We’re moving along from Granada to Valencia. Here are some answers to questions you might have:
HOW DID YOU GET HERE? We took a BlaBlaCar to get from Granada to Valencia. If flying or renting a car is not an option, this is a great and affordable way to get around. The service is based around long distances and you ride with people who are already on their way to your next destination. It was about a 5 hour drive. Our driver’s name was David and he and his girlfriend met us at a designated location (a bit of confusion with that bec of parking). Though I mostly slept on the ride (I took allergy meds which knocked me out), David and his gf were very kind and friendly.
HOW DOES VALENCIA COMPARE TO BARCELONA AND MADRID? Still hazy from Granada’s fairy tale charm, my first impression of Valencia was one of minor disappointment. It looked like a typical downtown at first. I was still excited though: the further we drove in, we could see that Valencia is a hybrid of old/historic + new/cosmopolitan. Initially, I felt that Valencia was my least favorite stop, but scroll further and I’ll explain why. (I had some drama that sucked away a lot from our short stay.) In retrospect, I guess I did like Valencia…A LOT! It has its own charm and it blends the old/new very well while maintaining its urban vibe. There is a lot of wonderful and colorful street art!
WHAT DID YOU EAT? ¡Míralo! The picture below is from Arrocería la Valenciana. We got ALL of that for less than 40€ (and that’s two plates of dessert AND two bowls of gazpacho with bread)!!! We couldn’t even finish it. And it was all very delicious. Best mussels I’ve ever had!
Mercat Central – Valencia’s historic market is the cute non-fussy version of Barcelona’s La Boqueria.
- Valencia is a VERY bikeable city. Even though it’s the 3rd largest city in Spain in terms of population, you wouldn’t know it. It’s nowhere nearly as crowded as Madrid and Barcelona making it a PERFECT city to bike. I pretty much learned how to bike in the real world in Valencia. I’m glad I didn’t learn how to do it in Barcelona or Madrid. Those cities might be considered bikeable, but all those pedestrians would have freaked me out. I was already screaming in fear at the errant pedestrians in Valencia!
- The bike ride from Mercat Central to the beach is about 6 miles. Along the way, you will see the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències (City of Arts and Sciences Museum). That’s the futuristic building in my intro pic to this post. We didn’t have time to go in, but biking around the outside is beautiful and fun.
- There is a local Valencian dialect in Valencia, so be prepared for some language/culture shock with a different accent.
- I debated whether or not to share this, but what the heck: I temporarily lost my beloved Lumix LX-5 camera in Valencia. Before I realized it was missing, I was learning how to ride a bicycle on public streets. I fell down a few times. I also banged up my left leg really painfully which caused me so much frustration! I knew we were going to go the beach that morning so I wore my one-piece swimsuit underneath all my clothes. We found a craft beer place that morning and had a beer (or two for Yobo) and I was feeling pretty buzzed. Along the way to the bike rental shop, I ducked into a tourist-y restaurant bathroom and I realized that I had to take off all of my clothes to pee. Annoying! I had my camera strap around my neck so I put it on a hook. That’s where I thought I’d left it when I realized a few hours later at the beach (after having already shed tears for my bike riding frustrations) that I no longer had my camera. I really felt like shit, and I was so mad at myself. I sobbed for almost an hour at the beach, which sucks because the beach is my favorite place in the world. That night I was so exhausted from biking almost 12 miles, being in pain and being banged up, and thinking about my stupidity that I was too depressed to eat. If you know me, not eating dinner is an indication that something is wrong. Sometimes when Yobo is immersed in a project, he forgets to eat, but I never do that…so I hope that emphasizes that point. Anyway, fast forward to the next day and a happy ending, but I did NOT leave my camera in that bathroom after all. I just couldn’t remember because I was semi-drunk. I actually left it at the bike shop…and the owner returned it to me!! He said that he noticed the camera right away, and we even came back 5 minutes later (bec I wanted a smaller bike) and he figured that it wasn’t ours because we didn’t claim the camera. He later looked through the pictures and realized it was mine and was waiting to return it to me the next day! I leapt into his arms misty-eyed and grateful and all of a sudden, I loved Valencia again! Hehe.
If you read through all that, I hope it was amusing. Lesson: wear a two-piece, not a one-piece! 😉 At last, here come the pictures!