Once we arrived to El Palmar, we walked through the quiet, sleepy village to find a restaurant to serve us delicious paella. There were a lot of choices, but we finally hunkered down near a canal at Restaurant El Sequer de Tonica. Because of the way paella is prepared, you have to buy the dishes in at least quantities of 2's. So, I allowed Bobby to choose what we would be eating (yes, I know that is very brave of me!) He chose "arroz negro" which is a cooked fish-based broth containing cuttlefish, rice and squid with its natural ink that makes a special taste to the rice. We also enjoyed appetizers of shredded local fish cooked in orange juice and calamari. The kids were not as adventuresome and enjoyed eggs, fries, and chicken. Liam did try the paella and seemed to like it okay. He had a ring of ink dyed around his lips which made the waiter happy. He said this is the way children are intended to look when eating paella. While Bobby and I were finishing our meal, Liam played with a little girl his age around the tables. The lunch was delicious and the scenery couldn't be beat.
Albufera park borders El Palmar and is home to the largest lake in Spain. It is one of the most important wetland areas in the Iberian Peninsula. It is a place of great ecological interest with rare species of wading birds and a rich variety of wildlife. Its waters have been traditionally worked by fishermen and rice growers, supplying ingredients and inspiration for many of the regions most succulent dishes. After our meal we searched for an opportunity to ride a boat on the lake. By inquiring around, we found a very cheap teenager who took us on a ride through the canals into the lake and back again. Because I was taking pictures of the wildlife, he decided to help out by hitting on the metal engine which caused all nearby birds to fly in all directions. It scared me every time he did this which he probably got a kick of as well. Amelie and Liam loved the boat ride.
There is an option to travel on a tourist bus to El Palmar which includes a boat ride in the cost. We did not choose this option and ended up paying less and having a private boat tour. We passed a boat packed with people taking a tour of the lake. I was glad we decided to do a little more research and winging it to have the experience that we did.
|Liam playing with the shrimp from the paella dish. He is saying "grrrrr!"|
I am glad we made it to Albufera National Park and the village of El Palmar before leaving Valencia. It was a fun day for the whole family!