Christmas 2023 and New Year 2024 in Valencia
14 January 2024
We have arrived in Valencia to spend Christmas and New Year, hoping for sun and to make some new memories. This year we are thrilled to have Kim, Alex and Jess onboard - Ricky's sister and 2 nieces x I am looking forward to showing them all the city has to offer so let the adventure begin ...
Kim has settled to life onboard Patience and has taken her turn as galley wench with gusto, serving up some wonderful veggie food for I quote: "You weirdos"
(As a farmer, she is definitely a meat eater.) We've had a great time; cycling along the river bed and beach, trying Spanish tapas, climbing castles in the old town, enjoying the wonderful Christmas lights and Nativity Scenes, parrot spotting, taking photos of the amazing pink winter sunsets , chilling and of course drinking beer and sangria at sundown x
On Christmas Eve we shared a video call to my side of the family having a get together at Daryl and Cindys,( love you guys) while poor Kim .. you've guessed it, was slaving in the galley (again) preparing us a veggie Christmas Eve Feast - cheers Kim x Many of you know how I rave about the glorious beach outside the marina, so Christmas Day had to be picnic and optimistically a dip in the sea . Sadly too cool for swimming but Kim braved a paddle and we all enjoyed playing boules and beach tennis in the sunshine.
During the girls stay onboard we managed magnificently to pass a rotten flu like cold and cough around, the only one missing out was Alex . I also managed to fall off my bike and hurt my ribs , so for New year we left the girls to fend for themselves. Ricky sent them off into the Old Town on their bikes with grapes and Champagne to join the revellers, while he went to bed and I spent a few days recuperating at 'Hunters Retreat' with Wendy and Fez. The tradition of the grapes by the way, is that you eat one grape on every chime of the clock at the stroke of midnight, before toasting in the New Year with the bubbly - gutted we both missed it .
The main Christmas festivities for València families, especially the children, take place on January the 5th which is known as Three Kings Day. The 3 kings arrive at the marina by boat and there is a procession into the Old Town where there is a huge party with music, food and fireworks. Unfortunately (very bad planning) this happened on the girls last day of their stay.We did get a glimpse of the parade on the way to the metro, but sadly (for this year at least) we missed the grand party. That said we did manage a cycle ride to my favourite cafe on the sea front 'Bonnito' for lunch where we were joined by a very mischievous parrot . Having craned our necks to spot glimpses of parrots in the trees , one , flew into the cafe courtyard, bold as brass, and sat on the table next to us. It wasn't long before said parrot realised that as locals, they weren't as excited to see him we were, so he hopped over to us. He was fascinated by Ricky's wallet, the girls phones and when I held out some crumbs for him he jumped on my hand and that was it. He'd found his doting audience.
On the following morning the 6th January, children in Spain receive their presents, left traditionally in their shoes. It is not Father Christmas who leaves the presents, they are left by Balthasar, Melchior and Casper, obviously not to be confused with 'The Friendly Ghost.' The Naughty and Nice rule still applies, but like lots of Europe it's quite harsh as naughty results in coal in your shoes instead of sweets!
After the girls left we had a few boat jobs to do ready for when we return in Spring. The main one being buying and fitting new batteries, which we managed to source in town, but the jury is out on how good they are as they don't appear to be holding their charge as they should. Time will tell. Some good news - We have moved the boat to 'La Marinett ' a part of the marina which is closer to the beach and town so that is a result . We are only allowed to book a berth until the end of June, but hopefully we can then book another 6 months as we like the spot and have already made friends with a few of our neighbours. We shared a seafood paella lunch with a fab couple from the United States, who have chosen to live in Valencia full time and have a flat opposite the marina and a boat on our pontoon.
Finally before we left the sunshine to return home we managed to squeeze in a night at the circus . Pablos Circus. The cute 'yester-year' caravans , beautifully painted to look like railway carriages gave nothing away. They reminded me of Casey Junior the circus train from the film Dumbo, I was intrigued. Once inside the Big Top, strapped down to lorries converted to look like fabulous old fashioned bright red fire engines, it looked more like a Victorian theatre. It had velvet curtains and carved ornate wooden seating, the expensive seating was even set out as individual boxes. It looked very humble, we weren't sure what to expect. Well ... The jaw dropping acts had us on the edge of our seat and I lost count of how many times I turned to Ricky and said 'Wow! How did they do that?" At times I was scared to look as artists jumped, twirled and swung high above our heads yet almost close enough to touch in the intimate setting.
How to end this Winter get away on a real high - it was Spectacular!