Well, it’s been a funny old week. I can hardly believe it’s almost been a week – well, ok, six days – since I arrived here. If I’d been here on holiday for six days I would have expected to do all sorts of things: visit Bioparc, climb the Torres de Serranos and the Torres de Quart, go to the beach… instead of which I seem to have spent a lot of time shopping, primarily for food, and a lot of time sleeping. I suppose that’s fair enough. I’m not just here for a week or ten days this time, so there’s not the same urgency to see everything. Plus, as a friend pointed out to me, it’s been a challenging time for me physically and emotionally, so it’s only natural that I should want to relax and catch up on some sleep.
What I have managed to do is visit several of the Christmas displays around the city, including the nativity scenes at the Central and Colón markets, at the Christmas market at the CAC and outside the cathedral, and the Christmas tree in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. (I haven’t yet visited the nativity scene – or Belén – in the town hall, which I’ve read is well worth doing, but there’s time for that yet.) And last night I went to a local choir’s Christmas concert, which was good, although I might have got a seat nearer the front (and not missed the first half!) if my phone hadn’t directed me to completely the wrong place! I walked up and down Calle de Santo Tomás several times before coming to the conclusion that the Iglesia de Santo Tomás was in a square in a completely different part of town! But I am starting to learn my way around, and that has to be a good thing.
Then, this morning, I went for my first ever run in Valencia. I won’t go on about the weather except to say that it really doesn’t feel like winter here, and it certainly feels strange to walk along in the sunshine listening to Christmas songs! Santa somehow doesn’t look quite at home here either, although traditionally it is the Three Kings or Reyes Magos who bring Spanish children their presents (and not until 6th January), so maybe that’s not such a bad thing!
But it would be good for me to learn that I don’t need to wear a thick fleece to go out for a walk and I don’t need to wear a long sleeved top to go for a run, even in December! I think perhaps I am fooled by the fact that my room tends to stay quite cool during the day ( and in the evenings I’d go so far as to say it gets chilly), being on the northern side of the building, but when I get outside in the sun, I realise that I’m not in the UK any longer.
Anyway, today being Nochebuena, it’s the big night of Christmas celebrations for Spaniards, so I’m planning to head out into town in a bit and see what’s what. I’ve just read that, although plenty of partying goes on, the bars don’t even open until 1am so I don’t imagine I’ll get to see the best of it. I’m not quite on the full Spanish timetable yet… or maybe the truth is I’m just feeling my age!
All that remains to say is ¡Feliz Navidad!