March 22, 2020

Valencia Spain skyline at dusk..buildings in town center

** This post was originally intended to be a blog, but l ended up posting it to our Facebook page. A few people wrote me privately asking me to put it here as it might provide a few minutes of reading material as well as it being a historical log of sorts,  so here it is. Apologies if you’ve already read it on Facebook. We  hope everyone is weathering the storm well. Here is a day during lockdown in Spain.

A day During The Valencia Spain Lockdown:

Valencia crowds in the ayutamiento - a day during the Valencia Spain lockdown

This was Valencia not too long ago. Now, it’s a ghost town much like every other place in different countries.

We are on day 6 l think (the days sort of roll together, one of the side effects of this quarantine). Here is what we have been doing to keep ourselves occupied during the lockdown. This is yesterday.

We got up at 8am. I am usually up before this because our bigger dog whines a lot. He wants to be walked earlier and earlier and does this annoying whine that makes me want to throw a show at him, but instead l lean down and rub his belly for about 15 minutes and we finally rise up and change clothes.

beagle asleep on couch

Here is the ball buster doing what he does best! :-)

Fede walks the bigger one Sky, while l walk the little one, Bella. We can’t walk them together by decree, which is just as well. Bella has a variety of maladies and hates to walk. In these days, when just about the only excuse to be out is to walk a dog ( people are actually renting their dogs!), I insist on taking her out even though she has already done her business in their assigned back balcony. My bribe is a dog treat that l show, but don’t give her. I manage a ten minute walk before she absolutely gives up.

The streets are empty, save for a few people going to work. The bakery downstairs has a few customers. Of course all are observing the one meter between people rule. I wonder where all the other dog owners that l used to see on the walks are? I can only imagine maybe they walk earlier or later than l do since most people don’t have to go to work. The bus passing has just a lone rider with a mask on. So different from the usual.

I come back and make coffee. I contemplate going to the bakery for fresh croissants but don’t really want to wait in line, so opt for oatmeal for me (good for my cholesterol anyway) and l butter some dried biscotti for him. We eat when he gets back from his long walk. After breakfast, we lingered a bit at the dining table talking about people and the crazy ways they are coping. When the football season might start up again and other crap. I check my emails on the laptop and reply to to some. I also check the website and answer comments if there are any. Traffic is way down as people are not interested in travel at this time. Bigger worries.

Feta biscotata

Super dry toast… I used to hate them, but now, we have it a lot for breakfast, plus most places in Spain use them for tapas because they don’t get soggy. The whole bag cost just over one euro.

I’m on Facebook a lot, even more than l used to be. I absolutely feel no shame about spending time on here :-). I like to read about what everyone is up to, check out silly dog video and leave sarcastic comments. So many people are coming up with creative ways to keep themselves occupied while on lockdown. I rummage through my photos to find images from cities that begin with “C”. Someone in our travel group came up with the idea to post pictures of past visits using the alphabet.  I posted pictures from Cairo.

pyramid in Cairo with horse going towards it

My submission for Cairo on our FB game of travel adventures.

I find a Youtube Zumba class and proceed to dance my butt off for 56 minutes. I liked one of the songs and stopped to Shazam it. My dogs totally ignore me, one turning her back on me and l posted it on my FB timeline a little later. I think how lucky we are that we have strong WiFi. Had we been stuck in Italy at the last AirBnB which had crappy wifi, I would have either died of boredom or run up a huge bill using our data.

The TV had nothing but virus news, every freaking channel. My only saving grace was the two episodes back to back in the morning of “Dukes of Hazzard” which were thankfully in English. I loved that show. After Zumba, I take long, hot shower. I love the tankless water heater as it allows me to take long, long, long, showers. I know l should worry about water conservation, but f**k that! One luxury l can still enjoy.

small beagle mix dog with back turned

My dog turned her back to me. I guess she did not approve of my moves :-).

