Well it’s been some time since I’ve written because Casey and I have been so busy. Doing what? Relaxing? Yeah we haven’t done much here this week besides relax, shop, cook, and plan for another trip, but I’ll get to that.
Right before leaving Lagos, there was a rainstorm, and I have a couple cool pictures to show you. Casey was working, so we were both miles away from each other at the time. However, we both took a picture of the storm cloud from our vantage points. Mine is from inside the hotel when I first saw the dark storm cloud, and Casey’s (as you can imagine) is from the airplane looking at the storm from above!
That’s my view from the hotel window. You can easily see the dark cloud brewing above me. Casey’s photo is a little more intricate. The whole, huge cloud looks like an anvil with a pointy end on the left side. This point shows that the storm is moving towards the left, as the green arrow indicates. Pretty cool huh!
Anyway, the next day we left Lagos and flew to London. Arik sent a van to pick us up, and we loaded all of Casey’s luggage that stays in Lagos (four bags and a bike!) into the car. The hotel we were staying at didn’t have a storage room, so we went to the pilot compound to drop off his things. These bags hold all of his food, a piano, some clothes, and anything else he wants to leave in Lagos.
On the way to the airport, we passed by a “Cleft Lip and Palate Surgery Mission.” The sign even says “FREE!” That’s pretty nice. You always see those cleft lip commercials on TV, so it’s neat to see an actual surgery center in person. I mean, it’s too bad we have the problem to begin with, but at least they’re doing something to remedy the situation.
We checked into our flight and had a few hours to spend before leaving. We bought a meat pie and a chicken pie for lunch; they were tasty enough. We’ve had better meat pies in our day. There used to be a nicer restaurant that we’d eat at, but they changed it into more of a bar with smoking allowed, so now we don’t go there anymore. On the plus side, they are adding a KFC in the airport! So hopefully next time we will be able to eat there.
I laughed at Casey and took a picture because he blends into the chairs!!
We walked around the terminal and window-shopped. What cool Monopoly games! I was very tempted to buy them just for fun, hehehe.
I was also tempted to buy this doll! It’s called “Queens of Africa” and her name is “Wuraola,” which is my Nigerian Yoruba name! I can’t remember who gave me that name, but I’ve been using it here for a couple years. No one remembers my real name, but they call me “Wura.” Cute! For the record, I didn’t buy the game or the doll.
FINALLY, we boarded a very very very very hot plane. The APU (auxiliary power unit) wasn’t working, so they couldn’t turn on the air conditioning system until the engines started running. The APU provides power and cool air to the plane without needing to turn on the engines. It’s actually illegal to board a plane with the engines running, so they needed to get all of us on board first and then start the engines to provide cool air. Everyone was using a magazine or the safety information card to fan themselves. It felt like they had the heater on because it was so warm!
Luckily that didn’t last too long though. We had cool air after ten or fifteen minutes and then we took off. Casey and I treated ourselves to a Pepsi, and there was a baby in front of me who kept smiling and reaching out his hand to grab mine.
The flight was about 6-7 hours long and it felt like it! We talked, Casey played a couple computer games, I watched him, and we ate the inflight meal (chicken with spicy rice). We were sitting in the middle of the plane, so we didn’t have a window to look out of, but he went to the bathroom and took a picture of the desert below. It was cool to see such a vast desert with sand dunes and all. I got bored and laid down. The flight wasn’t full so that was great. We had a row all to ourselves.
While laying down, I looked up and noticed that there was no 13th row! It goes from 12 to 14. I never noticed that before. A normal picture was too dark and didn’t show the numbers, so we had to make it brighter. We landed at London Heathrow and checked into the Yotel – the airport hotel. The rooms are small and compact but super nice for a one night stay, mainly because you don’t have to leave the airport! I just love that idea. Anyway, we went to a restaurant next to the Yotel and shared a niiiiice BBQ burger, fries, onion rings, and a salad. Yummy!
We got up early the next day for our flight to Paris. Breakfast consisted of a strawberry yogurt smoothie, an apple strudel, and a blueberry muffin. The bathrooms were nice and high tech with an air dryer above each individual sink. That’s convenient.
Casey was happy and we were wide awake all day. The people across the row made us laugh with their sleeping positions :)
The view was just beautiful as the sun was rising! I love the colors of the sky in the early morning and at dusk. Just gorgeous to see it from an airplane.
I liked that Air France gave us croissants for a snack. Very French. The flight attendant asked us if we wanted tea or coffee and, when we both said no, he looked genuinely shocked! It was quite amusing.
This next photo clearly shows a huge sun beam through the clouds! That was awesome! I said that someone was coming down and Casey said someone was going up.
And then we landed in Paris. We were supposed to have about an hour layover, but our flight out of London was delayed, so we had 20 minutes to walk quickly through the airport and find our next flight. I snapped our journey through the airport, which was very modern and looked nice from what we could see.
We got to our gate in plenty of time since they were just starting to board. Whew!
Casey was eating peanuts and I asked him to give me “just a few.” He started me off slowly with half a peanut… how generous. We were hungry for lunch since we didn’t have time to grab food in the airport, so we bought food on the plane. I got some chicken-flavored noodles which were alright. I’m used to spicy, Korean-style noodles with kimchi so this didn’t have quite as much flavor, but it was filling. Casey ordered a bocadillo, his favorite sandwich with jamón, cheese, and tomato. It was satisfying for both of us.
We landed in Valencia and Abel was there to meet us at the airport! Since our connection time in Paris was so short, our bag didn’t make it to Valencia. Abel warned us about this ahead of time though since he’s taken this particular flight from London to Valencia as well. We decided to come back to the airport the next day and pick up our bag. We were on one side of the baggage office and Abel was on the other side. You can see him in the window with the yellow arrow!
