Trip Start Jan 08, 2013
Trip End May 05, 2013

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Flag of Spain  , Valencian Community,
Monday, March 4, 2013

We took an early morning train from Barcelona to Valencia. After a bit of confusion on the metro, we made it to the train station and made it on the 8:30 train. The trains are really so nice. There was a cafe in our car, and it was so quiet and smooth. The views were beautiful. We drove right down the coastline and saw beach towns and cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean. When we arrived we spoke with the man at the check in counter. His name was Javier, and he was the cutest old Spanish man. He spoke to us for about half an hour in Spanish. He spoke slowly and emphasized all of the important words so he was sure that we could understand. He even recommended a restaurant to us. He said it was his local favorite.

The one issue with our Valencia stop was that the weather just really was not good. It was cold, rainy, and windy. Not a great combination. We went to the central market of Valencia that was very similar to the Florence market. We got empanadas, fruit juice, and a lot of delicious pastries. Valencia was definitely cheaper than Barcelona. We got all of this for around 3 euros. We walked around the city to see all of the landmarks, and it was one of the first times that I didn't see signs in English, American students everywhere, or any signs of tourists really. The city had the architecture of a classic Spanish town, reminding me a lot of St. Augustine Florida. We walked through a park for a while that had runners, and soccer fields everywhere. We stopped and watched a little bit of a soccer game. They are amazing here. It was funny because it was the middle of the day during the week, yet somehow all of these men were free to pay soccer all day with their buddies.

We finally made it to the largest landmark in Valencia, named the city of arts and sciences. It had 6 large, modern, and white building that were surrounded by a campus with blue water and trees. Since the weather was so poor, we decided to go to the aquarium. As we were walking through, a line of brand new Mercedes cars began to roll in. It looked a lot like one of the commercials that you would see on tv. Probably at least 200 identical Mercedes parked in front of the building and I had no idea what was going on. There was a sign in the water that said EuroTraining 2013, so if anyone knows that that is let me know!

The aquarium was really cool because it was divided into regions. We went to the wetlands, the tropics, the Mediterranean, the shark tanks, dolphin cove, artic, and many others. My favorite part was seeing the Beluga. It was just such a weird animal I watched it for about 30 minutes. It actually could make facial expression and scrunch his face, but it was just a huge whale. It was very weird and I kind of just wanted to laugh at it the whole time because the mannerisms were so funny. Then we went into the shark tunnel and they were EVERYWHERE. They would swim slowly and just float right past our heads and we could see their rows of teeth, scales on their bodies, and even their scars. It got really freaky when you would turn around and their teeth would be right in front of your face. I think that was the closest that I have even gotten to a shark like that.

Unfortunately the dinner recommendation from Javier was not open on Mondays, so we had to search for a new place. It was odd because it seemed like everything had closed already, so we went to a local pub and got some paella. When we came out of dinner around 10, we saw that all the restaurants were just opening up. Like I said before, Spaniards do everything sooooooo late.
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