This week’s top lessons: electric standing scooters are by far the most fun mode of transportation, flamenco dancing is epic, and Valencia has the best city greenway. Busy but fun week in the sunny city!
- Valencians pronounce the ‘c’ in words as a ‘th’…aka everyone sounds like they have a lisp. Grathias…Valenthia…
- This month’s Positive Impact partner is ‘A Quelar Cabanyal’. The organization promotes youth empowerment in the neighborhood through flamenco music and dance. They were originally funded on a grant and now rely on outside donors to keep the program alive. As noted below, we hosted a fundraiser for them. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to meet any of the youth involved, but their website and social media provides great insight to the impact they are able to have.
- There is a gypsy community in Valencia called gitano. A large portion of them live in the Cabanyal neighborhood. Of what we learned, they have an interesting culture that includes girls getting married as young as fifteen. Unlike in the US, gypsy is an accepted term for this group of people.
Week in Review
- Remote Year mindfulness workshop with great intentions of being a good event that turned out to be a very challenging three hour stress fest. For me, this type of activity has to involve a safe space where people are able to participate to the level they feel comfortable. Partly to the blame of the facilitator, I did not feel comfortable sharing in the way we were being asked. You know it’s going to be rough when the facilitator starts by taking visibly stressed breaths in between her opening remarks.
- So what did I learn? I can get through intense workshops even if I want to run, that I’m not alone in the overwhelmed sensation I’ve felt this month, that I’m travelling with some amazing, strong people, and meditation the way it was demonstrated is…probably not for me.
- Treat myself to a pedicure #selfcare
- Host a Bachelorette watch party. Ya I know, the show is silly, but it’s a fun excuse to get people together and laugh over reality TV
- Morning stroll through my neighborhood and a normal work day.
- Drinks at the rooftop of the Blanq Carmen Hotel to honor a Parean that’s leaving the program (we are losing 6 members after Spain, eek!)
- Positive Impact evening complete with a flamenco dance lesson and tapas night fundraiser accompanied by flamenco music
- Why I thought this lesson would be good for Ms. Uncoordinated I will never know. But I had a lot of fun attempting. Solid group of people in good spirits and an instructor that only spoke Spanish.
- Tapas and a delicious dinner at El Viento Bar in the Cabanyal neighborhood. We all paid a bit extra and the money went to the ‘A queler Cabanyal’ organization. Fun night!
- Cobi arrives!!
- A fellow Remote let us borrow his electric scooter, so naturally Cobi and I rode it together (and almost hit twenty people, five curbs, and a car).
- Get horchata, fartons, and churros at the famous Horchateria de Santa Catalina in the old city. To be honest, fartons are pretty bland, also their name sucks. But the chocolate we got for dipping was good. Spanish style Horchata is made with tiger nut milk.
- Got hold of another scooter and explored more of the city in the afternoon
- Flamenco show at La Buleria. Tapas, great meal, lots of sangria, and an EPIC show. We say right next to the stage and you could feel the passion (in the form of sweat droplets) from the performers. But seriously, so much respect for the dancers, I have no idea how they moved their legs and feet so fast.
- Road trip down the southern coast! Simone, another remote, had her two siblings in town so it was a family adventure filled with stressful city driving and lots of laughs.
- Drove first to a recommended beach called Cala del Moraig, a little north of the town of Calp, Spain. AMAZING recommendation. To access, you had to drive up, around, and almost straight down a mountain. The drive led you to the rocky beach and cool caves that felt private. The views were stunning.
- Drive further south to the city of Benidorm, aka the place where all British tourists go, aka the Miami or Jersey Shore of Spain, aka not my ideal vibes. Ya, lots of underdressed, oversunburnt people speaking English with accents, accompanied by tacky signs and a 7/11. Need I say more?
- Lunch at a tapas bar that I won’t name because it’s not worth the visit BUT the experience was cool. It’s literally a bar with lots of bite size food (tapas) that you point at to build a meal. I got a mini paella, a tortilla de Español, and patatas bravas…that were served to me after a nice microwave. How does the saying go? If you can’t eat well, eat cheap? Each was only 80 cents.
- Benidorm actually has some really nice parts too. My favorite spot was the Balco del Mediterrani which had Greece-eqsue columns and a nice view of the beach. The beach itself was beautiful too…if you looked beyond the interesting attire.
- On the drive back to Valencia, rode along the coast to soak in the views. Sea on one side, rolling hills on the other.
- Grabbed gelato, electric scooters, and did some exploring of Valencia as the sun set.
- Scooter day!!
- Cobi and I set out on a day long adventure through Valencia. Weaved through to the farthest inland part of the Turia gardens and followed them all the way to the sea. Doesn’t sound like much but the park is HUGE (and so, so beautiful.) Again, the gardens are a result of redirecting the Turia River. The design is very intentional and well thought out. Complete with a zoo, large pond, soccer fields, track, playgrounds, and oh by the way the City of Arts and Sciences and Gulliver Park.
- Only problem with scooters is they involve zero exercise so you feel like you’re doing a lot of work going around but you’re not at all. Oh well.
- End the day at Casa de la Mar, a gutted, done up warehouse bar, for a Valencia goodbye party. We got treated with three drink tickets sooo lots of tinto de verano and delicious paella.
- I have to say, this was my favorite night with Remote Year. Almost all of Parea was in attendance and it was a much needed time to reflect on 4 months and look ahead to the next 8. We did an activity where we taped pieces of paper to each other’s backs then all took markers and wrote something we appreciated about that person on their paper.
- Most of mine read: ‘wise beyond your years’ and ‘nice smile’. It was fun to see what people highlighted in others.
One more week in Spain and it promises to be packed…here we gooooo!