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Ayer no tenemos clase porque era la Dia de la Comunidad Valenciana. Yesterday we didn't have class because it was the Day of Valencia festival. You can read about it in Spanish here or translated into English here on wikipedia. The main attraction of the holiday is the Mercado Medieval (Medieval Market... sort of like a Renaissance festival). Starting in the city center and moving back towards the hill and the Castillo de Sagunto, the streets were lined with booths and tables. People sold anything and everything you can think of from cheese to candles to giant deserts to wood carvings to candy to homemade soap to giant chunks of carne (meat). 


Since we didn't have class, most of us enjoyed a lazy morning of skyping and studying for the test we had today. I met up with Justin, Shannon, Rachel and Ryan at lunch and we decided to go to the beach and then the market with Eloise, Hannah, and Josh. Yesterday was very warm so the cool Mediterranean felt great, although our shrieks as we entered the water implied otherwise. We stayed at the beach for a while, enjoying gelato and stopping in the Chino store for a few minutes. Chino stores are everywhere here in Spain. They are one of the cheapest places to buy nicknacks that you need but that don't demand high quality. They are basically a European version of dollar stores, and almost all of them are run by chinese families. Anyway, they are the perfect place to buy random items, just like Deals or Dollar Tree.

We caught the six o'clock bus to Sagunto so we could enjoy the festival. For those of you who don't know, here's a geography lesson about this area. There are two parts of town: Sagunto, right below the school, and Puerto de Sagunto, a somewhat separate town on the ocean. They are just far enough away that walking is NOT a good option as we found out my first day here. Carrefour, the Spanish version of Walmart, is right between the two towns. So it's not a good plan to walk there from the school or the beach. Anyway, we took the bus, which is less than 3€ roundtrip and saves your feet in the long run.

We got to the festival just a bit before dusk and were greeted by bustling streets, pony rides, and the smell of meat cooking. The town center had various food booths, but my favorite was a giant table of carbs and chocolate. I got a huge bread thing that looked like a doughnut that was bigger than my face. They also had a pizza booth and huge amounts of cooking meat. Also in the center was a stage set up for later shows and games for children, a tiny rickety-looking ferris wheel, pony rides, and a boat ride that swung while a man dressed in medieval clothing literally pushed it back and forth. 

We got some food and then dove into the crowds that pushed back to the small, winding streets of Sagunto. Booths lined the already narrow roads and people pushed in from every direction. We tried to stay together in a line but we had to stop every 30 feet or so to let everyone catch up. 

I had two favorite booths of the entire night. The first was strictly for looking since the contents where much to caro for my budget. It was a little stall full of lamps with all different colors of glass. The had candles burning in them and the colors were so pretty. I took plenty of pictures but I'll only share a few. As we meandered up the streets, climbing higher towards the base of the castillo, we passed a Moroccan mint (tea) booth. I have a slight obsession with Morrocco since I watched Expedition Impossible a few summers ago, and I love love love mint tea. I saw that the sign advertised only 2 € and you got to keep the little moroccan tea cup! Moroccan tea cups are nothing like regular tea cups, they are more like tiny juice glasses with colored glass and gold paint. We decided that on our way down we'd check out the tea stand.

After pushing our way to the end of one street, we decided that it was getting late and our tarea (homework) was beaconing us back to ESDES. We managed to find the tea stand again and I bought a small cup. I let everyone try it and it was a hit since all the friends I was with decided to buy their own! That was my second favorite booth in the market. They also had lots of tiny and tasty-looking pastries, but it was late and we were tired, so we decided to head out.

After such a fun day, it was hard to come back and finish studying for my test. We took it this morning and it went OK, but not as well as I would have liked. Tomorrow I start teaching first graders English (one hour a week) so I'm sure I'll have stories to tell!

¡Hasta luego!

Sheri Seibold
10/10/2012 02:08:29 pm

My favorites are the colorful candy and candle booths, and I love the beautiful lamps as well. You know me though, I'm a candy girl at heart.

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grandma
10/10/2012 03:17:42 pm

This looks like a lot of fun, Shelby. So colorful! They have a festival for just about everything, don't they? Sounds like you had a great day, and even you test today sounded good.

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grandma
10/10/2012 03:21:33 pm

Oh! I like the picture of Justin and his Medieval friend too.

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10/10/2012 05:43:32 pm

I'm so jealous of that Moroccan tea and cups!!!

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Meg
10/10/2012 09:52:16 pm

Ditto what your grandma said....so colorful! I love it!! The candy booth looks AMAZING and I love love the lanterns!! Those little tea glasses are so cool, they remind me of mercury glass! I am missing you heaps and heaps and wishing I could magically pop you back to KS for the wedding...... but.....sadly, I cannot. I am excited to hear about the adventure you will be going on while I am on my own adventure down to my new Florida home :) ahhhh! Love you I hope you have a great rest of the week and good luck with your little first graders tomorrow!!

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Auntie Judy
10/11/2012 10:34:55 pm

I LOVE all the colors of Spain...but disappointed to hear that the donut was a BIG FAKE. I think it would be fun to hear more about all your new friends and where they are from, etc. You are such a cute group. How much did those beautiful lamps cost? Ohhhhhh....they make me drool. We are missing you lots this wkend!

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People sold anything and everything you can think of from cheese to candles to giant deserts to wood carvings to candy to homemade soap to giant chunks of carne (meat).

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