The three of us locked all of our belongings to ourselves/the seat with bike locks (like crazy people) and went to sleep. We all slept impressively well! When the alarm went off at 4:40, we were pretty sad about getting off the train. Definitely contemplated skipping Valencia and just staying on to Barcelona, but we were scared that someone would get on at Valencia and have a reservation for our seats. So at 5:05, we got off the train in Valencia!
At this point, the series of unfortunate events began. Turns out that the luggage room in the train station didn't open until 8 AM, and there was no way we could carry our backpacks around all day in the heat.
So, we camped out in a coffee shop (open by some miracle), got cappuccinos, and ate our sandwiches from yesterday. At least this little hiccup gave us a chance to get all caught up on picture-uploading and blog-writing. We had another unfortunate bathroom experience in the coffee shop.
Adrienne tried to use the bathroom but the door was locked, so we asked the guy for a key and he told us just to "push harder."
Adrienne went back and pushed harder and voila, it opened! Then Jeremy tried to go and couldn't the door to open-- we all took turns ramming into the door and failed. It took embarrassingly long for us to realize that we needed to be buzzed in by store owner and the door locked itself almost immediately after. There were a group of old guys that were laughing pretty hard at us through this whole ordeal. Oh well, they were drinking beer and gambling at 5:30 AM, the joke is realistically on them.
At 8:15, the luggage room dude finally showed up and we were able to check our backs and head into Valencia!
As it turns out, the luggage room was actually just a room of self-service lockers... so we could have theoretically checked the backs hours before if the door had been unlocked. It was only monitored because they made us put our bags through security-- apparently all of the Spanish train stations hyped up their security after the terrorist attacks on the trains in Madrid in 2004. I suppose that is probably for the best...
All in all, we were definitely glad that we got off the train-- the city was really beautiful!
We checked out a nice cathedral that we snuck into for free (accidentally), and spent a ridiculous amount of time sitting next to a fountain taking pictures of a little girl feeding the pigeons. Probably borderline inappropriate to take so many pictures of someone else's kid...
We took the bus to Valencia's famous museum district-- we didn't actually go INSIDE any of the museums because they are famous for their architecture. I thought they looked like a variety of different sea creatures-- wonder if that is actually true.
We tried to walk to from the museums to the port, but we failed in a huge way. First of all, the distance was about 10 times as long as we thought it was.
Secondly, the roads on the map did not seem to really exist, so we ended up finding a number of dead ends. We ended up climbing around some train tracks and jumping over some fences until we finally made it to the right area.
At that point, we discovered that the pier totally sucked so we headed to the beach instead!
The beach had a lot of potential, but our situation was again unfortunate. The weather was beautiful and the water was a perfect temperature, but we didn't have any towels. We only brought travel towel, which are really lightweight/thin/expensive, and we didn't want to get then all sandy.
SO, we brought a Delta blanket that Adrienne stole from the airplane and all squeezed together to try and remedy our camera strap/day pack/farmer's tans. Laying on the beach is a hilarious experience-- so far all of the European beaches have been almost entirely topless, which makes for dynamic people-watching.
After the beach, we were very hot and covered in sand, so we went to a little place by the beach to try Valencia's paella. Apparently, paella was first made in Valencia, although I don't know how they could possibly verify that claim. We had both seafood and traditional paella, as well as melon wrapped in cured ham. Delicious! Pretty much every single meal we have has ham in it--not good for Jeremy since he is Jewish and doesn't like to eat pork (which has proven to be literally impossible).
When we finished eating, we took the local bus back to train station. Turns out that our train left from a different train station, so we then took the shuttle bus to the correct station. The train to Barcelona was really fancy and we were the grungiest passengers by a large margin. Oh well, at least there was tons of leg room! Three hours later, we arrived in Barcelona! Will post about it in a few days. Nos vemos!
The night train from Granada to Valencia was impressively nice, especially for only a 6 Euro reservation fee! We sat in seats, but they reclined pretty far back and had a ton of leg room. Plus, the train was a normal temperature, which was definitely a first. Our seats were in rows like an airplane (all facing the front), so we didn't have to tangle legs with other people. Much better!