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Friday, February 19, 2010

Brugges 1, Valencia CF 0 & Another Bar Added To My List

In general people here in Valencia will stay at home to watch important football matches if they are shown on regular television stations. Only when the games are on the pay channels do fans come out in numbers to see the games. Last night I had to rearrange my schedule at the last minute in order not to miss the Brugges-Valencia contest in the UEFA Europa League. I was able to make my dentist appointment an hour earlier so that I could watch the game at a bar next door to the clinic.

It was one of the thousands of bars in Valencia, a bar de puretas, or an old man bar, as a Spanish friend calls them. I sat in the back at the bar and looked over a sea of bald spots and gray hair before my eyes reached the big flat-screen on the wall. I have really been cranking up the pressure in my bid to learn Spanish in these past few weeks so I noticed that I was understanding just about all of the chatter from the game announcers, even above the noise of the bar. Not that understanding football-speak is my goal in learning Spanish but it serves as sort of a measuring stick as to how well I am progressing in my studies.

Although this bar is only a few blocks from my apartment it seemed like I was in Comanche territory as they say in Spanish. It’s just that I see almost all of the games in one of three bars in my neighborhood: La Tasca de Russafa, L’Almudin, or my new favorite, Bar Canadá. I think my true goal here in Valencia is to visit every bar in the entire city. I think I have at least 950 to go after drinking in over 1,000 thus far.

As I have said on countless occasions, I stop in at a bar or café at least once a day. I like different cafés for different reasons. In some I like to read and they provide a quiet, uninterrupted chance to pass an hour plowing through whatever it is that I am reading at the moment. Other bars are for food. I have been on another quest to find the best tortillas de patatas in the city. I already found it at El Mercat but I can keep trying. Other bars I go to because they have nice terraces when the weather permits (it hasn’t recently). I have a network of places all over the city that I visit on a fairly routine basis while others in my neighborhood I stop in almost daily. I think if I had to say it, bars are what I love most about living here in Valencia. I like the community they provide—the food and drink are secondary considerations at best.