Tuesday, December 9, 2014

of the Trip to Valencia Spain

As quickly as the City of Madrid rises with tall towers of buildings and balconies, it disappears into disparate industrial areas laden with cargo containers.  And then, in a small clearing is a beautiful little horse arena with jumps and grassy field.  No horses, not even a discernible barn, but any hunter knows the ring and the painted standards holding the jumps.

The train ride to Valencia is on the fast Renfe and it is barreling through the countryside so fast that the rows of plowed fields look like painted canvas.  The olive groves still bear the grayish green colors and dark wood trunks.  In rows, neatly plowed and scraped, the trees emerge in a somewhat random way in the countryside. 

 There are lots of green acres with a sudden patch of trees, then back to green acres or plowed dirt. Spain has a lot of pine trees and sycamore, though I don’t know if they would call them that.  The pines are tall and lean like those of Colorado.  The sycamores are very large with leaves that are the size of a plate.  The leaves of course are falling on the ground now, colors drained from their palettes.
Once in the hills, the green fades and it looks like the hills of San Bernadino, with sage brush and tumbleweed like bushes.  The lushness is no longer in the color, but the textures that the land shows.  There are many mesas, with tree tops and then wide open spaces.  The valleys peak at us between the hills and ask us to admire their verdant life once more.  It is somewhat like Madison County, Florida in that they are driving John Deere Green tractors in the fields, but nothing like Madison in the way the fields are tilled and then lined with little olive trees and grape vines.  And the few animals we see are mostly sheep, where Madison has cows. 
The soothing vistas and the waving train motion have put Charles to sleep and he is missing the transitions as we head east to the coast. 
The train lull is hard to resist and most don’t.  There are long stretches blocked from view by the tunnels and walls of the rail.  Combine that with the silence that is on this particular train, and you have a siesta in the making.  As a matter of fact, I feel the call now.

Alas, the child in front of me started running his truck across the tray and the man behind me takes a phone call (and had the most obnoxious ring tone).  The couple next to me debates something in Spanish that I can't understand, but it involves her ring, her jacket and the bags in her hands.  Perhaps too short a shopping trip?

We arrive at the station and have no phone to call the new landlord.  We take the walking trip, suitcases in tow under the tunnel and out to the streets. We find the place and ring ring, no answer.  Off to the streets (did I mention suitcases in tow) to find a cafe with wifi.  The lovely cafe of senyoreta-magdalena-valencia not only had wifi, but an English speaking  attendant with a lovely attitude.

She was so helpful.  We finally got a hold of Joan (pronounced John) thank you Google hangouts - I still have no phone..... arghh

Joan was lovely and apologized for being late and told us he needed more time while he cleaned the apartment.  We went off walking and saw the bull ring and the main streets and the plaza.  The central plaza is set for Navidad and even has an ice skating rink.  Back at the pad, Charles needs to lie down for a moment with a very large Goya book.  Two hours later, I go to meet Patrick Higman.  I leave Charles sleeping away.

Patrick meets me in town center, and I cry.  Yep, not even ashamed one little bit.  I was so happy to see him.  It feels so great to see someone and hug them when you haven't in a while.  Had the same feeling for my baby girl when she returned from her treks of Europe.

We walked back to the flat (did I mention four stories high with timed lights that go out if you don't make it in 30 seconds?).  Charles is still asleep.  We rouse him up and stroll through the streets of Valencia.  No restaurant seems to meet the requirements of all three of us.  So like usual, we head to the store and buy food and head back to cook at the flat.  The guys choose chicken.

Happy to see his boy

Patrick looks great

Our little flat

It was a lovely reunion with lots of Patrick stories.  Tomorrow we go see his college life, a tribute before he leaves it.  I am sure that he has lots more to share and has grown more than we will know. Surely, we were not so worldly at his age.  We had just figured out how to drive cars.  Amazing generation that knows the world, tolerance, and maybe acceptance.  So glad to have time with Patrick in his own world.