We got back to Valencia close to 8pm and it was crazy windy!  So we took the bus home and arrived to find a band in our Courtyard. We thought it was going to be hard to get K to sleep because she was dancing in the living room in just a diaper to the music. Thankfully she got to sleep much quicker than expected.

On Sunday we went to the beach. It takes us about 30 minutes to get there, we have to walk about 10 minutes to the Tram (above ground Metro).  We got a late start since K and Ashley slept in due to our adventure on Saturday. K still hates walking or sitting in the sand, she is ok with sitting on a towel or cushion to play in the sand. This is in improvement from last fall. We’ll take it, it’s funny though how far she’ll go to reach things around her! We enjoyed a couple of hours of sun before we needed to get back for nap time. Thankfully we did come back for K’s nap because she slept 3 hours!

After that we took a walk to a park we saw earlier in the day in the “river” and then had dinner at a really cool festival called Palo Market Feast. They had all kinds of food trucks and it was awesome! I had some gluten free tacos with guacamole, Ashley had a bagel with bacon, cheese, and some type of hot sauce, Dustin had a Mexican Fajita, and Kenley had her first ever pork hot dog. Everything is pork here! She was super hungry so I let her eat the bun. Bad idea because now she wants to try any bread that is around. 🙂 Thankfully when we go back home that won’t be as much of an issue since we don’t have it at home.

They had a live band, and all kinds of art, and different booths set up selling items. It reminded me of something that could have been in Yellow Springs. They even had an old double decker bus turned food truck. That is something you don’t often see in the US!  It was a great week, we are excited to see what week #2 brings!

Living in Valencia Week-1

We have successfully lived in Valencia for just over a week now. This is really our first experience ever living in any large city and relying on walking & public transit to get where you need to go. It is a good reminder for me because I take care of many patients who are also in the same situation however many of them lack the financial resources to use the bus system and ours in Dayton is not as extensive. The institute is about a 30 minute walk from our apartment. Dustin found a co-working space that is about a 2 minute walk from our apartment, and a CrossFit box that is a 30 minute walk as well.

The Spaniards start their days a bit later than we do typically, so Dustin can’t head to the co-working space as early as he would like. I’ll let him blog himself about the people he is meeting and his international CrossFit experience later! At the institute my students are taking a Spanish for Medical professionals course which I am sitting in on. I have quite a few Spanish speaking patients so it’s nice to know a bit to communicate with them better. Since two of my students are fairly strong in Spanish and two are newbies he is doing a bit of review of the basics as well. Then I teach my two courses, one is a course created by one of my amazing colleagues called Health Behaviors and Beliefs, the concepts in that course fit so well with my Holistic Diabetes Management elective. My students have such unique backgrounds and it’s be really fun learning from them!

The whole city basically leaves work to have lunch with their families, kids come home from school, parents come home from work, then everyone goes back to work/school after lunch. My favorite part of my walk to work is seeing all the dad’s pushing their kids to school on scooters! Some have a hand on two kids backs moving them along.

Since the school shuts down Dustin and I come home, make lunch, then he heads back to the co-working space and I find a cafe nearby with faster wi-fi. It’s much more efficient than walking another 1 hour round trip to go back to the institute.And a lot of times it doesn’t re-open until 4 or 5.

Ashley and K hang out in the apartment, go to the nearby park and today they took a walk to the Mercado Central for bananas, if you know K, her favorite food is most certainly a banana! Every time we go to the store she calls it the “Banana Store.” The Spaniards typically work late and then eat dinner round 8:30 or 9pm. Since we like for K to get 12 hours of sleep, we are still operating dinner on a normal 6ish schedule and then I work again after she goes to bed.

On Friday night we walked the Río Turia, the river is famous for its floods. The flood which occurred on the 14th of October 1957, known as the Great Flood of Valencia, flooded a large part of the city of Valencia. To prevent this from happening in the future, the river was divided in two, and the old part of the river has been turned into a green space for the city, which is know as the garden of the Turia.

We walked all the way to the “City of Arts and Sciences,” these buildings hold an aquarium,  IMAX Cinema, planetarium and laserium in addition to many other arts and cultural buildings. On our walk back we ate dinner out at Gordon’s which his an Argentinean Steakhouse.We had dinner there on our brief stay in Valencia last year, and were happy to return. We are going to go to the aquarium in a few weeks with the students one afternoon. (Group discount!)

Overall week 1 in Valencia was good and we are getting into a rhythm!