Hello, again, Blogonauts!
Valencia can leave an impression on a body ... but more on that later.
Yesterday Toby planned a bike ride for us: He, on his trusted two-wheeled 24-speed steel steed, and I, on my first-time-ever e-bike. There was a time when my daily commute was on a bicycle. But since my era of routinely pushing pedals was more than half-a-life ago, my thighs and calves were relieved not to be the sole source of locomotion for this trip.
Once my rented velocipede and I were properly introduced, we set out through the city via a web of bike lanes and pathways. Along the way we passed athletic fields, the modern City of Arts & Sciences complex, and the multi-colored cranes that fill the city's busy port. Soon we were pedaling along the Mediterranean coastline, where the beaches were filled with sun worshippers and the cafes were filled with nosh nibblers.
During a refueling stop (I needed to buy a bottle of water), a pair of highly adorned locals wandered by. Their dresses were typical of Fallas social gatherings. (See the photo that they graciously allowed.) The Fallas is a festival of fireworks and flammable statuary that occurs each March. It's like an urban Burning Man. To raise funds, the leagues that build the statues hold fancy dress parties thoughout the year.
Our biking destination was La Albufera, a large brackish lake south of the city. Although there is some regulated recreation (such as small boats that carry tourists along the shoreline), it is primarily a nature park. The birdlife is reputed to be plentiful, but the exotic ones were in hiding when we visited midday.
After grabbing a tapas lunch, and as we began the 13-mile return trek, my posterior began to protest spending so much time on a bicycle seat. And by the time we finally later returned the e-bike to its rightful owner, my tail had tales to tell. (In short, both Queen Liz and I have endured an Anus Horribilis, although I think she spells hers differently.) I hobbled back to the apartment, where I took a rare but restorative nap.
By the time Sunday rolled around, my crotch was much happier with me, so Toby took me on his habitual hiking route through the town's parks. We eventually wound our way into the Túria Park, a drained river bed that has been converted to a glorious greenspace traversing the city. Loads of Valencians were there enjoying the sun, the skate park, pathways, and even a salsa dance. After grabbing sandwiches for lunch, we headed back.
The Spanish phase of this trip is winding down. Tomorrow my flight to Germany leaves in the evening, so I have a few more hours to enjoy Valencia and Toby's hospitality. As always, check the photo album sharing the name with this blog to see random snapshots I've taken over the last couple of days. And of course, stay tuned as we all discover what comes next.
Blog to you later!