Valencia

So... Valencia... this city surprised me and exceeded my expectations more than I could have imagined. Barcelona used to be my favourite city, but this just in: Valencia has taken first place in Spain.

The climate, the people, the city, the green space, the history… I could go on and on…

I arrived on October 9 to a private room that I had rented via Airbnb. Never one for renting a room in a flat, but hey, it was economical and the place had great reviews. Google Maps, bless, directed me to a different location across the street – I’m starting to think it doesn’t pull in the exact address from the app, but just a theory. Any who, once I realized that, I reentered the address, and my host directed me to the private underground parking in the building. Travel Offer: If you sign up with Airbnb with this link, you’ll get $45 CAD off your first trip. If you book a trip that’s $95 CAD or more, I’ll get $25 CAD off my trip as well 🙂 

Since I was there for 5 days, I unpacked everything and made it home, and then headed out for a walk to familiarize myself with the area and find some dinner. I came across this yummy Italian spot, Restaurante Casa di Roma, (lots of Italian restaurants in Valencia, which was interesting), where I took the waiter’s recommendation and ordered this salmon mushroom pasta dish – it was sooo yummy – check it out:

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mmmmmm….

At about 9 am the next morning, I decided to sign up for a free bike tour that started at 10:30- ok, it was 2 euro for the bike rental + whatever donation to the tour guide you want to make – can’t get better than that! I highly recommend doing this in any city you go to because you really acquaint yourself with your surroundings, plus it’s great exercise! Our tour guide took us to the main areas – city of arts and sciences, the central market, plaza de la reina, plaza de la virgen, to name a few – and stopped along the way to share some historic details and an Orxata, a famous Spanish drink – very popular in Valencia. It apparently is very healthy, cleans your bloodstream, and is rich in potassium. Travel Tip: Helmets are not really a thing, so be ok with that or bring your own if you choose this tour. Valencia is a very bike friendly city, with bike lanes everywhere and bike traffic signals everywhere. This free bike tour is only offered Tuesdays and Thursdays, as a heads up. Also, be sure to look both ways when crossing bike lanes and streets 🙂

Wednesday was a beach day – another great feature of Valencia. The water was glorious, a bit chilly, but so refreshing and clear. It wasn’t too busy, not sure if that’s because it was a work day or because of the time of year, but I’ll take it!

Thursday, I started the day with a delicious breakfast at Federal Cafe – go there if you can. Super delicious and healthy eats, at not a bad price. I had a croissant with comté cheese, seranno ham and a fried egg, along with a coffee for about 8 euro. They have lots of other delicious items and baked goodies.

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That night I, along with 5 other people, learned to make traditional Valencia paella at Valencia Paella Afternoon Cooking Class with Chef Jamie and Spanish translator, Pierrette, both of whom were lovely. It started at 6 pm (good thing I checked again that afternoon because I had a 6:30 start time in mind), and we were there until just after 10:30 pm, enjoying the company, great wine, and of course, our paellas. It was a great experience, and I would highly recommend to anyone. After travelling alone, it was great to spend some quality time with others, learning about them and sharing stories. There was a couple from Argentina, a couple from Netherlands, and a guy from Australia – great fun!

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Valencia has so much history, and there is so much to see. It’s not as expensive as Barcelona, and has a much more laid back atmosphere. The green space alone was enough to keep me coming back.

Lessons Learned:

  • It’s the experiences in life that feed your soul – get out there and do!
  • Check start times well in advance – always good to be prepared just in case 🙂

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