After travelling through cloudy Northern Europe for the last few weeks (plus a rainy few days in Madrid), I was hoping that I’d finally get some good weather here. Valencia has delivered that in spades, beautiful sunny days for all three days I was here. First time since Los Angeles that I haven’t had to put a thermal on in the morning.
We stayed pretty close to the central historical area of Valencia, and walking through the city it feels a lot more like what I imagined Spain being like. While Madrid felt like a big capital city, Valencia has great Spanish architecture, awesome weather and beautiful beaches. One thing I’ve noticed is the huge amount of green everywhere, stretching all along the edge of the old town is a massive park. It houses several football fields, a rugby field, a hockey turf, tennis courts, skate parks and heaps of gardens and ponds. Even throughout the central city there are lots of small squares with gardens and orange trees, it really is a beautiful city.
For breakfast the first morning we headed to Mercado Central (Central Market) of Valencia. After wandering around looking at the variety of produce being sold we ended up getting some empanadas, with our limited Spanish being put to the test we think we ended up with a chicken and some vegetable ones. I also grabbed a freshly baked croissant, can’t get enough of them. And to go with all that I ordered a cortado which as far as I can work out a Spanish version of a flat white. All this cost us around €4 each, not bad at all. The rest of the market is full of fresh vegetables, fish and meat, seems to be the place to come to buy groceries for the day. I came back through here on a walking tour the next day and got a horchata, a sweet drink made of ground tigernuts, water and sugar. Really nice and refreshing to have on a hot day.
As it was Melanie’s last day before heading back to London we caught a bus out to La Malva-rosa beach. Although the water was absolutely freezing we were still able to lie on the beach and relax, it was surprisingly busy even though it was midday in a Thursday. I’ll give the Spanish this, they know how to balance work and play very well. I couldn’t leave Valencia without trying the Paella, so for lunch we went down to La Pepica and ordered a traditional Valencian Paella. A very filling dish indeed which we both enjoyed, a nice change from the cheap food we area usually eating. Unfortunately the wind picked up while we are lunch, so after getting sandblasted for a while we decided to head back into the city.
The next afternoon I started back on my solo traveling ways by hiring a bike and exploring the park outside the old town. Plenty of really pretty gardens and bridges along the way but then when I got down to the southern part I was blown away by the buildings there. The area all around the Oceanographic aquarium there are several other amazing modern buildings which look like something out of Jurassic World.
I jumped back on my bike and headed North and ended up not far from the Bio Park zoo. I found a nice park next to a pond where I parked up and had a little siesta, nice way to spend an afternoon.
I also climbed up the Torres de Serranos, one of the twelve gates which used to form up part of the ‘Christian Wall’ around the city. The gates themselves area impressive to walk underneath, but for €2 you can go up to the top and get a great view over the central city on one side, and the park and outer city on the other.