Our apartment in Valencia is situated in a really artsy, wonderfully located neighborhood called "El Carme." It is in the old part of the city and is within easy walking distance to many of the places that we want and need - restaurants, cafes, parks, sites and trains. Our landlord, Anthony, is a New Yorker and has been a tremendous help to us as we work to acclimate to Valencia. He has given us recommendations of nearby areas to explore for our more longterm accommodations, and he offered to go to the local bank with us tomorrow to open a bank account (which he insists is very easy to do here).
Just 3 blocks from our apartment is Mercado Central - the Central Market. The market is unlike anything we have ever seen! Housed in what looks like an old train station are dozens of seafood vendors, fruit markets, cheese and wine counters and butchers (mostly selling ham). As I was still recovering from the food poisoning episode, we hurried through the pungent seafood section and found the meat and produce area. Bill was in heaven!
Serrano ham originates from this area of Spain and the Spainards' affection for 'all things pork' is obvious. Jamon (ham) is a staple on every single menu that we've read - whether it is for breakfast, lunch or dinner. At the Mercado, every part of the pig was for sale, in one form or another. The kids were intrigued (and a little grossed out) by the seemingly ordinary display of various pig parts. I still don't think they believe us that people really eat pig feet (manitas cerdo) or pig heads!
After taking quite a bit of time just walking around an looking at the various offerings at the Mercado, we finally settled on a combination of items to make a light dinner at home. As usual, Bill did a marvelous job putting together a dinner that was healthy, delicious and beautiful. The supplies in our small rental kitchen are a bit scarce, so he made the best of it and prepared a feast that we were all happy with. If he keeps this up, I may just have to marry him!