Valencia the Modernist

Trip Start May 30, 2012
Trip End Nov 07, 2012

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Flag of Spain  , Valencia,
Monday, October 29, 2012

We chose to visit the city of Valencia after we found out Spain's transportation system wasn't as efficient as we had hoped. We needed to break up the distance for our final journey to Barcelona and it is roughly over half way between Granada and Barcelona. So, you could say Valencia was a city chosen out of location and convenience. That is not to say that we just "settled" for Valencia though. It is actually quite the beautiful and sought after city. It lies right on the Balearic Sea and is a hot spot in the summer to catch some sun and surf. Valencia is also home to some impressive modern architectural buildings, as well as the classic old streets and churches. Our accommodation in Valencia was through Air BnB this time. We hadn't used this resource since Paris, but we did not have any luck with couch surfing and hostels seemed a bit pricey for this time of year. When I searched for rooms on Air BnB, I couldn't believe how many there were! I guess because of the economic crisis in Spain, a lot of people have resorted to renting out a spare room to earn some extra income. I found a lovely room with an unbelievable price of €11 a night, (not per person, but per night!) including a full breakfast! The owner also offered the option of a three course Cuban meal for €3 per person if we wanted. We were fortunate enough that the room was free on the dates we needed, so I booked it right away. I am so glad it worked out, because we ended up meeting such a nice and welcoming Cuban family! Alma and Raunel and their two little kids made us feel right at home! We shared some great conversations and some absolutely delicious Cuban and Spanish food! They were also kind enough to give us some cooking lessons, which I can't wait to try out at home! I just hope I can find the proper ingredients!

Ryan and I had two full days to explore Valencia, which was just the perfect amount of time to see most of the main sights. The first day was spent touring around the downtown part of the city where we saw many old buildings and churches and two old city wall towers. The towers were free to climb up and they offered some fantastic views of the city! We also stumbled upon some random luck, as the bull fighting arena had a free kids' concert going on inside of it which meant that anyone could wander in. We took advantage of this just to see the inside of the arena, without having to sit through a gory show! It was smaller on the inside than I thought it would be, but I guess they don't want to make it too hard for the fighters to kill the bull. At first I had thought it would be interesting to go to a bull fight, but once we learned how brutal and inhumane it can be, we decided against it. The next day was used to see the sights a little further away from the centre of Valencia, including the vast array of modern architecture, the beach, and of course for Ryan, Valencia's football stadium. I am not the biggest fan of modern buildings, but I can appreciate their impressiveness. Some of them looked like something right out of Star Wars, while others were very streamlined and slick. In this same area is Europe's biggest aquarium. It appeared to be more like a Sea World inspired park, with an even bigger price tag attached to it. It was too bad it was so expensive to go in because I would have loved to have seen the dolphins! After we had our fill of "in your face" style buildings, we walked towards the pier and beach. We stopped to have lunch at the pier on this extremely long dock that makes you feel like you are out in the middle of the ocean. It was so relaxing that Ryan even took little nap out there. Before the sun got too low in the sky, we made our way towards the sand. Oh, how lovely that sand was! It was so incredibly soft and smooth, like velvet under your feet! It was too chilly to go swimming, so we just walked down the coastline, picking up some seashells along the way. I could just imagine how busy and cramped this beach would get in the summer! Our final stop of the day on our way home was to Valencia's football cluc stadium. It just so happened that a game was going on too! Valencia versus Granada! How fitting. We couldn't get inside, but Ry wanted to walk around the outside, and as we did, we could hear chants and boos and then eventually cheers as Valencia scored. Perfect timing!

It was weird once our time in Valencia came to a close because that meant that we were heading towards our final destination of our trip. It is very surreal to think that we are almost finished our European adventure! It seems like yesterday we were only in Romania...

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