RACHEL SHENK: Painting carries piece of Valencia | News
I open my eyes to soft darkness. The down comforter keeps me warm and cozy and protects me from the outside world. I throw it off, stretch out, slowly wake up and let my eyes wander around the room.
Ah yes! I’m in the sixth floor loft apartment in Valencia, Spain. I get up and immediately open the shutters. The sun is already shining in this Mediterranean city and the deep blue sky welcomes me on another day. Like any other morning, first things first.
I set up the espresso machine for breakfast, put sliced baguette, Nutella, butter, and orange juice on the table, then go out onto the outside patio to look down on the city. Downstairs, the café staff set up tables and chairs in the square and a slow but steady stream of people passes by on their way to work or to the historic Torres de Serranos on the other side of the way. When I duck back into the apartment, Jim is up. It’s time to plan our day.
Since we live in the Carmen district in the heart of the old town, we decide to explore the streets directly below us. Our walk takes us on a winding path through this historic area. We could get lost, but it’s always easy to find a way out using the cathedral’s spiers or bells as reference points.
A two-minute walk first takes us to the Center del Carmen, a 13th century monastery with a Gothic cloister, which today houses changing exhibits of contemporary art. We stroll through and record drawings made with only sheet music, look at sculptures made from found objects and hear a video of Spanish women singing folk songs.
When leaving, we cross the sunny open square where people sit with their café con leche in the morning. We spy on our first street art in a narrow street. It strikes me with its bright colors and the mix of medieval creatures and Latin American themes. I like the precise lines and how they pop out when we least expect them when we walk down the street. As we wander through the El Carmen neighborhood, we glimpse other works of art, but I keep stopping at those that are signed Disneylexya and contain these images that sound like me. We’re taking photos and enjoying these contemporary pieces in the old town of Valencia.
Later, on another trip to Valencia, we meet the artist Disneylexya, who is working on a mural inside the walls of the local cultural center. I know his style before I see him at work. I approach him and tell him how much I enjoy his work. When I get back to Goshen, I’ll follow him on Instagram.
I bought one of his prints last December. I love the fact that I can imagine him taking it to the post office in Valencia. I could see the street and the post office in my head. And when I received it, it was like bringing a little piece of Valencia to Goshen. In our online exchange, we agreed to see each other on our next arrival in Valencia.
Once you have lived in a place it becomes so familiar that when you return it is almost like you never left. I will remember this pressure from Valencia until we return.
La Bonne Vie’s Rachel Shenk has been an artisan baker for 30 years. Born and raised in Belgium, she has lived in Goshen since 1973. She has been writing about food, travel and the good life for about 10 years. You can connect with her on her Facebook page, La Bonne Vie, or at her cheese shop in Goshen, The Wedge.