After three trips to the supermarkert and one to a Dollar General type store, we are finally settled into the one bedroom apartment here in Valladolid. Where we will be for the next month. Several people have asked us what our sightseeing agenda is while here. The fact is... there is no agenda. We are just living in Spain for a month. After having done the tour group thing in several Europe countries, we wanted to relax and immerse ourselves in the daily life of the people of central Spain.
We are not on the southern Spanish coast with it's whitewashed houses, bright sun, deep blue Mediterranean, all awash with tourists and high prices. We are in the northern central plains of Spain,
the affordable wine country.
Last night we dined at a small (eight table) highly rated restaurant. By arriving as they opened at 8:30 without a reservation, we were given one of the last unreserved tables for two. Food and service were excellent. Amparo's tempura salad with Rueda wine, my meat dish with cold beer and a chocolate desert set us back a total of US$34. Would be double if not more than that if a tourist destination restaurant.
Right now we are trying to adjust to the daily routine of when shops are open and when they are closed. Many if not all businesses close mid-day or 1 p.m. and reopen around 4 or 5 pm, staying open until 8 or 9. Many restaurant are open for lunch then close around 2 before reopening around 8 - 8:30 p.m. The supermarket and street cafes that serve coffee and drinks, but no food, are open all day.
Sound confusing? It is for us. There is no set time for all businesses to open and close.
Their hours depends on what type of business they are. Even then, they all don't have the same hours...
That said, if you want to have a relaxed conversation with a waitress at a nice restaurant, arrive before 8:30 p.m., before the first wave of locals arrive around 9:10 p.m. After nine, she will be too busy taking drink orders, serving food, etc. leaving no time to visit. If you do not have reservations for evening dining, keep walking until you find a lesser know place. Who would have thought you need to make a reservation to eat pizza on a Saturday night!
It's not them, it's us.
We're the unknowing foreigners trying to adapt.
The following photos were taken over several days. Just showing you what the section of the city where we are staying looks like. Most days were overcast. But the sun would peek out for a bit now and then
offering lighting contrast for photo work.
Monday I went looking for a dry cleaners to drop off a few items.
Having a city map in the back pocket was no guarantee... so I wander.
Found a nice modern looking fountain on a colorful deadend plaza.
Near the dry cleaners is the renovated city Mercado del Val (public marketplace).
I wanted to go inside but it was closed for mid-day siesta.
Rather than just an open square marketplace as found in most Latin American cities, several century's back the King built a covered structure so farmers and craftsmen could be out of the weather to sell their meats and produce. It offers year-round weather protection, better sanitation, and keeps the roving livestock out.
When I return to pick up my garments in a few days, will try to get in.
Finally located the dry cleaners by asking a shopkeeper.
Discovered they had moved one street over from the address Google gave me. Never would have found it if I had not asked the lady... how do you say dry cleaners in hand language?
Street signs are found everywhere here making it easy if you walk slowly, though I can still get turned around. Which is fine, as I am discovering interesting little side streets and plazas.
Don't have to be anywhere today, just keep walking until a recognizable landmark appears.
Once I thought I was lost, turned a corner and there is the GADIZ supermarket I had gone to several times already. Had just never approached it from the opposite direction.
Am finding many large and small fountain plazas scattered around the city. This particular fountain fronts the Museo de la Academia de Caballeria, or Calvery Academy Museum, which was the Royal horse and rider training facility in its day.
In my mind, I can hear Dad saying "That's quite the horse barn"!
Dad grew up on a farm with horses.
Interesting small fountain with statues and a spinning golden globe.
Behind it is a manta ray looking transit shelter. The city buses here are either hybrid and electric.
All very clean, no ugly graffiti and very quiet. One must look BOTH ways before crossing a street.
Might be a chain business as have seen several of these El Norte de Castilla newsstands.
This region of Spain is also known as Castilla y León.
The Spanish middle class are very fashion conscience, rarely going out unless dressed in the latest trend.
In a few days everyone will be wearing heavy jackets and coats as the temperature is forecast to drop.
Finally the sun came out, for a short time. I was able to quickly catch a high contrast image.
A museum courtyard catches some warm morning rays.
Business is slow today for this cafe, yet it is near a palace,
a museum, a police station, a school,
and a historic cathedral.
As I wandered down a narrow side street, the sun popped out creating a nice warm contrast
on the stucco walls. To give it some scale, included this man doing chores.
Valladolid is a very clean city. We find all of Spain to be very clean.
Actually I knew this alleyway from last year.
It can have great light, has a nice curve to it, the warm stucco walls bounce a soft light.
It's rich simplicity works offers great photo opportunities.
Other nearby streets are short, straight, narrow, but colorful.
Being such, it's the subject matter in the frame that makes for an interesting photo.
Other than the stone pavement, these two photos
don't even look like they are from the same city on the same day.
It all has to do with sunlight, time of day, and wandering.
This is the first street musician I have seen in Valladolid.
He gets an "A" for effort "learning" the saxophone. The sign in front of him says Spanish dance music. Not sure what kind of dancing he was referring to as the tune he was dragging out note by note was so slow it sounded like a New Orleans funeral dirge. Or maybe that was his intent?
Nevertheless, felt sorry for him so dropped a few extra coins in the case.
(Why only coins you ask?)
The smallest paper currency demonination here is five euros (That's US$5.30).
Euro coins are €2, €1, 50¢, 20¢, 10¢, 5¢, and 1¢.
Will try to find him again to strike up a conversation.