Feeling a little homesick for our first Spanish home, we accepted an invitation to spend New Year’s with friends in Vila-Real in the Valencian Community. The visit included a day trip, some jaunts into Valencia, and lots of oranges. Our first night in Vila-Real coincided with the San Silvestre run, an amateur event featuring a bevy of costumed runners. We were excited to sample some fresh-squeezed orange juice at this event, made in a giant orange and served near Vila-Real’s city hall. We even made a new friend, Andrés, who was kind enough to bring us some sweet new postersContinue reading
Morella: Acting like adolescents at ancient fortress
We rounded out the last weekend in June with a visit to Morella, an ancient fortress city in the mountains of the Castellón province of the Valencian Community. The walled city’s strategic location means it was fought over in many different wars. Today, its main attractions include an old monastery, an aqueduct, and a castle. It was a bit of a climb to the top… Said climb made Dreamer just a little bit sweaty. But it was all worth it for the views. And there were some amazing views once we reached the castle, for sure. The highlight of theContinue reading
¡Adios, Burriana! ¡Buenos días, Vila-real!
Our lease was up on our piso in Burriana at the end of June, but we still didn’t have our next place figured out yet, as we were waiting to find out where Dreamer would be placed within the Community of Madrid. We rented a moving van, followed by a regular car, and thanks to the generosity of our friends, we were invited to stay in the neighboring town of Vila-real while we awaited word of our next placement. We were surprised by how much we had accumulated in nine months, and we knew we couldn’t possibly take it all withContinue reading
Whirlwind sightseeing weekend: Monastery, rice museum
The last weekend in June (also our last in Burriana), we took advantage of having a car for our move to go to a few out-of-the-way spots that were still on our Valencian Community bucket list. First stop: the Monastery of Santa María in El Puig. Puig is Valenciano for “hill,” and indeed the monastery lies atop a large one. Guided tours are only given on a very specific schedule – there are no freeform visits, and of course it’s closed on Sunday. We decided to go on Saturday afternoon after the lunch descanso. Jaume I, the king who conquered muchContinue reading
Look at all the Pascuals!
We’ve often observed traditional festivals in Spain, but usually as outsiders. We stand outside to watch parades, we go to museums to learn more, we stay up all night to see the bonfires. In May, we didn’t see any of the official festivities in honor of San Pascual Bailón in Villarreal, but we got to do something even better – we went to a party. The above is the only San Pascual-related photo we’ve got, because we were leaving for a trip the next day and didn’t see how the city marked the occasion. The rest of the post isContinue reading
Valencian Community: sights unseen
We traveled quite a bit our first year in Spain, but sometimes it was relaxing to spend a weekend at home. After returning from a long week and a half traveling to the Netherlands and to Tenerife for spring break, we started the last weekend of April with lunch in nearby Castellón de la Plana before making our way to the city’s fine arts museum when it reopened after the afternoon descanso. At some point during our visit, we discovered Dreamer had become a friolera, the local word for someone who is sensitive to cold. This room was maybe 60°F. There was artContinue reading