Valencia 2018, Day 4 (Tabitha's fifth birthday)

Today is Tabitha's birthday. Kid doesn't ask for a lot. I mean, compared to what she gets, she asks for a lot, but compared to what I asked for as a kid she's pretty contented.

She's not really allowed much junk food, so for breakfast she was elated when I bought her this pain au chocolat thing with chocolate sprinkles that she thought looked like mechanical pencil leads. A lady outside the market was giving me disapproving looks for her meal, as she presented her kid with a fruit juice. I subtly tried to draw her attention to the birthday badges. Parenting can be a bit of a minefield.

We then took the bus (unnecessary - everything in Valencia is so close together) to the Bioparc (zoo) and spent a few hours walking around there. She was taken with the lemurs, flamingos and meerkats (who with a soul doesn't love meerkats?!).

Something quite special about this zoo is the midday show where they've trained a load of the animals to do a bit of a performance. I feel like, as an animal lover, I'm supposed to hate this sort of thing, and I don't really love it since these animals are essentially slaves. But left in the wild they're hunted to extinction so it's hard to choose a good side in the real world. Whichever way you slice it, these animals are obviously well-looked-after and as happy as you could expect to participate, and all the kids got a real kick out of vultures flying overhead and porcupines running about the place.

After the zoo, we walked back along the ex-river to The Vurger for a super nice vegan burger (Tabitha chose a hotdog, for some unknown reason) before walking back to the airbnb for some ice cream and board games before bed.

And, just like that, I have a five-year-old. Where on earth does the time go? I remember when our friends James and Hannah's daughter turned five, feeling like that was forever away. Some days I feel like I'm going to wake up and there'll be a five-year-old grandchild running about the place. Note to self: don't waste your life.

I had a bit of a problem with my credit card at the restaurant, which really tested the (already fairly narrow) limits of my Spanish, but I felt super proud to be able to sort it out and make a plan with the server if my card got charged a bunch of times. The Spanish speakers I know are going to be sick of me when I get back. I always want to be speaking Spanish now!

Valencia 2018, Day 3

Today we walked to the beach. It was a pretty long way, in retrospect. Walked about 20km all-around. We've had surprisingly good weather, which isn't super great for my all-but-transparent skin!

The beach was good - sand beaches in the UK are a drag because it's wet and sand sticks to everything. Dry sand is great!

We stood and watched the surfers for a bit. I like surfing. That's the first time I've ever watched it for more than 10 minutes. Looks fun, I can see why people are obsessed with it.

Siesta is a bit annoying. we're always looking for lunch when everyone's asleep. I'll get used to it the day before we leave, I'm sure.

I don't love most of these photos but it was a nice day. I'm gathering some of the video from the week to edit into a single video. Not sure how that'll work but we can try can't we.

Some of the traffic lights have these people wearing dresses. There's lots of cool progressive stuff about this city - disabled access all along the beach, cycle paths and bins everywhere. I don't know what it is about the UK that we'd rather have litter everywhere than bins because, I suppose, bins are ugly. But they're not as ugly as rubbish everywhere.

Valencia 2018, Day 2

Woke up to a very nice golden hour, then moved to an airbnb. The host left us some delicious supplies from the local market. We then had a mooch around said market and spent lots of time saying things like "oooh, aren't these peppers big?" (the peppers were big though, for real).

After our mooch, we mooched on to the Apple Store to try and get a temporary keyboard since mine's busted, but then Charlotte remembered that they have a different layout to us, so I can either get used to right Command being space for a while, or ñ being in the way. I opted for the former.

We ventured further and ended up back in the river looking at trees and listening to the birds and almost getting mown down by joggers. It's all just very nice and relaxed and not home.

I am also enjoying my book. You should read this book, and listen if Geoff Owen recommends you a book.

I was hoping to go home having done lots of good practice at Spanish, but it's difficult to keep at it. Every time I manage to do something, I end up getting myself stuck in a conversation that's way above my head, then fall back to a load of fumbling and embarrassment. Classic Brit abroad, I suppose

Valencia 2018, Day 1

We have gone to Valencia. It is nice. There's orange trees. We don't have orange trees in England. My bloody laptop broke. There's also these really nice little birds and they're super noisy. Everyone knows I'm English immediately, even in spite of my flawless Spanish. I don't get it. I can see Dominos from the hotel. It's good here.

Walking Around Brighton Marina

We went for a walk around the marina, and I Iiked the light and weird fishing paraphernalia so I made a little video. Heavily edited to get it under a minute, but I think any longer than that and you really start to notice the lack of narrative.