Another great weekend trip! This past Saturday and Sunday I traveled with six of my friends to Valencia, on the east coast of Spain. Valencia has a very rich history and is the third most populous city in Spain. It's right on the Mediterranean and the beach is beautiful. The have their own dialect of Spanish there so it was a little difficult to navigate but we made do!
Saturday morning I got up around 4 AM to catch a taxi to the airport for a 6:40 AM flight. We arrived in Valencia just as it was starting to get light out so we really had the full day ahead of us, which was great. It rained the whole day, which put a damper on things a little. You never realize how much the weather affects your mood until you're wondering around a foreign city in the freezing rain... The first thing we did after dropping our stuff off at the hostel was go to the Falles museum. The Falles is a Valencian tradition where every March artists from around Spain create these gigantuc cartoonish looking figures and there's a huge festival and parade around the city. At night, they light them all on fire. It's incredible to see in pictures so I can only imagine what it would be like to see it in person! I wish we could go back but we have a trip to Sevilla y Cordoba planned with Maria Jose on March 19th.
Afterward, we went to the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (City of Arts and Sciences) which has the largest aquarium in Europe. It was the perfect rainy day activity. After a little adventure on the bus, we went back to our hostel to freshen up before dinner. Since Valencia is where paella originated, we had to get that. We found a place near the Plaza de la Virgen and I shared a amazing seafood paella with Eleanora, Greg, and John. So delicious.
Sunday morning we woke up to sunshine, which was a huge relief. While the guys went to check out the soccer stadium, Callie, Caitlin, Jen, Eleanora, and I found a little coffee and tea place for breakfast. Our hostel advertised a free walking tour in English so we decided to do that. It was such a great idea. Our guide knew so much about the city's history and all the buildings she showed us were incredible. I feel like I have a much better understanding of the city now. After the tour we tried to go back to the Seu (the Cathedral) and climb the bell tower but it was closed. Huge bummer. We decided to go to the beach instead. First, though, we stopped at a Horchataria to taste Horchata, which is the official drink of Valencia made from tiger nuts. It tasted a little like sweet soy milk or something. It was good though!
We then took the metro down to the beach and it was beautiful! I only wish it had been a little warmer. I got to touch the Mediterranean though which was exciting. The boys wanted more paella so while they did that, the rest of us found a little restaurant bar near the beach and tasted Valencia's other famous drink, Agua de Valencia, which is a mixture of orange juice and lots of different alcohol. Also delicious. Next stop was to catch the bus back to Madrid!