Day 19 – Valencia to Xativa

My train does not leave for Xativa until 4:30pm today so I have some more time to explore Valencia. It’s Thursday, the day the Water Tribunal for the Plain of Valencia meets at Noon at the Apostle’s Gate of the Valencia Cathedral to made decisions on the distribution of water in the area. It is the oldest institution of justice in Europe and has been recognized as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. A crowd forms in front of the gate where the judges will sit, one judge from each of the water canal regions in the area. The system of justice has been in place since the canals were built in the 9th – 11th centuries by the Muslims.

A teacher explains to her students what they will be seeing.

She has them competing in groups to complete a worksheet on the topic. They are very engaged in finding the answers.

The judges arrive, one from each canal district.

A farmer presents his case, while an opponent farmer waits his turn to talk.

The judges hear them out and make their decision. At the end, this crier announces the canal districts one by one and asks the crowd if there are any other disputes related to the district for the judges to address.

In the crowd, a protester holds up his sign for the judges to see. Human excrement in the water?

When I was born, if it had been in Valencia instead of Gilroy, California, it’s possible I would be in this group of ladies who came to a concert in the Real Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados (the abandoned, helpless, destitute ones.) Most of them look like they would be at home at Marin Country Mart. The patroness of Valencia, the Virgen de los Desamparados, stands high up on the altar.

Outside another protest march, once again for education. One of the protesters tells me the government is cutting school resources and privatizing education all over Spain. The protest line doesn’t seem to stop, and later at the train station, I see that protestors in their green t-shirts have traveled from afar for the march.

The plaza in front of the Real Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados. Where did that white line of light come from? It must be a miracle.

I see these old tiles in a window as I wander through the area. Too bad they are so heavy. I would love to take some home.

Then I see the price. For about a 4″ by 4″ square, if that.

I go back to my lodging to pick up my luggage and decide to have that piece of lemon cheesecake I had seen in a cafe window days before.

These two girls from the States watch my luggage while I use the restroom. They have found a pleasant place to do schoolwork, but the cafe frowns on such use on weekends. They are lucky weekdays are still okay. It won’t last for long.

The north train station is located right next to the bullring. I have quite a bit of time before my train arrives but decide to keep things simple. I’ll wait at the station rather than visit the bullring. The one in Seville may have been enough.

The terrain going south to Xativa is dry and mountainous.

I’m picked up at the Xativa station by some of the workshop participants and arrive at a spot high up in the mountains above Xativa. The work space is ample and shaded from the hot sun.

The enormous pot for steaming.

Sharing foliage.

Paella for dinner made by a local cook.

Only two of the chicas speak English. The rest speak Spanish and one Portuguese. It looks like I will have a Spanish language immersion program along with the eco-printing. Fortunately for me, Irit, the instructor, is Israeli and speaks English but no Spanish. Tomorrow the workshop begins.

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