Spain: Valencia

Following our drive down the Riviera in the direction of Spain, Adam and I jumped on a high speed train to Valencia, via Barcelona. I didn’t stop in Barcelona this time, even though it was my first time in Spain. I had a flight out to Ibiza in a few days, and from what I’ve heard about Barcelona it’d be a waste trying to do it justice in only one or two nights. I decided to leave it for next time and use the five nights in Valencia to have a good walk around and get a good feel for the city that’s often regarded as underrated by many visitors.

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We arrived in Valencia late afternoon to a pretty roasting 34 degrees and walked to a hostel near the Rusaffa district. As I’ve mentioned before, I usually form some sort of an opinion in the first couple of hours about a new place and I got a really good vibe about Valencia. The streets were clean, the people were smiling, nobody was in a rush and I could smell good food on every street. Oh, and pretty much every girl we walked past was at least a 7.

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The train station. Valencia has  got some sweet architecture as do many cities in Europe, but the selling point here is everything is light; none of the grey, dark sort of styling that a lot of other places seem to get on  board with. I think it definitely contributes to a positive atmosphere.

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If you Bing, “Things to do in Valencia,” you’ll find the Science Centre at the top of most lists. It’s this futuristic looking set of buildings that is home to a museum, a space simulator, a huge aquarium and a whole bunch of other stuff. We went and had a look but you need at least two days to check the whole thing out.We had a look at the museum but I’m kind of regretting I didn’t just fork out the 30 Euros to see the Aquarium. Next time.

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The Museum had chooks hatching out of eggs! Ca-uuuuuuuute.

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The night before Adam took off to Seville, we went down to the beach on a mission to find some decent Paella. The mission was a success. I don’t know why I don’t see more fat Spanish people; the food they eat isn’t exactly light, and on top of that they all seem to dine at 9pm or later. I’m putting it down to genetics, and not the fact they might just be less lazy than me. Yea, genetics.

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One thing to be wary of when ordering Paella in Spain: It’s worth checking if the price on the menu under the ‘2 Person’ section is per person or total.

After Adam left, I checked into a wicked little BnB place to get a few nights of good sleep before Ibiza (Zalamera’s, I’d highly recommend it). With a few days left I got some shopping done and did a lot of walking around the city. Spain is very reasonably priced by European standards so I got some fairly urgent dental work out of the way, too.

Now, I didn’t know this when I came here but after stumbling across something I read while scoping out good Paella joints on the internet I learned that the Valencia Cathedral is actually the home off the cup, or holy grail, that our mate Jesus supposedly drank wine from at the last supper. I popped along to check it out.

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As one would imagine, you can’t get too close to the cup itself so I zoomed in with my LG Nexus 5 DSLR and snapped the best photo I could. It reminded me of Harry Potter’s Goblet of Fire.

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Valencia has a lot going for it. It’s a pretty big city, yet not that big that it becomes impersonal. I imagine the rest of Spain may be like that too; the Spanish seem very easy going. When I was walking around the labyrinth that is the El Carme district of the centre of Valencia, I constantly felt like everybody was on holiday. I get the strong feeling that trying to hurry somebody up here won’t result in much except resentment. It also took a couple of days to get used to the Siesta situation – “Why the hell isn’t this shop open? It’s only… oh, they’re napping. I shall obtain some Sangria and do the same.”

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In my opinion, one of the best things about this city other than the usual Spanish selling points is how colourful it is. Boring concrete walls are unheard of. Everything has been covered in art. There are Vespas lying around on every second street too. I want to live in Spain and own a Vespa. Yea.

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The photo below sums it up, really. I’ve been to quite a few countries on this trip, but it’s not often that only a small glimpse of one city makes me already set aside time in the calendar to come back before I’ve even left. I haven’t been here for long and there’s so much left to see but I’m most definitely going to check out some more of Spain next month. Watch this space!

Thanks for reading,

– Damo

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