Extra Green Paella
I did some research online about where to eat the best paella. Valencia lays claim to this typically Spanish dish and after deciding that we weren’t going to be staying in the city itself I settled on El Palmar, a little village just outside. This is where they grow the rice for Paella and surrounding the small village are paddy fields, a stark contrast to the dry, brown scrub we had seen for the last couple of days. The sound of frogs and sight of white herons was soothing in the muggy, oppressive heat.
Just as we arrived in this restaurant-riddled town we heard the sound of a band and had to investigate. A group of lads were playing samba tunes and setting off firecrackers to celebrate someone’s birthday and, probably, the Spain football match taking place later in the day. Like drunk boys everywhere they were up to mischief and some of them managed to set the grass alight. Luckily they had drunk enoughbeer to create a river of urine to put out the blaze.
We found a restaurant in the middle of the town facing a rice paddy and sat down to enjoy some local white wine. Once again I had forgotten our Spanish book and so wasn’t entirely sure what was included in Paella Valencia, but was sure it would be delicious. When it arrived David’s face fell. The yummy chicken, butter and green beans were accompanied by some very colourful snails! He was adventurous enough to try one but they were very green, fairly slimy and rather chewy. I think we must have been put off by their parasitic eating of prickly pears which we saw earlier on our trip. Ah well all the way to Valencia for some authentic (but in the end uneaten) snails.