Valencia, Take #4
The two men ahead of me are hesitant. Even after lifting the lid on the cool, delicious concoction, they slowly shake their heads and turn away. I am at a horchata stand in Valencia’s Plaça de l’Ajuntament and the vendor is giving me a stupefied look. “They don’t know what they are missing out on… people think it’s milk, but horchata is so much more than that!”
I am quick to agree, stopping just one step short of announcing my love for the drink and the city which it has come to represent. I don’t know how it happens but Valencia is one of those places where I often feel like a local – even if it’s blatantly obvious that I am from the far side of earth, or more accurately 1/37 of the way to the Moon.
But I digress. Every time I return here I end up discovering something new. Within the eastern part of the old city I stumble across the Plaza San Vicente Ferrer, a square that few visitors go to because it’s not marked on the maps supplied by El Corte Inglés (Spain’s ultimate department store). And somewhere in the maze of central streets my friends take me to the Zumería, the ideal place for a catch-up over great big copas of luscious alcoholic smoothies.
It sounds pretentious right? Well, let me tell you that Valencia is anything but… even if the exuberant mayor loves her opera houses and expensive lampposts.