Thursday, January 12, 2012

Buenos días...breakfast served!

Buenos Dias (Good morning)...Paco greeted me.  He had laid out our breakfast for us.  He led us to the garden.  The garden...Yes, we had our breakfast there.
I thought it was so Spanish. It was winter and we had breakfast outdoors.  Brrr....Nevertheless, we enjoyed the feeling.
Cool...Paula & Paco's Christmas Tree
Paco would be preparing the Paella Valencia for all of us.  He told us his father gave the recipe he would be using and his father who in turn, received it from his father.  Call us fortunate to be able to savour 'authentic Paella Valencia what more, home-cooked.  Paula showed me the types of ingredients that are used.  One of them would be the beans (typical in Paella).  The Garrofo and the Bajoqueta.  
Garrofo-Broad Beans & Bajoqueta-Green ones
First...the Chicken
As agreed the day before, we would be having Paella for lunch.  Before lunch, both hubby and I went out for a walk, to sight see.
A bench on the street
Poo-bag inside (circled)
The dog in the picture has a small plastic bone stuck to its collar.  Inside the collar are poo-bags.  Some dog owners picked up after their dogs but some do not.
Graffiti on the wall
Spanish girls don't walk- they rollerblade
I asked Paco about the oranges on the trees. Why they were not collected for consumption? The reason was no one wanted them.  They are sour and not edible.
Arrow points into the parking area
'Honk', I paid no heed as I had passed the exit. That was when I was in Madrid.   That day, I heard a 'honk' as I walked on that street and I stopped.  A car came out of the 'empty space' sandwiched between two shops.  I took a peek down and found out that it was a car park inside.  The door will slowly drop down after the car exit. It is common to find underground parking below a row of shops/apartments.  
I enjoyed my walk around Valencia that day.  It was nice to just walk, walk and not have to rush around.  Along the way, I saw a cockroach.  Yes, a Valencia cockroach looked the same as a Malaysian one. (Laughters)
A bird
Walking the dog is so common
Oak Tree & Acorn (circled)
I picked a seed from the ground and then I looked up.  I took a picture and took the seed home to show our hosts.  Paco told me that it is a bellota (acorn) from the roble (oak) tree. They feed the pigs with it.  I asked if it is acorn.  Yes, it was an acorn.  I told him that acorn in Spain are different from that found in United States.  A good friend had sent me two acorns from USA.  I have pictures of the two for comparison (below).  From google, I found out that there are different species of oak trees.  
Acorns from  the United States of America
Acorns I picked in Valencia
Bicycles for rent
We walked to the new City of Valencia.  We did not know that there was a 'new' and 'old' city until our hosts told us.
City of Arts and Science
The people of Valencia are very friendly. I could not recall how many "Hola" I heard (said to us) as we walked around.  I read that life in Valencia is slower pace than in Madrid. It was around 11 am and already there were people sitting on the sidewalk and some were drinking beer. It was still morning.
I walked past this couple (in the picture) and the dog caught my attention.  I took and a picture and the man smiled (said something to the woman I think).  The woman turned around and looked at me, smiled and said 'Hola'.  I said 'Hola' and 'Thank you' signing that I took a picture.  Spaniards are wonderful people; I could not help saying it again to hubby.
We continued with our walk and then there was this dog.  He tailed hubby and we started laughing.  It must have mistaken hubby for someone else.  I took a picture and then squatted down.  It came running to me and that was when its owner appeared and scooped the dog up.
The owner of the dog was friendly and cheerful.  He kept muttering something in Spanish and it was only when the dog extended its paw then I realised.  The man asked the dog to shake paw (I think it was that).  LOL...I asked if I could take a picture and he happily agreed. I could not resist doing it twice...two pictures taken. 
One wonderful Owner and his Dog
Dog outside a shop waiting
We do Everything Together
A female and a male dog
We came across this park in the new city of Valencia.  On first look, it was just a normal park.  It was only when we decided to walk into the park that we found it to be different.
I could not help saying with excitement, "Look, the dogs here have a park of their own!"  I was so intrigued by all the barking, yelping in the big park; I ran to the pool.  There were dogs playing in the water and some were playing on land.  
Now I say 'Fetch' and Oh..!
The man (in the picture above) was trying to teach his dog the Alsatian to 'fetch'.  His dog was not able to as the other dog which does not belong to him kept bringing the ball back.  It was hilarious watching the man reprimand his dog. He had to keep retrieving the ball from the mouth of the other dog.  In the end, he leashed his dog and walked off.
Paella Valencia
We decided to go 'home' as it was near lunchtime.  We walked into a house filled with an aroma of something cooking.  The Paella was ready.  It was 'chow time'.
Counter with ceramics top
A typical kitchen with ceramics and paellera hanging on the wall
A huge paellera (pan for the rice dish)
polvorón in its traditional wrapper
We did not have just Paella Valencia prepared by Paco.  We had many other things to eat.  We learnt a little about each other's culture.  Paula and Paco made sure we learn more about Spain besides enjoying our stay in their house. Paco would Google any words we do not understand in Spanish.  Paula on the other hand introduced the polvorón, a kind of shortbread eaten around Christmas, ali o li with hard bread and pastelitos, which is pastry with filling.
Up above--The Balcony
Rosemary plant
Paco & Paula
We spent a whole afternoon with both of them.   
We took a walk to the city again in the evening.  Hubby wanted to get some wine.  We saw this wine shop and walked in.  We learnt something as customers in Spain.  They treat you with respect. Hubby did not mention anything about buying any bottles of wine.  He just asked about the wine and the man who attended to us was very helpful.  We were served a glass of wine each and also given slices of  Jamón serrano (dry cured Spanish ham) to taste. That was one great hospitality shown.  We found out that this wine shop is about (I think) 100 years old. We left with two bottles of wine and some Jamón.
That old wine shop
Plaza de Toros (Bullring)
The sky gets dark early in winter.  It was only around 6:00pm but it looked like nighttime.
I took a picture and asked for a corn on the cob
She nodded.  Took one and sprayed...salt.  Look at the amount!
2 euros and I have one.  I did what the Spaniards do. Walk with the corn on the cob
Statue of Manolo Montoliv (Plaza de Toros)
See..the cheeky girl!
Street view in Old City
Plaza de la Virgen 
Candy shops are for real here
Aubergine fried with capsicum
vegetable salad with crabstick
What you see inside a cafe
We decided to drop by a small restaurant for a meal before proceeding 'home'.  We had the usual Tapas.  One can find Tapas in almost all eateries and with a wide range of toppings.  They are not expensive. We had a nice meal with a little for the small dog.  The dog belonged to the owner of the eatery.  Another wonderful day with beautiful weather...:o)

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