Strolling down the tight alleyways surrounding Plaça de la Virgen in Valencia, Spain, walkers would never imagine they were within steps of a church which has been christened the Sistine Chapel of Valencia. Hiding behind storefronts on Carrier dels Cavallers, recent restorations to the ceiling of Iglesia San Nicolás (or, “The Church of St. Nicholas”) have made it one of the city’s top tourist attractions.

Every Thursday as cathedral bells ring noon, eight men in black-robes trailed by hoards of spectators march to the Apostle’s Gate of Cathedral de Valencia. So begins the Tribunal de Les Agüas de la Vega de Valencia (or “Water Court”), a court that has met every week in the same spot for the past 1,100 years and is recognized as the oldest court on earth.

View from El Miguelete bell tower, Valencia’s highest point

You wouldn’t think seven days in a Mediterranean paradise would teach you much about the art of resilience. However, in the past week, I have learned a lot about just that.

Two days ago, my wallet was stolen.

First of all, I’m fine. After 48 hours, I can safely say that I will be able to exit the country and comfortably complete my study abroad program in Spain, which is more than most can say after having their purse stolen. …

Elli Esher

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