I've been doing some more research on Valencia, because Rach and I didn't really know too much about it when we chose it. Our decision to go to Valencia came about as follows:
A-Town: Ryanair doesn't fly Pisa to Madrid!
Rachel: Crap! Where does it go?
A-Town: It flies to Valencia... that sounds promising...
Rachel: You know what - screw Madrid! It had it coming! ... So, where's Valencia?
Valencia is happily just down the coast from Barcelona, which should make for a nice, relatively easy train ride when we head north. It sounds like a really great place, actually. Something sort of quiet after a whirlwind few days in Firenze. Wanna know some factoids about V-Town, as well as some subjective truthitudes? Valencia has the largest aquarium in Europe (which I'm kind of geeking out about because I strode to be a mammal marine biologist... when I was 9.) It's supposedly a great city for young artists and still has a certain "old world charm." It's also fiscally responsible: nice hostel lodging for four days for both Rachel and myself came out to be just a smidgen over $300, and I hear that most tapas run around $4.
Cheap sardines? Why not?
Valencia is on the list of "Second-Tier Cities" from the NY Times, which also includes Italy's prodigal son, Napoli. They're cities that one wouldn't necessarily think of when someone asks "where do you want to go in Europe?" - but fine, up-and-coming, bring-home-to-Mom type places nonetheless.
Sounds nice, huh? I just hope I can pick up some Spanish before this trip, and not confuse it with my limited Italian in the process. I watched Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations: Paris" after some nudging by Rob (I find Bourdain obnoxious - and not in an endearing Dr. House sort of way...) Well, I now find Bourdain tolerable, but also, I miss.... European-ness. More than ever. I really miss the French language. It was my second language - I took seven years of it, giving up after freshman year of college because I dealt with a bitter WASP of a professor who wished he was French so badly that he took out his misery on my grammar skills. I never had a chance to speak it with someone who wasn't an educator, and when you're abroad there's something thrilling about asking for directions or even buying stamps in another language. I simply enjoy hearing French, and speaking it can be a pleasure when it's a casual situation. It's not as warm and vivacious as Italian, or cool as Spanish, but its filled with subtleties and swirling tones. The end of their words get pulled up by invisible strings and tumble down and up, and then get crammed together like cars in traffic, only to free up unexpectedly. An interesting language.
As for today being Super Tuesday, I'm not registered as a Democrat, so I'm not voting in the primary. But, I of course look forward to see who will nail this... or gently cradle this like a photo-op baby. (But how cute is that Obama/baby picture??) I have reservations about both Democratic candidates, but I won't voice my concerns till the dust settles - once they're in-line for the nomination, they're a little more secure. And I'll say this about the Republicans: John McCain looks like he couldn't handle the stress created by climbing a flight of stairs and his eagerness to appease the right concerns me immensely; Mitt Romney? Well, he reminds me of the evil billionaire from the classically MST3K'd movie Timechasers.
So what if I'm a nerd - he's evil.