November 17, 2011
It is a little after 8:30 in the evening as I sit down at the computer to write this first blog entry. We left Los Angeles at 7:20 PM on Wednesday headed for Zurich. It was a bit of an adventure getting to the airport. Traffic through downtown was at a standstill and even though we had left the house at 4:00 in order to get to the airport at 5:20 at 5:00 PM we were just beyond 3rd Street. Our driver used a tricky maneuver to get past some of the traffic and it worked. Once we got beyond 8th Street traffic began to flow freely and we made it to the airport a mere five minutes after the 5:20 PM targeted arrival time. Check-in was painless and we were told that if we wanted a chance at a bulkhead seat, we should be there when the desk opened at 6:00.
We had enough time to stop off for a drink and we then made our way to the gate. I inquired if there was a chance of our getting bulkhead seating when gold card Miles and More members were upgraded to business. I was told there was no chance. The guys at the desk were talking to each other in Spanish and so I repeated my request in Spanish and had to be satisfied by the fact that I was turned down in two languages. We had some time to kill before the flight was called so we took a little stroll and when we returned, one of the guys from behind the desk approached me and asked for our tickets. He said that if it were possible to get us re-seated he would do it. We waited until the last minute, but it was not meant to be. We headed to the back of the plane and took our seats in Row 40 where the width of the seat is most appropriate for someone who weighs in less than 100 pounds. As is usually my fate, the woman who was sitting in front of me in addition to having her seat fully reclined was a bouncer.
We arrived in Zurich some eleven hours later and I managed to extricate myself from my seat. We managed to make our way to passport control where I was engaged in a rather lengthy conversation with the policeman who inspected our passports. Where were we going? How long were we staying for? What would we be doing in Spain? He was very thorough except for one small detail. He neglected to stamp our passports and that was part of the paper trail we needed to establish our arrival date in Spain. We made our connection with time to spare and we landed in Valencia a little before 7:00 PM.
Our luggage was quickly offloaded from the plane and with our suitcases stacked on a little trolley; we made our way to the second floor to visit with the Policía Nacional. Our goal was to get them to stamp our passport so that we could establish when we arrived in Spain. There is a time frame during which we need to go to the local police station and get our tarjeta de identidad, which will complete the residence visa process and means that we will be able to come and go as we please. The young man who attended us was very efficient and the necessary forms were filled out, signed, and stamped and off we went in search of a cab.
We arrived at the apartment at 8:00 and Miguel was waiting for us. He helped us carry up the luggage and we walked back into what will be our home for the next nine months. The movers had delivered all of the items we had left in storage and they were neatly lined up waiting for our attention. Realizing that it was late and we were too tired to go shopping, Miguel had provided us with a basket of goodies that included bottled water, fruit, chips, nuts, juice and breakfast goodies. We chatted for a while and then Miguel left us to our task.
We did some unpacking and, of course, the first item unpacked was the espresso maker. Around 9:30 we decided that we had enough things at our disposal that we could stop the process and get a bite to eat. Our steps lead us directly to La Fórcola. We were warmly greeted and sat down to a meal of steamed mussels and a pizza. After we finished our coffee, we headed back home and I headed for the bed while Susan decided to do a bit more unpacking.
I was up early and I worked for a while on unpacking and organizing my stuff. I would leave my magic for later in the day. When Susan awoke we had breakfast and then got dressed because we had a 9:30 appointment at City Hall. It was raining and it was getting late so we decided to take a cab. We arrived a few minutes early and checked in. Within five minutes our number had been called and we began the process of what is called in Spanish empadronamiento. It is a process by which you register where you are living with City Hall and you need that certificate in order to be eligible for a number of other documents and permissions. We needed this certificate because it is one of the documents you must present when apply for your tarjeta de identidad. The process took us all of five minutes and we walked out, certificate in hand and, since it had stopped raining we decided to walk to the Mercado Central.
Our first stop was at Frutería Ros to catch up with Amparo. We were greeted with hugs and kisses and we chatted briefly. We only needed to pick up a few things to get us through the next few days and when it came time to pay she looked at us and said, “No charge! It’s my welcome back present.” We then made a quick stop at Luis’s stand to pick up some canned tuna and some freshly made pickles. Our next stop was Solaz where we would pick up our fix of jamón serrano and queso manchego. Cristina, who was as happy to see us, as we were to see her, warmly greeted us. Since Susan wants to do Thanksgiving here in Valencia we asked Cristina about where to buy a turkey. She told us that she would take care of it and that we could come by and pick it up on the 23rd. Having finished with our purchases, we decided to stop by Carusel and see if Jordi was there getting things ready for lunch at the restaurant.
As it turned out, he was and, after a round of hugs and kisses, we chatted for a while and we continued on our way. On our journey we made another stop to catch up with Miguel to thank him for all his work yesterday and to update him on our visit to City Hall. We then headed back home where we put away our purchases and continued with the unpacking process. A little after 1:00 PM we were of to Mercadona to pick up some staples. We found everything we needed and armed with three large cloth shopping bags that were filled to the brim we made our way back home once more. When things were put away our thoughts turned to lunch. We decided that A Nou would be our best choice.
The owner was pleased to see us and was double pleased to see that Susan was no longer using crutches to get around. We were pleased to see that this recently opened restaurant was just about filled to capacity and that the conversation at every table was quite animated. We chose the menú del día, which offered us three appetizers, a main course and a dessert. Today’s three appetizers were a zucchini soup with bits of bacon, eggplant topped with tomatoes and melted Manchego cheese and an egg roll that was filled with pieces of fish and shrimp. Our man dish was an arroz al horno. Think of paella made with rice, garbanzo beans, morcilla, potatoes and chunks of pork rib and you can begin to imagine how great this hearty and filling dish was. Dessert was a crème brulée that had been sweetened with a touch of white chocolate. At 4:10 we wearily dragged our bones home. I enjoyed a brief nap and Susan set about getting the rest of our things in order. At 5:00 we headed out again. This time our destination was our lawyer’s office where we needed to sign some documents prior to our applying for our tarjeta de identidad next week. It took all of ten minutes and at 5:10 we were back on the street.
Once we got home we finished the unpacking process. I still need to do some rearranging of my magic supplies and, at most, that should take less than an hour. We took a break at 10:00 and devoured some of the goodies we had picked up at the market. When I headed for bed at 10:30, Susan was in the living room engrossed in a book that she wanted to finish. We did manage to catch up with Rachel via FaceTime and, although she was in the midst of a meeting, she broke away to chat with us. It was good to both see and hear her.
It is Friday morning now and I woke up at 7:30. It is two hours later and Susan is still asleep. That is good because she slept fitfully Wednesday night. There are no big plans for today. We need to get Susan a mouse for her computer and while we are at FNAC we will probably look at TV sets. The one in the apartment is rather ancient and unusable with the Apple TV box that we brought with us. It is also something that we will use in our next place here so it is not just a frivolous purchase.
That’s the latest word from here. Welcome back to the blog. We will have some picture to post in the near future, but we will have to take them first.