Monday, November 30, 2009

L'Ampolla & Valencia

Dana getting creative. That's a bus going by
Steve in Valencia
In Plaza de la Virgin
Amazing sky at sunset in Valencia
Us, Andreas, Patrice, Lluisa having our bbq
tree after we worked on it
tree before
Dana on our bike ride in L'Ampolla
Lluisa was there to pick us up at the train station with a friendly smile! She is a very kind and friendly woman. When we got back to her place she showed us our room. It was beautiful! Very bright and clean with lots of space and our our bathroom! We aren't in the main house which is located a bit higher on the hill. We were in a guest casita attached to 3 others and a kitchen, and also a yoga room on the back side of the kitchen. They are in the process of setting up the place to host yoga retreats. In the kitchen they had lots of food and leftovers for us for dinner. Lluisa left us to have the evening to ourselves and said we would meet in the morning. We met Patrice, Lluisa's husband in the morning, he is French, and a funny guy. The wind was crazy on our first day, Dana spent the day doing small chores with Lluisa and Steve sanded an old wood table. The next day the wind was even stronger and they gave us the day off because it was very difficult to work outside. We did yoga in the morning with Lluisa. It was a little different than we were expecting, but it was relaxing. The place is beautiful! There are plenty of trees and green around us. From Patrice and Lluisa's house you have a view of the delta and can see all the way to the Mediterranean. The only problem is that there is not much to do here. All the roads around us lead to peoples houses and it is olive tree after olive tree. So a day off did not give us many options, especially since the nearest town was not very close to walk to. There is another helper working with us , his name is Andreas and he is from Hungary. Patrice drove the three of us into town so we could use the internet and have something to do. L'Ampolla is a small town with beautiful seaside. We spent the rest of the week working in the garden, cleaning things up, and doing general maintenance. We ate on our own for breakfast and dinner, but there was plenty of food and leftovers in the kitchen. We all eat together for lunch which is always amazing! It is like we eat at a fancy restaurant every day, we are very spoiled here. A few nights we went for a walk, a bike ride, or played ping-pong outside. Lluisa is the only Spaniard in the area, all the neighbours around are from Switzerland. One day a man named Peter drove by and invited us to go and see the olives being pressed. It was cool to see; it is quite a process. After the olives are cleaned they are put into a machine that purees them up. Next the mush is spread evenly into these round piles of baskets. The weight crushes the olives which makes some of the finest oil and then the baskets are pressed in a machine which extracts the rest of the oil. We were given a bottle from last year which was amazing.
On Sunday we went to Valencia; we stayed with a couch surfer named Carlos! He was a very nice guy studying economics at the University. Valencia is a very pretty city! We really enjoyed the buildings and the atmosphere, especially at night time with the fountain and everything lit up. We walked through different plazas, cathedrals, and basilicas. The next day we went to the central market, which was huge. We bought some fresh oranges which were delicious and some paella which was okay. (a little too fishy for our liking) We packed up our stuff at Carlos' and then headed back to L'Ampolla. We spent the next week doing similar chores of cleaning and gardening. We spent one day olive picking, which turned out to be not too bad, we picked 50 kilos of olives. Dana made a pumpkin pie with a pumpkin they had bought. She was very happy because she missed making one for Thanksgiving. The week went by very quickly and on our last day we had a huge barbeque. Lluisa bought chicken, rabbit, and sausage from the butcher. We also had barbecued veggies, guacamole, and potatoes! It was extremely tasty! We said our goodbyes and shortly after eating she drove us to the train station. It was sad to leave because we finally felt at home there. Now we are off to Lisbon!

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