Valencia

Mon, Jan 29, 2007 @ 20:44
FAM, Leganés

The Catedral de Santa María de Valencia as seen from the Plaza de la Reina.

This past weekend was perhaps a bit more lavish than my usual routine of sleeping in and going swimming. Despite having too much work piled in front of me I took off for a three night excursion to Valencia on the east coast of Spain. The trip was originally conceived about three months prior by my aunt and uncle who wanted to take a trip into Spain while I was here studying and they chose Valencia – which worked for me as I’d never been there previously.

They arranged to rent an apartment for the three nights and I was just left to book my own transportation. At that point I had thought about getting a train or bus, but they weren’t booking that far in advance. In the next few months I more or less forgot about the trip until around the time I was going home for Christmas. I had decided that I would rather fly given my recent experience with a bus trip to Barcelona. So after Christmas, I booked my return trip for only 64€ on Iberia. Arriving in Valencia Thursday evening (25 Jan) and departing before noon on Sunday (28 Jan).

Not to get into all the boring details, I met up with my aunt and uncle in the airport… my flight was a bit delayed and we ended up arriving at almost the exact same time. We then got in a taxi and headed for our apartment. The apartment was on the 6th floor with a beautiful terrace and view, but had one major problem – Valencia isn’t known to get very cold even in the winter, so the place wasn’t equipped to handle the abnormal freezing temperatures. And with the addition of the portable heaters which were thoughtfully provided, the apartment wasn’t capable of handling the electrical load. So after our first chilly night, we decided to find a hotel room rather than deal with the apartment. No sense in putting ourselves out… this was a vacation after all.

After a Thursday night hopping between a few different tapas places, we called it a night – early by Spanish standards. Friday was pouring rain. All day. In fact for a while it was even hailing to the point where a significant amount of hail accumulated on the ground. Made me feel like I was back in Canada. Not to be outdone by the weather we headed out into the rain after moving to the hotel. Our first stop was L’Oceanogràphic, the oceanographic park portion of the City of Arts and Sciences. Well, I wasn’t aware that a portion of this aquarium (if you could call it that) was outdoors. So we went in and before long we were all quite wet.

It was fun however, and after our fill watching the various sea life, we decided it was time for lunch. Unable to get a seat at the fancier restaurant on site, we ended up eating at a nice place that if it had been a nice day would have had a beautiful view of the park. Afterwards we continued up the the science museum where I wandered around for a while taking in some of the exhibits. At this point we were feeling pretty cold and uncomfortable so we decided to try and find a cab back to the hotel to warm up and siesta until later in the evening.

The evening brought clear skies thankfully, and with bags in our wet shoes, we headed out for more tapas before dinner. We found a great tapas place with sandwiches which is apparently a chain – they have one in the mall here in Leganés and I never knew. After another small tapas crawl, we headed to the place where we had dinner reservations. All of us looking to try the paella, and knowing we would need one with meat and the other with seafood, we were disappointed to learn that only one paella was allowed per table. You couldn’t pay extra, it was just the way they did it. So I went without and had a nice chicken breast dish. After dinner involved heading to a jazz club which had a live show later. The live show ended up being pretty bad, even by my forgiving tastes, so we took off and turned in for the night.

Saturday brought a really nice day. So we walked from our hotel to the central market and stopped in the square with the city hall to have breakfast. From there it was off to the beach. The beach area was stunning. Not surprising since Valencia is hosting the 32nd Americas Cup this coming summer. After a long walk on the beach we explored the port area and stopped for a drink. Our guide book told us of a nice place nearby for lunch, and there we had more tapas. Returning to the center of the city we had more drinks and then more tapas. We basked in the sun for a while and then got a cab back to the hotel where we had one more bit of tortilla before retiring for another siesta. Dinner was another tapas crawl, followed by several rounds of drinks in a lovely bar called Infanta in Plaza Tossal.

The next morning it was an early ride to the airport for the homeward journey. Although I was able to check in very easily with the kiosk, my flight ended up being delayed for an hour. The flight is only 50 minutes long which is a unique experience for me, but it beats a seven hour bus ride.