Valencia

The light-filled, modern penthouse apartment in the suburbs of Valencia (cost of living drops considerably the further south you travel) has been the ideal place to convalesce with a dreadful cold (el gripe y un tos). The decision to live here for a month has therefore been well-timed. The apartment is located about 4 km out from the city centre and it is well served by public transport. The housing stock is generally 6-8 story apartment blocks, mostly built in the last 40 years. The streets are wide, lined with palms and orange trees (a riot of fruit at the moment) and deciduous trees.

There’s a great cafe and bakery, and a farmacia, across the road; a Consum supermercado a little further down; and a fresh produce market around the corner and along a bit. This is the city that invented paella, of which there are at least a dozen variations (rice is grown just south of here), along with the famous arroz negro (black rice, using squid ink). When my head clears, I have every intention of tasting new foods!