Visiting a port every day can get tiring. George has decided to take his meds in the evening to give him more energy during the day. We will see how it works, but he did get going feeling perkier this morning. We took a shuttle into Valencia, which dropped us off near the old city center. We did pass a lot of orange trees on the streets, there must be Valencia orange groves around here somewhere! An enterprising impoverished looking person sold us a free map of Valencia for one Euro. We were all happy, and we pretended not to notice it was a free map.
Valencia is HUGE. This is a large city with large party goers. All the cruise ship info on the city was relating to the wild night life. Which was interesting, as we left the port at 6 pm, well before the parties started. My main interest was the central market. A giant place, housed in a 1930ish glass domed building.
With the wonders of a not-so-free map and Google Maps, we easily found it. OH. MY . GOODNESS. There are over 1,000 food stalls in the market. And at least 10,000 people. And they weren’t all tourists. Tons of locals were hauling carts through the crowds, body slamming people to get them out of the way. Not to be rude – it was the only way to get through the crush. I have never seen so much bounty in one location. It is supposedly the second largest market, second only to the famous one in Barcelona.
George took one look and said he would wait outside. I, however, managed to cruise all 1,000 booths. It should be up there as one of the most adventurous achievements of my life. I have never ever been truly pushed along with a crowd. Sort of upright body surfing. I snatched pictures as I went. It killed me not to be able to buy the fruit and veggies, but we can’t take them on the boat, and how would I ever get them home anyway? Take a gander at some of these food wonders.
American shoppers could be pretty shocked at some of the food presentations. We live very sanitized lives with our food. We don’t always think about chickens having heads and feet. Piles of entire carcasses are sold; also buckets of heads and feet can be purchased. Huge hams are hung with the hooves still attached. We tend to forget that these were live animals and weren’t born in a cellophane package. The hardest one for me were the skinned rabbits with their large eyes staring up at me. Sorry, there I go being a vegetarian again! I do think they have the right perspective, however. If we are going to eat meat, we should know and acknowledge how it came to be.
When I finished, which admittedly took a few hours, George was ready to eat and go home. We stopped at a tapas bar and had a quick snack. I had never had Sangria, which is wine mixed with fresh fruit. I thought I should try a glass. It’s a good thing it isn’t available everywhere at home, because this is seriously good. Very refreshing after a full body press with thousands of sweating people. And it goes down way too quickly.
They take afternoon siestas in Valencia, (it’s Sangria time!) and many of the businesses shut down at 2 pm. George was done for the day and said he wanted a taxi to go home. He did not want to walk back to the prepaid shuttle. The info I had read said to negotiate carefully the price, because the taxi drivers can take advantage. I asked the guy how much and he said 12-15 Euros. We had paid 25 Euros for the round trip shuttle, so I figured he was okay. He was extremely nice and had us back at the ship quickly for 12 Euros. George was very happy. He had been sitting in the sun waiting for me, and was ready to rest.
Valencia is way too large for me. We could see that there is a large nightlife. Tons of bars and restaurants did not open until late at night. It seems like a young persons town. Admittedly, we saw a very small portion of a very large city and cannot begin to make a fair judgment. However, they sure do have one cool food market!