Last week, when posting about the joys of solitude, my header photo came from the afternoon and evening I spent in my own company in ‘l’Albufera, near Valencia. I think of it still as one of the most serene and contented days of my life.
It’s five years since I went in November to spend a fortnight in Valencia to do an intensive Spanish course. All morning I studied at the language school with a motley bunch of fellow students from Saudi Arabia, Germany, Ireland … anywhere but England, apparently. The afternoon was mine to explore Valencia’s city streets, its museums and parks, its churches, its markets. And in the evening I returned to lodge with a Spanish woman who spoke even less English than I did Spanish (I’d gone as a total beginner). So it was a wonderful but intense experience, with my senses always on alert to learn, discover and understand.
I’d heard about the l’Albufera wetlands just outside the city as a natural park to relax and enjoy a stroll among its paths and waterways, wildlife-spotting, and thought this would be just the thing for my last afternoon. I caught one of the infrequent buses, and was on my way.
It really is only just beyond the city boundaries, and very near a rather unlovely social housing development, as you can see here:
But start walking, and you can enjoy paths through Mediterranean coastal forest, probably not meeting another soul.
For the rest, I’ll let my photos do the talking. Several hours of walking, observing, mooching. Sometimes, like Winnie the Pooh, I sat and thought: and sometimes I just sat. As the skies suggested that evening was on its way, I joined a small queue at the waterside of El Perellonet, waiting for a boat trip. And about five of us sat ourselves in a simple boat, which for over an hour puttered about the wetland lakes, inching its way through tall reeds, disturbing herons and other water birds, as the sun slowly started to set. Though we spoke little to each other, it was a companionable, shared occasion which has rarely been bettered in my life. Just once, two years later, I shared the same experience in almost the same way with my husband and the magic was repeated.
For Tina’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #239
PS to WordPress bloggers: though if you’re affected you may not see this. WordPress for smartphones has now migrated to Jetpack. It’s hard to imagine that this was a glitch-free event. That’s the only reason I can think of for my post on Wednesday getting hardly any sightings, with almost all the usual suspects who are kind enough to ‘like’ and/or comment being conspicuous by their absence. Has anyone else had this experience?
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