April 8

I met up with my parents at 9:30. I figured the best spot to meet them would be their hotel because we didn’t have cell phones to correspond with each other. I was surprised to find they had already had been exploring the Calle de la Paz and had been to a bakery and grabbed some coffee. I knew my parents would love the central market so we checked that out first.

I was right. The hundreds of vendors selling fresh fruit, seafood, wine, olive oil, cheese and so much more was right up their alley. We bought some toasted almonds, dried strawberries and some olive oil. The only part that was hard to stomach was the container of fresh, live eels that were trying to frantically escape their eventual demise. After we dropped off our newly purchased goods, I decided to show them our beautiful beaches.

We purchased our round trip metro tickets and I advised them, “You do not want to lose this ticket. If you do, it causes a lot of problems and is a 10 euro fine.” They listened and made sure to keep extra good care of them. After the metro, we walked all up and down the large public space that they had running parallel to the beach. The weather was perfect, I was happy I was wearing long sleeves when the breeze picked up. After we walked around for about an hour and a half, we decided to head back to the Barrio del Carmen to grab some lunch.

Of course, I was too busy telling my parents to keep up with their ticket that I somehow misplaced mine. When the metro employee asked for our tickets, my parents quickly presented theirs but I couldn’t account for mine. The man saw after reading the tickets that I really had purchased a ticket, so instead of giving me the fine, he made us pay 1.40 (the price for a single trip) instead of the 10 euro fine. As is always the case after we were about 100 yards away from our stop, my dad looked in the bag of dried strawberries and almonds that we had brought with us and sure enough there was my ticket.

There were a lot of good looking restaurants that lined the huge walkway up to the Plaza de la Virgen and it was hard to decide which one we wanted to go to. We decided the restaurant with the Guinness umbrella out front was the winner and we sat down. We made a great decision. We had some great salad, some pizza and I ordered alfredo bowtie pasta. It was out of this world. My dad and I enjoyed a birthday pint of Guinness and we sat out enjoying our wonderful afternoon in Valencia.

After lunch, we went to the Valencia soccer store and poked around for a bit. After we made a couple purchases, we went back to my dorm to make some calls back home. It was good to talk to Ryan, Peter and Mimi and I know my parents enjoyed it as well. After we got off the phone, I was pretty exhausted from staying up too late the night before and I decided to take a power nap and get ready for dinner. We parted ways, deciding to meet up at 9:15 back at the hotel. My nap was incredible, I was in a deep sleep and the hour was exactly what I needed.

I met with my parents and was excited to head to the restaurant I had chosen called A Tu Gusto. We walked about a block over to Cortes Ingles to catch a taxi and we were on our way. Or so I thought. The taxi driver had no idea where the restaurant was and said he couldn’t get their without an address. We hurried back to the hotel to find the address and then we were on our way.

The restaurant was in a small little neighborhood over by the City of Arts and Sciences. It was really well decorated, and I enjoyed the quiet environment (we were the only ones there). We went ahead and ordered the set menu that they had prepared for the night. Our server didn’t speak any English so I was forced to translate for my parents. I tried my best, but there were just some things I had no idea what they were. I basically was just saying, “Ham,” or, “More Ham.” The food was actually very good and we had a great meal. It was definitely more of a restaurant that would appeal more to Spanish taste buds but I really enjoyed talking with my parents and enjoying their company. After an espresso and a brownie with ice cream, we caught a cab back and split ways. I had an absolutely great day and I know my parents especially my Dad (with it being his birthday) enjoyed themselves too. Having this 1 on 1 time with them over here has been better than I ever imagined.

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