Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Kosovo: Chapter 9, Scene 4 Staying Curious...In Spain

I’ve said it before. One of the perks to living in southeastern Europe is the ability to travel easily to other countries. Well, mostly easy. I did have one minor glitch on my recent trip to Spain. 

The World Wide Conference on Qualitative Research (QRCA & AQR) in Valencia offered more than great conference topics for me to explore. My youngest daughter was one of the presenters. The fact it was held in a beautiful Mediterranean city was merely a bonus. But for a moment I wondered if I would get there.

For the best rate, I flew from Prishtina to Frankfurt, Germany. I had an hour to make the connecting flight. You guessed it. I missed the connecting flight. So instead of arriving for lunch, I arrived in time for dinner. However, sitting across the table from my daughter made me forget my earlier airport ordeal. 

Beach Party After the Conference
The conference itself was engaging, starting with the rather well known author of Curious, Ian Leslie, and ending with the incredible Kendall Nash presenting The Apprentice Project: Tales of a Novice Unicycler.  (Okay, I’m a bit biased. After all, I’ve known Kendall all of her life.) Both presentations were inspiring as were many of the ones sandwiched between them. A QRCA conference is never a disappointment.

The Flower Bridge
The hotel was lovely, the food delicious. But the real treasure of Valencia is found in exploring the cobbled walks and streets of the town with your “little girl.” Kendall is adventurous and fun. We did some sightseeing in the evening hours but enjoyed the whole of Saturday exploring.

This particular weekend the entire city was celebrating the arts. Perfect timing for us. Beginning Friday night and lasting the full weekend, all of the museums were free and the streets were filled with crafters, dancers, and people in costumes representing a time gone by. 

On Friday, we crossed the reclaimed riverbed-turned-park via the flower bridge and joined up with a few of the other conference attendees to visit the Ceramic Museum located in the old palace. A music ensemble was preparing for their concert inside, so we stopped on the street to hear them practice. We entered through the ornate doorway to view the ceramics. The living quarters of the palace were the most interesting. We also saw three plates Picasso had made for the royal family. 

Kendall Painting at Museu de Belles Arts
After a lazy breakfast on Saturday, Kendall and I walked part of the riverbed park taking in a bicycle event and enjoying the flora and fauna. We then made our way to the Museu de Belles Arts de Valencia. Kendall and I both enjoyed touring through room after room of paintings, but the best treat was the opportunity to be part of a collaborative work recreating Tomas Yepe’s “Bodegon Con Ceramica.”  

In the words of the museum, the re-creation “turns the museum into a studio and the public into artists.” Every participant painted a square from the painting on a gigantic collective canvas. Museum artists loaded our palettes with the appropriate colors needed to paint the square we selected and we set about our work.

Leaving the museum, we crossed one of the many distinctive bridges to explore the district near the castle, indulge in some delicious gelato, and shop in an outdoor marketplace. We poked our head in several shops along the street and managed to find a few not-too-tacky souvenirs as a remembrance of this special trip.
Leia and Lace

We were heading back toward a restaurant for dinner when we encountered a parade of sorts. Women and girls of all ages were dressed in layers of brocade and lace, their almost Princess Leia-like hairstyles framing their smiling faces. Men and boys, also dressed in outfits reminiscent of the renaissance era escorted the women up the street past the cultural center toward a large almost castle-like building. 

The day was long, but didn’t seem so until we finally sat down for our dinner of tapas at an outdoor restaurant. The food did not disappoint us. It would have been easy to crash into bed that night, but a little exercise and time spent in the sauna made the evening complete.

Of course I’ve only shared the highlights. But I could have done that with one simple sentence: I spent the weekend with my daughter.
Selfie with My Daughter

More Pics:
Our Hotel

Ensemble at the Palace

Picasso Plate at the Palace
Join me in Kosova (the Albanian pronunciation for Kosovo) in Southeastern Europe. Each week I share my experiences. Leave your comments and questions below. I’ll try to address each as best I can. And if you don't want to miss a post, simply add your email address in the box on the right where it says "Follow by email." 


  1. It was so wonderful to be speaking on the topic of trying new things with the person who cultivated that characteristic in me being a part of the audience! Valencia! Muy Bonita!

    1. Not as wonderful as being n that audience! I love seeing how you and your sisters have grown to be such interesting and incredible women!


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