This last weekend I went on a fairly last minute, definitely not planned trip to Valencia. If you’re not entirely sure where that is, it’s about 2.5 hours from Madrid, on the east coast of Spain, on the western edge of the Mediterranean sea. Also the third biggest city in Spain and pretty much everything anyone could ever want for a mini getaway. Meaning: all us North Americans were pleasantly thrilled by the fact that we were wearing shorts and t-shirts and hanging out at the beach on the first weekend of November. Things we don’t normally get to do back home.
The entire trip started off as a bit of an adventure, with us trying to catch a cab at 6:00 am in central Madrid, along with every other group of people who had been out the night before for Halloween. When we did finally get one, when we arrived at the station, we were greeted by a very sleepy ticket seller who informed us that, actually no, there weren’t any 6:30 trains going to Valencia and that we must be mistaken. After we had sorted out that, yes, actually, there was and bought our tickets, we were directed to the wrong platform and had to walk back to ask, again, for help. We did, eventually, get on the train and head on our way. While a 6:30, six hour train ride doesn’t exactly sound like the favourite choice for a trip, I wouldn’t completely not recommend it. Between cat naps on our way there, the view was absolutely amazing and watching the sun rise overtop of the burnt orange dirt and crumbling buildings was actually kind of worth it.
We stopped off for breakfast as we tried figuring out which way our hostel was (Centre Valencia, which I would give five stars to and recommend it to anyone looking for a place to stay). Surprisingly, given our lack of sleep and bumpy start, we were all in pretty decent moods. That might have also been helped along by everyone getting a coffee and some food in them. We did find the hostel without too much of a problem, surprisingly enough, given my history with directions and inability of finding where I want to go. Which is why I like travelling with other people! Even when you get lost, at least you’re lost with someone else.
After dropping off our stuff, having a shower and getting a few raised eyebrows from Fabio, the guy at the desk, we made our way to the beach. It did end up being a bit cool and we opted to stay out of the water and instead went for drinks, where we spent half our time waiting to be served and the other half waiting for the bill and the time in between all that just having a really good time. We decided to try and walk home, since it didn’t feel that far on the tram and we’d get to see some of the city, but after about 45 minutes, decided that nope, it was definitely much longer and hopped on the tram back before having dinner and heading to bed.
Saturday we spent sightseeing, in a disjointed, very casual kind of way. It was really just a lot of fun walking around, since the weather the entire time we were there was between 28-32 degrees Celsius. Again: not a thing most N. Americans really experience during November.
Plaza de la Virgen – The hostel is just a side street from Plaza de la Virgen, which was great, since there are so many restaurants and shops in the area, so food was just a few steps and a couple of minutes away.
Plaza del Ayuntamiento – To get to most of the places we went, we had to pass through Plaza del Ayuntamiento, which is stunning. I’m a sucker for beautiful buildings, and maybe it was the combination of bright blue skies and palm trees, but I just couldn’t stop looking at everything.
Mercado Central – Fresh fruit and vegetables, live fish, hanging ham and the best orange juice I have ever had. We stopped off at Mercado Central and bought fruit for everyone, some of us standing in queue, the other one of us having an annoyed vendor giving her the apple she picked up herself because it looked really good. It took us way too long to figure out the number system to buy our fruit and then we ended up just being in the way half the time, but it was so much fun! The building is absolutely gorgeous and has this great pattern all over its exterior while the roof is just impressive on the inside. Kudos, as well, to all the parents who take their kids because us four grown-up-ish people were there and ended up almost getting lost.
Things I’m Loving:
+ Real pumpkin spiced latte – (For those leftover Halloween pumpkins.)
+ This would be so fun – (What’s better than a book surprise?!)
+ Return Stamps – (If I had a permanent address, I’d snap up one of these.)
+ Have some fall music – (To go with your surprise book and that latte you made.)