After my husband raved about the awesome time I missed in Mallorca, I was determined to get my sickly behind off the ship at our next port of call, no matter what. Fortunately, I was feeling better by the next day and we had the day to wander around Valencia since our tour was cancelled.

We took a shuttle bus from the ship’s terminal to a central point in the city center and wandered around. I was not feeling 100% still, and the city’s crowds wore on my patience. Unemployment in Spain is pretty high, from my understanding. This was the first city we went to where I saw panhandling. It was essentially the same story as in the States, cardboard signs, open guitar cases, pitiful expressions and all that.

We wandered through the city, long narrow streets opening up to what seemed to be secret squares and circles. Shops had all manner of gorgeous wares all laid out. I noticed a fair amount of fabric shops and wondered if they might be known for a particular type of fabric or lace. It would have been nice to have a tour guide for questions like that.

We got ourselves good and lost, trying to use the tour bus company’s map to navigate a city we’d never been to. The two things I wanted to see, we never did find, but I was only mildly interested. The only other thing I wanted to do in Spain was try paella. We’d seen many restaurants offering it, so we settled on one that had a mix and match lunch menu.

We were seated in a nice outdoor cafe, with a pretty blue flower on the menu, and the waitress who couldn’t have been nicer. We ordered a three course meal each, and a beer and watched the world go by. The first course for me was pasta with tomato sauce, which was very nice. My husband’s was a mixture of grilled vegetables, which he enjoyed as well. My paella was the seafood mixture and very, very heavy on the fish component. It was so overwhelming, that my recovering palate could barely handle it. My husband’s was the chicken and vegetable paella, which he devoured. I had a chocolate cake for dessert and he had ice cream. It was all quite lovely.

Unfortunately, the cafe next to us was being invaded by the worst kind of tourist trash. They spoke French, but were wearing Canadian flags, so I can only assume they were Quebecois. Only one person from their entire party which grew to over a dozen actually bought anything from the cafe where they set up their rude encampment. Soon, they overtook all the tables in front of that cafe and were invading the ones from our cafe. These tables  were more well attended by the smart waitress who kept trying to take their orders, so they were eventually shooed off. Before they left, they deposited garbage from at least two other restaurants, including the local McDonalds.

Not long after they left, we finished our meal and headed back to the ship for the last night at sea. The evening’s dinner was a huge production, with offerings from all the ports we’d visited. At the end, the servers had something called the March of the Baked Alaska, which involved a waving of napkins by all the patrons and some kind of song which we didn’t know any of the words to. It was quite enjoyable, though, and definitely a nice sendoff.

We went back to our stateroom full and ready for the long journey home. We packed up all of our stuff, leaving out only the essentials for the trip home. Our departure came very early, and we needed to be up and ready to go by 4:00 a.m. I couldn’t wait to get home, since we’d been away from the baby for so long and I missed him terribly.