It’s now a little past noon. I get on the desktop and research Audible from Amazon. I would like to read some really long novels, but l wouldn’t mind listening to them either and l’m curious as to the cost and if available in Spain. I find out that yep! it is available. Excited for a while till l stumble on the fact that Amazon U.S will not work here and vice versa. They have a gazillion audible books in English and shite on the Spanish site. I’m not paying 15 euros a month for nothing. I am crushed and trying to think of a work around. VPN? Will have to research that more. In the meantime, I download a free app where you can listen to classics. I’ll give that a try tomorrow. *Update: I was able to join thanks to a lady who wrote, but l have since decided that l prefer to read my books, not have it read to me. I am not enjoying listening to the book at all.

Since our Spanish classes at the local university as well as my Tuesday Spanish chat classes have been cancelled until further notice, I only have my listening and learning videos on Youtube. Today, I check out whynotspanish .  It’s a cute one today, from the perspective of her cute dog. I also do a Queremos one. I pick up about three new words and knew lladrar (bark) before she said it! Yeah!!! That l remembered from the last Tuesday chat. One of Julie’s words as we played “Simon dice”.

Lunch time is soon here. Fede has been busy in the kitchen. Today, he made lasagna, so that’s for lunch. It was amazing as usual. We finish half, and save the other half for lunch tomorrow. I do something l rarely do at home, which is have a glass of wine with lunch. A lot of people think we are big wine drinkers which l find funny. We usually only drink when we have company over or when we go out. One bottle of wine at home will last us about four days, maybe more and we often throw the rest out. Once in a while, we will buy a bottle of beer if we have pizza or wings for dinner. Fresh milk is what we both love most. When this started, we bought one bottle of wine and eight bottles of fresh milk. I have it with oatmeal, coffee, and just for the heck of it and also at bedtime. I hated milk in the U.S and it gave me so many stomach problems. Not here!

lasagna fresh out of the oven - a day during the Valencia Spain lockdown

It was delicious. Nice to be in lockdown with a cook!

After washing the dishes (I am the dishwasher. He cooks, l clean), I sit down to watch television. First l go on Youtube and search for any new episodes of House Hunters International and l’m disappointed. No new ones :-(. Netflix it is then. I settle in for a few episodes of “La Reina del Sur” – a Spanish soap opera. I watched the last few episodes of season 2. Good soap, and it has definitely helped me improve my listening skills, not to mention some swear words. I fall asleep for about 20 minutes, thanks to the wine. I never sleep in the afternoon otherwise unless l’m ill. 

Some friends are having a Zoom meet up and l contemplated joining for a second. Truth is l am really useless at working Skype, Google hangouts, etc.etc. I don’t have any interest in learning either. I only started using Whatsapp for real lately and rarely use my phone except for Scrabble and Words with friends. I keep watching TV. Now l started some show called “Travellers” on Netflix. Kind of okay, but l have a feeling l know where this is going. I turn off the TV after a while to rest my eyes. Silence is good and l play with the dogs as they have shifted from the couch.

Fede made onion rings and wings for dinner. I realise it’s 8pm when l hear the clapping. Every night, the people in Spain go out on their balconies, or lean out the window and clap in appreciation of the working staff during this crisis. Medical personnel, grocery workers, etc., everyone on the front lines. We go out and join them. Our next door neighbour is a budding singer. He plays the guitar also and we can usually hear him practising. I think we have birthed a monster. We told him how good last time we saw him in the elevator. He has definitely seized this opportunity for his 15 minutes of fame.

After the clapping the first night, he sang a song and the people applauded. Then he proceeded to announce that “tomorrow will be better”. Every night since then, he’s given a half hour concert after the clapping. Now he’s added a microphone, some really loud horn thing, and a friend (who should not be there btw) plus lights or something. Fede recorded a little of his singing last night for his family in Rome who are as bored as we are. This will only encourage him more l said…haha!!! He’s a good kid though and someday l will understand his rapid Spanish.

Later it’s time for our movie of the day. Tonight l found the movie “Blockers” on Amazon Prime. It’s a stupid comedy about three parents trying to block their kids from having sex on prom night. It has its funny moments. I’m glad we have a big ass screen and l make some popcorn sometime in between. 

End of day! We both remark again how fortunate we were to be able to get back home in time for the lockdown. After all, we have our own coffee, our own food, supermarkets etc., pretty much our usual routine for the most. It could definitely be a lot worse.

This will go on in one form or the other for the foreseeable future. How are you holding up wherever you are? Are you in lockdown? Share things that might help others weather the storm.