We travelled to Valencia by using Blabla Car – it is a car sharing app where you can book a seat in a car of a private person that is travelling to the same destination. Mireia (23 years old) and her dog drove us from Torrevieja (where she works) to Valencia (where she lives with her girlfriend). It was fun getting to know local people and actually I could practice my Spanish for 2,5 hours as well. She dropped us near central station from where we started walking to find our AirBnB apartment. Long live the shared economy!
Valencia is the third biggest city (800,000) in Spain after Madrid (3,2m) and Barcelona (1,6m). It has a long and rich history as it was founded by the Romans in 138 BC as “Valentia Edetanorum”. The local language is “Valencian” which is basically Catalan that is much more influenced by the Spanish language than the Catalan that is spoken in Barcelona and that is more influenced by the French language.
Valencia has several striking landmarks. One of them is the river bed. In the 1980s – after the city had been flooded by the river along the downtown area – citizens voted for building a new river bed that would go around the city and converted the old riverbed into a magnificent park of about 8 km lengths. Luckily they succeeded as the original plans were to build a city highway instead!
The park is an oasis of tranquility in the middle of the city. It has a beautiful lay out and has all amenities for recreation – from athletic grounds to terraces where you can have an “Agua de Valencia” – a local drink consisting of cava, orange juice (it is the home of the Valencian oranges!), Vodka, Gin and loads of sugar.
When you follow the river bed towards the sea you will arrive to a second landmark: the City of Sciences and Arts. It is an entertainment-based cultural and architectural complex designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela.
The following photos I took from the internet as it is difficult to photograph the impression of the whole compound in the same way:
As it was Valencia Marathon weekend the city was very busy. About 280,000 runners participate in the short run of 10km. This explained to us why the hotel prices were quite high that particular weekend. We heard German and Dutch everywhere…
Valencia is also known for its Paella. We tried two varieties: 1) the wet style where we chose the rice with duck and mushrooms and 2) the dry Paella where we chose the Valencia Paella containing rabbit and chicken. Personally, I am not a fan of Paella but if you are in the Paella city you have to try of course the local cuisine!
Friday evening we concluded with going out in the hip neighbourhood of Ruzafa and ended up in a club. I published already my fascinating experience of that night in the blog post: Clubbing 2.0.