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Thanks for following along on my travel day(s) and allowing for loads of pictures and fewer words on Friday. It was fun bringing you along during my travels.

First things first, I am not as young as I used to be. Gone are the days when I would drive 24 hours round trip over a 3 day weekend to visit a friend; I am older and have more insurance. I can say with 100% certainty I will not be doing this thirty hours travel time from door-to-door again, no matter how good a deal it is.

I walked into the apartment at about 2:30p local on Saturday, which is about 8:30a in Atlanta. I am staying in what is known as a comfort apartment, arranged through the school. I have a lovely roommate that is 29 and from Boston. She has been here for a while and was kind enough to let me pick her brain at breakfast on Sunday. When at the apartment, we both spend the majority of time in our rooms, headphones on, and being courteous though not intrusive.

The apartment is right off the #5 metro line in Ayora, an older part of town, not where Chris and I are looking to live. Immediately outside of the metro station is Ayora Palace which sits inside the Ayora park grounds. There are always children playing and people with their dogs in the dog park. I don't find Ayora to be terribly pretty, as a matter of fact, it is exactly what you should expect from the 1960s-70s Francisco Franco building frenzy in Valencia. Having said that, it is safe and convenient.

Since arriving, I've been to the grocery 3 times, and have been surprised by what is pre-made and available for vegans. Not only are the fruits and veggies abundant, but I have found some really creative soups: chickpea/sweet potato/squash, cream of artichoke, vichyssoise, and cream of asparagus. The last 3 are all made with soy and, with a little added pepper and garlic powder, have been delicious.

I also found a vegan version of a Spanish tortilla. Tortilla is often served on a baguette with caramelized onions and a few other veggies. These sandwiches, known as bocadillo, are everywhere and tonight I took the store-bought vegan tortilla and made my own. It was delicious, and easy to understand why they are so popular with the locals.

Classes began today, and I'm old enough to be everyone's madre. There are 6 of us in my class, and the 5 other students are all from China, the youngest being 18 and the oldest is likely 23ish. These students have been in Valencia for 4 months studying, so it was reaffirming that my once a week hourly lessons had brought me so far.

I am off to do my homework and get a bit of sleep.

Until tomorrow...buenas noches.

Top of Ayora Palace tower as seen above the palm trees from my street.


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