At the airport in London, we bought some fun Italian chocolates. They are limoncello flavored, which is a lemon liquor. They were good, and they actually have quite a strong liquor flavor. I really just liked the tin that they came in, haha.
Casey was happy to be back in Spain in a comfy apartment with everything we need. We were still a little hungry so we rode our bikes to that new Tex-Mex place called Tako-Away. Abel, Maria, Martina, and I went there right before I left for Lagos a few weeks ago. Casey enjoyed it too!
That night, we went to Abel and Maria’s house for dinner and dessert. They made hamburgers from horse meat and ox meat! Horse and ox! Wow! What do you think about that? There is a special butcher shop that sells pre-formed hamburger patties, and they have all different kinds of meat: horse, ox, beef, bison/buffalo, chicken, duck, turkey, pork, and vegetarian. Then they have all kinds of seasonings and flavors too. Interesting!
The ox tasted like typical beef, but the horse was incredibly lean and tender. It was probably similar to venison in the leanness and had an ever-so-slightly gamey aftertaste. I could tell that it wasn’t beef, but it was pretty good if you didn’t let your mind get the better of you.
It was Casey’s birthday, and they were so sweet to pick up two mini desserts for him! A blueberry cheesecake and a chocolate cake. Adorable and tasty!
And thus began our past week back in Spain! We’ve been to my favorite restaurant, Las Lunas, a couple times… here are some more pictures of the amazing dishes.
They are just works of art! With presentation and amazing flavor profiles and ingredients. All of their dishes are so new and unique but taste so good! They had THE best lemon tart too! I definitely need to recreate that dish. Wow. The lemon tart is the one on the left.
We went to McDonald’s one day because I was craving a fish filet, and we discovered that they have easy order kiosks here! How cool is that. You insert your credit card (you can’t use cash), choose what you want on the touch screen, pay, get a receipt, and wait for your number to be called. Super quick and easy. They should have those kiosks in the US! There were upstairs and downstairs eating areas but every single seat was taken. It was so packed. Luckily, we found one seat so Casey let me sit while he stood. How gentlemanly.
He ordered a chicken wrap and the box made me laugh because they list the ingredients with pictures. What a cute little chicken! Afterwards, we went to a gelato café next door and got two gelato macaroons. They were like ice cream sandwiches with vanilla and chocolate brownie-cookies. Mmm.
The picture above is funny because the elevator going to our apartment smelled like smoke, so we both covered our faces. Yuck!
Casey created a recipe for his new favorite breakfast that I make for him now. It’s two pieces of toast with jam and an over-easy egg. He named it the J.E.T. which stands for jam, egg, and toast. I use my dad’s steaming technique to cook an even easier over-easy egg and it turns out perfectly!
There is an American store nearby called “Taste of America.” They have a lot of products from the US, and we went there to buy a plethora of ingredients for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner! We found canned pumpkin, StoveTop stuffing, and cranberry sauce. I’m sure you can tell what we ended up making the next day.
As for that night, Abel and I are standing in the regular market where he needed to pick up a few items for his house. THEN we ordered pizzas from an Italian restaurant called La Strega (which means ‘”the witch” in Italian) across the street from their house and they were phenomenal! Amazing! Delicious! Wow! They tasted like Nikki Lee’s and Grimaldi’s pizza with an extra flair of New York Style Pizza and Italian Goodness. Mmmmmm. I really really liked it!
Yay it’s here! Casey and I went to the market to buy all the additional ingredients that we needed. I cooked the meal at our apartment, and then we brought all of the food to Abel and Maria’s house. They really enjoyed it! I made turkey from turkey fillets, sweet potatoes, stuffing, roasted asparagus (for something fresh and green), cranberry sauce, bread, and pumpkin pie! All of the dishes were new to them but they seemed to like everything a lot.
Of course they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here, so they don’t have any whole turkeys. Our plan was to buy chicken instead, but we found these turkey fillets and decided to give them a try. They were pretty good actually. At least they had the same texture as when you roast a whole turkey, so they served us well and went perfectly with the cranberry sauce. (A shout out to my sister: Look at the Little Becky Marshmallows hehe. I didn’t notice it until I opened the bag.) Casey then snapped me a bunch of times while I was preparing the pumpkin pie.
We didn’t have much room to cool the pies, and I don’t have a cooling rack, so we used the next best thing: the drying rack! Hey, it worked. We packaged everything really well in take-away containers and loaded up our bike bag like a delivery service. Then I bought fresh bread on the way to Abel’s apartment and we were all set.
Casey was playing with Martina’s toys to try and make her laugh :D
And here is the delicious meal! The ingredients were expensive at the American store, but it was well worth it. Even Martina enjoyed it, and she REALLY loved the pie. It was so cute seeing her gobble up the filling, and she asked for more whipped cream.
I made some delicious homemade hot chocolate yesterday! Both of us agreed that it’s probably the best we’ve ever had.
I had to blog about all of this before we leave for our next trip TOMORROW (Saturday the 29th)! We’ve decided to take a week off (per se) to explore southern Spain! We’re going to take the train and visit Seville, Córdoba, Ronda, and Málaga. We’re bringing our bikes to help us get around, and we’re going to stay in each city for two days. Once we reach Málaga around December 7th, we’ll decide if we want to visit a few more places or return to Valencia. It should be fun! We’ll take some great pictures for you all too! I’ll write if I can during our trip; otherwise, I’ll write once we’re back in Valencia.
Thanks for reading! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! And ciao for now!