Live From The Field07 Jul 2008, by Uncategorized in
Last few days have been exciting and exhausting. We’ve been promised they don’t party like this all the time, but Valencianos in particular have a reputation for fiesta that they haven’t disproven since we’ve been here.
After pigging out on paella we roasted in the sun by la piscina for a few hours of siesta. We met Sergio and Laura, Ernesto’s friends who are hosting us in their gorgeous apartment in Picassent, and freshened up there before heading out for dinner (yes, more food). The evening stroll through el Barrio de Carmen helped us work off some of those calories though. That neighborhood was remenscent of Montmarte in Paris. We wound through the maze of winding streets to La Marrana for dinner… arriving at about 10:30. This is a normal time for dinner, but arriving with the Spaniards we missed the meal with most of the Americans who were finishing up, so we sat at the bar and munched on tapas and wine . I know that tipping isn’t customary here, but it feels wrong not leaving something… It can’t hurt right? Wrong! It got us into some trouble at La Marrana. As we learned later from Sergio and Laura, the tip we left was responsible for the overgenerosity the owner showed with the after dinner drinks. As she explained to us the significance of the name (la marrana means female pig and has dirty connotations) she started pouring us shots of a concotion that tasted of anise but she assured us it was made of “herbs”. Kim asked for agua and was told to “shut up”! Then came the absinth… We were actually doing pretty good, even after moving on to Fox Congo, but Kim started feeling not so great and our night came to a quick conclusion.
There were plans to see Valencia the next day, since the wedding began at 8:30pm and it was Jean’s last day in Valencia. Waking up at noon put a wrinkle in that plan. Jean wasn’t awake either, having rerturned from the disco at 6am. We ended up meeting Jean, Adam and Owen (Emily’s brother and his boyfriend) at their hotel in Valencia around 2. That left us enough time for a daytime stroll through Barrio del Carmen to see some awesome grafiti, and lunch at a Lebanese restauarant, Beirut King, followed by a soak in th hotel’s rooftop pool before cleaning up for the wedding.
The wedding ceremony and reception were in another little town outside Valencia, similar to Picassent, at a beautiful old mansion (photos to follow). Vows were in English and Espanol, given just as the day was giving way to dusk. Drinks and appetizers were paraded around by an army of serving staff for about an hour before the sun disappeared entirely and we were allowed inside for dinner proper. The three course meal was amazingly good, shrimp, fish, shredded beef filled pastries, all with the paired wine and great palate cleanser (lemon sorbet and cava was my favorite). A lot of drinking and dancing for a few hours and you would think our night was complete, but no… the rented bus did not take us back to Picassent, but instead to La Ciudad des Artes y Ciencias which was turned into an enormous club after hours. When the sun came up it was finally time to go home.
Last night we woke up at about 5pm for a tour of Picassent by Sergio and Laura. They also took us back to the City of Arts and Siences to walk around and see it before the sun went down. The Calatrava buildings are amazing and the scale of the whole complex is impressive.
Now with a full night’s sleep we are going to try that sight seeing in Valencia that we have slept through the last few days. Then on to la playa later… Tomorrow we’re off to Barcelona.
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