Saturday, December 3, 2011
It is a cold and gray morning here in Valencia. Susan is about to head out with Zahava in search of a pair of boots and, as soon as I finish this entry, I will head to the gym for a bit of cardio. This evening we will go to a guitar concert sponsored by Los Amigos de la Guitarra.
Yesterday I went to the gym a little before noon. Susan was meeting Zahava for lunch at 1:30 and I would not be back home until much later than that. At the gym I did my new routine, which I supplemented with some of the exercises I have learned at the Dynamic Advantage. I warmed up with ten minutes of cardio and I finished my exercise routine with another ten minutes of cardio. Neo Gym was a good choice for me and I know that I will take maximum advantage of my membership there.
When I finished at Neo Gym I went in search of Carrefour, a superstore much like the Super Targets that we have in California. The one I discovered on the Avenida Manuel de Falla occupies a full city block and carries just about everything one might need. I was in search of some led candles that we had seen at Brian’s house when we had dinner with him last week. We had seen something similar in one of the display windows on the Gran Vía, but the asking price for the five candles was over $100. The candles that Brian has purchased were 10 Euros and the box held three candles. The difference was that the $100 candles use rechargeable batteries and the 10 Euro version uses AAA batteries.
I found the candles and also found a pair of headphones that were perfect for my iTouch. Speaking of Apple products, the Apple Store in Valencia opens today and they are giving away a free T-shirt to the first 1,000 customers. The store occupies all three stories of a newly renovated building on Calle Colón. It will be a good place to stay away from for the next few days since it will be a zoo. Also, I do not need anything, but I would love to take a look around. Up until now, if you wanted to buy an Apple product other than a phone you had to go to either FNAC or El Corte Inglés. The iPhone is available at all the major carriers here in Spain. I imagine that the department store will phase out their sale of Apple products now that the mother ship has landed.
As I left Carrefourit was starting to rain and since I was a good twenty-five minute walk from home I decided to hop a cab. I set up the candles as my first order of business and I then picked at some ham and cheese and called it lunch. While I ate I continued reading Riña de gatos, the new Eduardo Mendoza novel. I am halfway through it and I am finding it to be an interesting read. It is set during the Spanish Civil War and involves an Englishman who is an expert in Velázquez. He has been invited to Madrid to evaluate a painting and, in the process, discovers an unknown Velázquez canvas. The family who owns it has two daughter and Paquita, the older daughter, is being courted by José Primo de Rivera, one of the leaders of the Spanish Falangist movement. The Englishman has fallen for her and the intertwining of the two main plots is very well done.
Susan returned home a bit after 4:00 having had lunch at a restaurant called El Refugio, which is located on Calle Alta in the Carmen. She took some pictures of their main course and dessert and I will share those photos with you. We read for most of the afternoon and a little after 6:00 we changed clothes because we were going to the symphony. This evening’s conductor was Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos and there was a world premiere piece that was part of the program. Because it was raining we decided that a cab was in order.
The Spaniards have devised a clever system to deal with the hundreds of wet umbrellas that will enter the concert hall. They provide you with a plastic bag in which you store your umbrella so that it does not drip all over you and all over the rug. Since we were early we stopped at the bar and had a glass of champagne and then we headed up to our seats. Once again we were in the first balcony, but we had moved up a row. The seats were perfect. We noticed the presence of TV cameras that were most probably taping the concert for later viewing.
The first piece of the evening was Schumann’s Symphony Number 3, Renana. There was an intermission after the first piece of the evening was played. During that break the seats on stage were rearranged to accommodate the two soloists for the world premiere presentation of a piece entitled Fulgores, composed by Lorenzo Palomo. The two soloists for the evening were Alexandre Da Costa on violin and Pablo Sáinz Villegas on guitar. The piece was Stravinskyesque that alternated soft romantic-like passages with bombastic orchestral settings. Susan enjoyed the piece more than I did since I am more a friend of the traditional style of classical music. The third piece of the evening was Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe 2nd Suite. We had heard the LA Phil play the exact same piece last month at the Disney Concert Hall. The Dudamel conducted piece sounded much brighter than this version, but I found this treatment to be very pleasing, also.
We were lucky to find a cab as soon as we exited the building. He dropped us off at the corner of Borrull and Gran Vía and we decided that a pizza was in order. La Fórcola was full with only one empty table by the door. It was reserved for 11:00, but since we only wanted a pizza and a beer Antón was happy to let us have it. The pizza, as usual, was delicious. When we finished we made our way home and caught up with Rachel via Skype. As soon as we hung up we got ready for bed and called it a day.