A Weekend in Valencia
I was invited to go visit and stay with my step brother, Alex, who lives over in Valencia. He teaches English and is living with an amazing Spanish couple, one is also a teacher at his school, and the other is studying at Uni to become a teacher. So, with the help of my amazing family I had the most wonderful opportunity to go on my first holiday abroad on my own. I have flown many times before and I was never nervous about going, I was ever so excited because I knew it’d be a great learning experience. Alex lives in El Cabanal, a neighborhood near the city and seafront!
I can honestly say, This was one of the best weekends I’ve ever had! Full of adventure, fun and happy memories, there was never a dull moment. We did so much I cannot even begin to tell you all I have learnt else it will never end! I learnt so much about the city and history and could tell you all, but it would get a tad confusing with all the different names lol.
My first night in Valencia was very authentic as I would often hear Spanish singing all night along with their guitars, they were really good actually and amazing guitar players. However 3 o’clock in the morning isn’t my idea of a good night’s sleep. Despite, a night of broken sleep I woke up early and had breakfast, toasted seeded brown bread with oil and spreadable cheese with ham.
Then, we took a visit to the school Alex works at and I met all the children and teachers! I’m not allowed to post the pictures I took for confidential reasons, but the difference between British and Spanish schools is crazy, everything is so much more laid back over there, but in a good way!
After that we headed for the metro to get into town, the travel system over there is amazing, the metro line is a straight line with different tracks and covers all along Valencia, or there is the Valenbisi service, which is where there are 275 stations around Valencia with bicycles, and you pay for a weekly or yearly pass and can borrow the bikes. A service like this is a great opportunity for communities to get fit and healthy. I believe there should be a similar service here in Britain! When we arrived in the main city it was scorching so we headed straight for a little cart selling horchata, a cooling creamy drink for summer, it’s nut milk, squeezed from the tiger nut (similar to a root vegetable). It tastes slightly similar to almond milk. It was ever so refreshing; I’ve never had a drink so cooling in my life without getting brain freeze.
After exploring more of the city we then went to torres de serranos, which stands on the bank of the river (we explored the river on the sunday). This tower is one of the few remaining bits of valencia’s medieval city walls. This gateway was built in the 14th century and combines decorative and defensive features. We paid 1 euro to enter and climb to the top where the view over the city is amazing! Although it’s not the tallest of towers it was definitely one of the most beautiful! The next place we visited was the beautiful cathedral. We entered through the cathedral Puerta de Hierros, the most beautiful structure I have ever laid eyes on! When inside we went straight to climb up the bell tower of Miguelete, the spiral staircase of over 200 steps takes you to a terrace over 50m above the city streets.
At this point we were pretty tired so we decided to go for lunch, we found a sweet little restaurant named ‘El Picaro’ and ordered various tapas dishes, DELICIOUS! We then walked back to Plaza del Ayuntamiento to grab a tasty ice cream, there were soooo many different flavours to choose from! I went with kinder!!!
The last part of the city we explored was the Neighborhood ‘El Carmen’ because I love art and it’s known for its amazing street art! We then headed back to the metro and then walked around the port in the neighborhood where Alex lives. After, we went back to the house to get changed and have a rest after the busy day before visiting a cute traditional Spanish bar down the road named ‘El Viento Cabanal vlc) for Valencian beer and nuts. The interior was beautiful… fairy lights and wood and leather decor, it was very cosy yet cool. Marina Beach Club was next on the list, where we danced and took in the beautiful views overlooking the infinity pool and the long stretch of beach lit up by the many restaurants and bars along the beachfront.
After a late night I woke up late and just took in the surrounding noises coming from the balcony, children walking to school having banter in Spanish and hearing them laugh, although I couldn’t understand them it was great to hear laughter and people having fun. Hearing the church bells, hearing the birds and feeling the heat! I then went to get breakfast, once again a really nice piece of toasted bread with oil, cheese and ham. After a busy day previously we decided to go to the beach to lay back and chill out. The beach is only a 10 minute walk from the house and it was a really hot day so it was the perfect way to spend day 2. We stayed there for a few hours sunbathing and then went for lunch at one of the beachfront restaurants, I had a chicken hamburger and chips (very authentic). It was late afternoon and Alex had to prepare a meal for his friends who were visiting, the theme was British! So he went with a classic lasagne, I felt very at home eating that aha! Meeting more people was amazing, they spoke really good English and were really funny and outgoing, it was a great evening.
This was my favourite day of them all as we went on a bike ride into the city. I am usually a terrible cyclist, I cannot ride for more than 10 minutes!! But for some reason, my legs got me through the whole day of cycling miles and miles. From leaving the house we headed straight for the River Turia, a river that has been turned into a garden park. After serious floods in 1957 that sadly killed thousands and destroyed homes, the bold decision to divert the river leaving a dry bed was made and then the space was created into an amazing cultural and art space for pedestrians and cyclists. This stretches for 4 miles, we cycled all down it then off into ‘El Carmen’ again for another visit, we saw even more beautiful street art. And passing some amazingggggg buildings along the way.
We cycled all through the main city and stopped off at a fancy little restaurant for more tapas. Tastyyy! After a few hours we headed back home but this time took the city neighborhood route, passing the Valencia stadium. When we got home we were pretty tired so we chilled for the rest of the day.
My flight wasn’t until the evening and that meant I had a whole day to do whatever, I decided to go back into town to shop for some gifts and have a last walk around. We headed to the ‘Mercado Central’, one of the biggest markets in Europe. I managed to buy my family some presents, and myself a cute keychain to put in my journal! At lunchtime we went back to the house to try some Spanish Paella that Alex’s friends dad had made, he is an amazing cook. It was my first time trying muscles and they aren’t as bad as I was expecting but still freaky aha!! After lunch, Alex walked me back to the metro where I got on the train to the station, a half hour journey right into the airport. From there you can guess the rest, a typical flight back home, sad, not looking forward to going back to normal life but still going over the amazing new memories made in your head.
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