Thursday, January 2, 2014

Spain, we are here ... #1

We discovered that for basically the same price as a ticket back to Dal, we could fly first to Span and then on to Dallas, via London. So that is what we did. We left for Spain with a plan of renting an apartment in Valencia for 6 weeks, visiting with our friends from PC who live there. Out arrival took us first through Barcelona with another train ride to Valencia - this time a fast train. What a difference.

 Arriving in Valencia we went immediately to our newly acquired temporary apartment with a fabulous view overlooking the City Hall and plaza of the historical part of town. 
We will be here a little over 6 weeks, which will allow us to do some touring around the area, visiting with friends, and experiencing the Christmas/New Year season a different way. Synopsing our stay, we ...
~ attended free concerts of all genres, our favourite being the symphonic bands of Valencia. They are comprised of woods and percussion, and perhaps an occasional viola and bass. There are 650+ bands in the provence of Valencia, 450+ music schools, and music is mandated as a compulsary course in the school system.
 lining up for free tickets

 the concert hall, presenting a band this night of over 70 members and shared with the youth band of over 90 members, with some overlapping.
 concerts in the plazas and public places
~ we rode the tour bus and trams to visit different places in town, including the beach on the Medeterranean 
~ rode the buses with friends, one trip taking us through the rice fields only 6 miles outside of Valencia
~rode trains near and far, with and without friends, even making new friends
 Tom & JoAnn
 Gary & Peg (my favorite pix of them)
~celebrated Christmas in a far different culture than ours. They do not have Santa or a facsimile, they have the 3 Kings and they celebrate on January 6th rather than the 25th. 
 "Can you believe they put this ridiculous hat on  my head?"
 The majority of the lights were fund in the main park in front of City Hall.
 A small Christmas tree is better than none at all. Besides, this one will last all year round - a nice touch to leave our hostess.
We all brought a little bit of home and shared with new friends from Portugal and China. 
~got a taste of the upcoming March Fallas festival, visited places of culture and art,
This group had their own band accompanying them, right onto the public bus.
 This actually represents the hairdo that is seen when dressed in the costumes above.
~ and so much more. We ended our trip to Spain with a weeklong narrow gauge train tour across the top of Spain, going from France all the way along the coast to the Atlantic Ocean. Read about that in the next posting.