Saturday, July 11, 2015

Valencia, Day One

First day in Valencia - I took way too many pictures and here they are: 

Our first day in Valencia began with a long layover in the Madrid Airport following our overnight flight from Philadelphia.  This is the quietest airport I've ever been in, probably due to the unique curved ceiling design.  It's crazy but very effective.  The support beams follow the colors of the rainbow through the length of the airport.  It's really an amazing sight that these photos can't even begin to capture.  The light fixtures were also very cool.

This is an extremely low-budget trip we are on, but we're getting a pretty nice vacation out of it.  The plane was free (frequent flyer miles from all the expenses we had building our house), public transportation mostly, and AirBnB lodging.  And lucky for us, it turns out that food is very inexpensive in Spain too.  The first things we saw after getting off the Metro from the Valencia airport were the bullfighting ring and the train station.

We are staying in an apartment in the Ruzafa neigborhood, which is full of restaurants and bars, beautiful old architecture, and some rather brilliant graffiti.  It's an artsy area and a fun place to be.  Our apartment is on the 5th floor so we don't hear much street noise, and fortunately there is an elevator.  The owner is an architect who lives here part time and has his office here and rents out the two spare bedrooms. He's super nice, speaks excellent English, gives good advice, and keeps the apartment very clean.  It's been a great place to stay, and much more pleasant than any hotel that we could have afforded.

Here's our room.  It's small and simple, but very clean.  And we have the run of the apartment.  It's a great place to hang out, which a lot of hotel rooms are not.

The ad said "vintage apartment" and it comes complete with a skeleton key for our room!  Here are a couple of views from our balcony:

Although extremely sleep-deprived, having stayed up all night the night before we left on our more than 24 hour trio of flights, we were determined to go to bed at a "normal" time.  So off we went for a walk around our groovy neighborhood.  Here's some of what we saw:

Window selfie time!

Even the sidewalks and grates are snazzy!

Maybe a little Jameson will help us sleep

My tired toes

Our local corner store.  We walked in to buy water and the guy said "How about a samosa?"  So glad we followed his suggestion - they were SO GOOD.

This cafe is on the bottom floor of our building.

The foyer

The living room.  I felt right at home since mine is the same color.

Looking down at the street from the balcony

Origami birds in a bookstore window.

The hallway outside our bedroom.  Time to say goodnight.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Potomac River Exploration

Since I was completely exhausted from shovelling snow for past two days, going for a little ride out in the country seemed like a nice relaxing thing to do.  For some reason I had a very strong urge to visit the Potomac River today.  The original plan was to take White's Ferry across to Virginia and then take Route 15 up to Point of Rocks and then head home.  But unbeknownst to me, White's Ferry was closed, so our little road trip became more random, with "Ooooh, let's see where that goes" being the main source of whatever next move we made.

None of this was planned, but I made a little map afterwards, of where we ended up going, starting at White's Ferry:


We took two little side trips to look at the Potomac, first at the Mouth of Monocacy, and then at Nolands Landing.  We crossed into Virginia at Point of Rocks, went through Lovettsville VA, and headed back across to Brunswick MD.  Then we went a little farther north, just to see what was up there, and found ourselves all the way up at Route 340.  Since we had gone that far, we felt compelled to do one more crossing of the Potomac on 340, just below Harper's Ferry.  By then we were starving, so we turned around and headed back to Brunswick MD, where we had wonderful sandwiches and coffee at Beans in the Belfry, and then we headed home.
Here are some photos I took along the way:

A lovely barn, somewhere between Poolesville and White's Ferry.

Looking south down the C&O Canal towpath at White's Ferry.

Another farm out that way.

A ford is a shallow section of a river or creek where you can easily cross on a horse, or on foot.  It's difficult to imagine the Potomac being shallow enough for that, but apparently the Confederate soldiers thought it was perfectly fine.  Back in the slightly less olden days, there was a paved ford going across Rock Creek in DC, which you could drive across in a car.

A farm along Martinsburg Road, with some vultures on the roof of the barn.

Heading towards the Dickerson Conservation Area.

Look, a deer!
At Route 28, an historic stone fence.

This cow seems right at home in the snow.

I love rickety old wooden bridges.  This one is on the way to the Mouth of Monocacy.

The Monocacy River, near where it empties into the Potomac.

The Monocacy Aqueduct, behind the trees.

The Monocacy River, behind me.

Heading back to Route 28 from the Mouth of Monocacy

Railroad tracks.
Across this field, and across the river behind those trees, are the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.

The Potomac River at Noland's Landing

I love seeing sycamore trees against a blue sky in the wintertime.
One last shot at Noland's Landing.

A snowman near Lovettsville VA gazes in wonder at the mighty Potomac.
Under the bridge at Point of Rocks, looking from the Virginia side.

That's Point of Rocks across the river there.

One last wintertime scene before my camera's battery went dead.