I recently visited Spain. All of his history, his tapas, his wines, his huge cathedrals, his Spanish speaking citizens, his sublime sceneries, his thousand of helado flavors, etc. All of these and much more have contributed to make me fall in love with this country. Furthermore, between the amazing castle of Alcazar and its wonderful gardens in Sevilla and next to Quinta da Regaleira with its tunnels in Sintra, this is the entire small town of Valencia which remain my must-see.
From the bus station, you can reach the city center on foot. Actually, all distances in Valencia can be done on foot or by bike. Indeed, his flat ground makes the city perfect to be discovered by bike from one side to the other. Once arrived, it is impossible to miss the entrance of this fortified city since the gate is indicated by theTorré de Belem. Quite impressive! If you decide to be part of one of those free walking tours offered by almost every youth hostels in town, you will get the chance to learn how, in the past, the citizens and defenders of Valencia gruesomely greeted all foreigners who dared pass by that tower entrance.
Behind the tower, all the streets are narrow and shaped as a real labyrinth: nothing similar with Toronto or Montréal (in Québec/Canada) layout of streets in squares. I have literally gone in circles for an hour before to find the hostel that I beforehand booked. In Spain, every city have Plazas which are a gathering of streets ending where you usually find a water fountain or terraces. I have been gone in circles for so long that at a point, I was shy to again pass by one of those Plazas with my huge orange backpack and all tourists that I imagined judging me. Something funny is that in Valencia, when you asked local people about direction information, they always answer: Este calle, todo directo para diez minutos- Take that street and walk straight for ten minutes-. The funniest part of this explication is that you CANNOT walk straight since all streets go in circles. Nevertheless, I was dropped in around nice o’clock p.m. and this excursion gave me time and an opportunity to observe (with my backpack on) Valencia’s nightlife and entertainment. Indeed, pubs, terraces, bars, restaurants, counters are countless and each of them has more character and charm than the previous. Moreover, don’t forget that every business is separated from its neighbor by an helado shop. In that way, one of their famous advertisement displayed everywhere says: Un cornetto poque no?- An ice cream cone why not? In my opinion, Valencia is the perfect spot to sit and write a book all day long.
Nice quote from a New-Zealand’s friend met in Sevilla:
Basically, in Spain every city centers are the same. In the middle, you get a huge and amazing cathedral with dozens of sculptures and different entrances that make you speechless… and on the other side of the main street you get a line of all of those famous helado shops. Then, the only thing you can do, is to buy an ice cream, to walk down the main street looking at the cathedral and ask yourself how the fuck did they build that a thousand years ago while licking your cornetto.
Park and Paths
When I finally show up at the Front desk of my hostel, I brought a map, opened it on the counter and asked the receptionist where I could take a yoga class. As simple as if I asked where will be served the breakfast, she informed me that a free yoga course was going to be held the next morning in the park …which is located ten minutes on foot straight ahead from us :)! In Valencia, the city’s fortifications are surrounded by a linear long park, which is itself surrounded by cycling paths on its both edges. One extremity of these paths leads to the Bioparc that I unfortunately did not visit. Otherwise, the other extremity of these paths leads to the biggest aquarium of Europe next to a congress center and a movie theater with a thematic of solar system called Atmospheric. Forward on the same way are the beaches. Ones of the most amazing seen in Spain.
That city is absolutely magnificent. Please enjoy:
- Eat as much as you can (Valencia paella);
- Bike in order to avoid feeling guilty about the amount of food eaten,;
- Visit the aquarium and attend a dolphins show;
- Walk through botanical gardens;
- Enjoy a walking tour where you will admire Valencia’s streets art in addition to discover the Romans ruins hidden inside the current constructions,;
- Do a pub-crawl to meet people;
- Live their quote fiesta, siesta y sangria;
- Spend at least an entire day on one of these gorgeous beaches. I swear, no rocks, only sand, and ten meters after leaving the ledge, I still had only water to the waist. Getting there will take you a walk of, more or less, an hour and fifteen minutes or you still have the bus or bike option.
Finally, a visit of the colorful central market should be part of your itinerary and once there you should try a glass of Horchata the Valencia famous local drink made of ground almonds, sesame seeds, rice and barley … extremely sweet. As a conclusion, beyond all of these nice characteristics, let’s mention that Valencia’s rates are practically the half of Barcelona’s ones. ONE LOVE.