S: Vacation in Spain - April 2012
FC: Mis vacaciones en España (My vacation in Spain) April 2012 | cbp
1: The maintenance man had to use his key to manually open the doors so the guys could jump out. After that episode, every time we used the elevator, we'd give each other a glance in anticipation until we knew if it would get us to the next floor. It did fail a few more times, but only going up, but we didn't have to wait long. :) | When we arrived | at Laura & Alberto's apartment building, the three men took all our heavy luggage into the very small elevator to the second floor. Unfortunately, there was just a bit too much weight. The elevator stopped between floors!
2: At the Beach House | Sunday morning (Spain time), we arrived at "the beach house" in Valencia, Spain!! Ahhh!
3: My first taste of Paella was great. Roberto cooks it over an open-fire. Almost every Sunday they have a family gathering for lunch.
4: We took a walk along the beach and stopped to visit the site of the Prime Meridian in Almassora--a small city in the region of Valencia
5: It was so strange to think I was actually looking out over the beautiful Mediterranean Sea! The weather was perfect. It was a sunny, cool and breezy.
6: At the Beach House | An evening walk on Azahar Harbor | Silly Mary. That little girl isn't going to jump over her back. :D | (Port works)
8: Monday, we had a celebration of Cider - and a wonderful dinner at Asador 7 de Julio (Valencia) | This was the coolest place! They have all these cider barrels lined up against the back wall, and you turn on a spigot and catch the cider in your glass. The idea is to add the air from the bubbles to your glass of cider while it lands in your glass. It's the finishing touch before drinking the cider. | Good food...
9: Alberto had a bit of trouble paying the check. Turned out, the card reader had a problem. | .. good conversation | and the best company | We promised ourselves we'd try to visit this street -- where they hold the "running of the bulls"
10: Tuesday, we took a walk around downtown Castellon | Castellon's cathedral and city hall surround the fountain.
11: Most cities have very narrow streets and the sidewalks all have a different pattern in the brick stone or concrete and the windows all have unique, very ornate wrought iron designs. | Most buildings downtown have shops on the street level and the owners live in the apartments above. There is no wasted space. Buildings are connected and streets are very narrow. The small cars park with bumpers touching.
12: After walking around downtown Castellon, we stopped for pizza, although it was a bit early by their standards -- maybe 8pm. We didn't have a problem getting a table!
13: The lights were very low, so many of my photos didn't turn out well. But it was great to see Alberto's sister, Esther, again. This was our only opportunity to visit with her because she is always working. | Wednesday, we had dinner at Tony Roma's
14: Our walk in downtown Valencia took us by the Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady of Valencia. | Known as Saint Mary's Cathedral - was consecrated in 1238. It contains Romanesque, French Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Neo-Classical elements. One of its chapels contains a chalice defended as the most likely candidate for being the true Holy Grail as declared by most Christian historians over the world. It was the papal chalice for many popes and dates from the 1st century. | Valencia Pronounced bahl-EHN-thee-ah in Spanish), is the capital of the Spanish province of Valencia.
15: I was so impressed with both the very old and the very new adornments around the city, and really everywhere we visited. | This is the east gate. One of two (the other on the north side) were used to defend the city in their history.
16: Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias - Valencia (City of Arts & Sciences)
19: We drove up the east coast of Valencia and stopped to visit Toni's restaurant to have a taste of their unique frozen drink made with a locally grown bean (or berry). Dip a pastry and taste! Hmm yum.
20: The Coves in San Josep | We visited an awesome cavern lake where we took a ride on boats - shown in the pictures. They didn't allow us to take pictures in the caverns, but the stalactite formations were so low in some areas that we had to lean into the boats to avoid getting bumped in the head. :D
21: Peniscola The "Gibraltar of Valencia" | The castle at Peniscola was built by the Knights Templar between 1294 and 1307. In the fourteenth century it was garrisoned by the Knights of Montesa, and in 1420 it reverted to the Crown of Aragon.
22: The lighthouse - from below, to mid level and way, way above -- a cool way to show our progress up the castle. | Going up... | ...and up... | ...and still further up | ...to the top.
23: A view of Peniscola from the atop the castle
24: On Friday, we met Alberto at his workplace, Pitch & Putt Sant Jordi, where he hosted a lavish lunch for us. | A visit at the Pitch & Putt with Alberto Sant Jordi (Castellon) | Don't know what that was, but it sure was strong.
25: Then it was back to the apartment to get packed for our week on the road! | See the castle ruins on the hill? | The "hands" sculpture in Castellon is in the middle of one of the roundabouts. Not many stop signs/lights. | Kitty finally warmed up to me... but if I moved, she'd bolt. | The apartment building (the one with the tricky elevator)
26: A visit to "The Village" for Easter and an overnight stay | We attended Easter mass in "the Village" where Trini, Alberto's mom, grew up. | The streets were barely wide enough for Laura or Alberto's cars to pass. It took 15 minutes or more to park her car in a structure they used to store it while we traveled around Spain in Alberto's car. | This is the church. And, the small area shown in front - with the tables & chairs... well, that's the village bar. :D | We were welcomed by everyone - family and friends. | The kitchen fireplace - used for cooking | A wood stove to heat the entry hall | A beautiful family meeting place | The kitchen
27: "Lunch" was served around 2 or 3 pm (7 hours ahead of Central time in the U.S.). Everyone is seated at the same table. On this Easter, they didn't have so many people -- maybe 16. If this table wasn't big enough, they'd move everyone into a bigger room and add more tables and chairs so that everyone could share this important occasion. It's not just Easter. It's because it's the family meal. I couldn't communicate with most of them because I didn't speak Spanish and they didn't speak English, but I had a wonderful time. Everyone was so very warm and friendly. Their 3-course dinner was at 10 pm!
28: After lunch, we went for a walk around the village... | Only some of us came to walk around the village. I think the guys had gone to the local bar (in front of the church) to talk about hunting and "grandma" laid down for a rest.
29: We went for a walk after lunch and ended up at the local school. We couldn't resist playing on the exercise equipment... just kids at heart.
31: Plaza del Castillo, Pamplona | Madres Agustinas Recoletas Pamplona This basilica (below) is an example of court architecture, built in 1624 by Juan Gomez de Mora, architect, designer of Royal Works and 'Maestro Mayor' of the city of Madrid.
38: This is the "hotel" that we stayed in Bilbao How cool is this? | This was what we saw on the way to dinner. How beautiful!
40: San Vicente de la Barquera
49: Santilla del Mar
59: Back in Castellon - a last look at downtown