“I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Hola amigos!

Whew! These past two weeks have been very busy for me! As I told you all last time, I was just about to leave for Valencia, a city on the eastern coast of Spain. Valencia rests on the shore of the famous Mediterranean Sea. And now, I have a challenge for you all… during the Age of Discovery (1450-1650), explorers believed there were Seven Seas they could use to navigate the whole world. These seas still exist today, and their names are:

Atlantic
Arctic
Indian
and Pacific Oceans

and the
Mediterranean Sea
the Caribbean Sea
and the Gulf of Mexico

Now, I have been to the Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean, and Gulf of Mexico. Only three more to go! My challenge to you is to see all seven!

One of my favorite parts of traveling is discovering the history of where I am, and why it is important. Valencia was conquered and settled by the Romans in 137 B.C., although it has changed rulers many times. Now it is the third largest city in Spain, and is famous for its seafood dish paella.

Remember before when we talked about tapas, a traditional style of eating in Spain? Well there is another tradition very common in Spain used by restaurants called the Menú del día.

Menu del Dia en Valencia

In Spain, lunch is the biggest meal of the day, and the people normally eat around 2pm-4pm. With the menú del día, the restaurant sets a price, usually around 10 Euros (about $15 in American currency). You receive a drink, bread, two plates of food and a dessert! Normally, the first dish is a soup, pasta, or salad. These are some examples!

Paella valenciana
Pochas con almejas
Judías verdes con jamón
Spaghettis con atún
Entremeses variados
Gazpacho

The second plate is usually a little heartier, and commonly includes meat. Traditional plates include:

Chuleta de cordero
Escalope de pollo
Solomillo pimienta
Croquetas

Where, you ask, do the people of Valencia go to buy the ingredients for all of these yummy dishes? That would be the Mercado Central, the most famous market in all of Valencia. They sell every type of food there, and it is always fresh! Here are some pictures I took to show you all.

Mercado Central! Open Mondays-Saturdays 7:00-14:00
Seashells with fresh seafood inside!
Olives, or "aceitunas", are a big part of the Mediterranean Diet.
In Spain, to show the freshness of the ham, they sell it by the leg with the hooves still attached. This is a sign of good meat!
Olive oil, or "aceite de oliva", is used very often in cooking all types of foods.
Bread, or "pan", is another staple in the Mediterranean Diet.
Fresh "pescado" from the sea!

And of course, the seafood, or marisco, is so fresh because it comes from the Mediterranean Sea. My friends and I were able to spend a lot of time on the beach, watching surfers. The water was a little cold, but we also went swimming in the waves!

The beautiful Mediterranean Sea!

Another favorite part of my journey was the trip home. We got to take a train! The train system in Europe is very fast and efficient. This was my first time riding a train, and I was a little nervous, but it was very fun. And the most amazing part was we were traveling at 300 kilometers per hour! That is about 186 miles per hour!

This is the train we took from Valencia back to Madrid. The whole trip only took two hours!
Some trains can even go about 400 km/h (249 mph)!

My future travel plans are to visit Salamanca and Granada. I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures, and always, please send me more questions!

Un abrazo grande!

Tori

Author: vshover

Hola! My name is Victoria, and I am spending the fall semester of 2011 to study Spanish in Madrid, Spain. At home in Kentucky, I am studying Elementary Education and Spanish at Georgetown College. Why Madrid? Why not? It´s a beautiful city, with a rich culture, that also offers excellent language courses. By studying here, I hope to become a well-rounded teacher who can better share my cultural knowledge and language skills with my future students. For this blog, I am sharing my experience with St. Patrick Elementary School of Louisville, Kentucky, because as a 2005 graduate, I feel it is a great way to give back to the school that has helped me to grow into the person I am today. I believe the students at St. Patricks could benefit from learning about another culture, particularly the culture of the language taught at their school. I am honored to be a representing member of the Classmates Connecting Culture program of ISA, and I hope my enthusiasm for Spain will inspire the students of St. Patricks to also explore the world!

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