There is something special about Valencia, particularly the historic neighborhood known as Ciutat Vella. Stone streets. Abundant trees. Adorable buildings. Few cars. Cafes with outdoor seating.
There is something special about the people too. Intelligent. Sophisticated. Comfortable. Relaxed. Unpretentious.
And then there was Agua de Valencia to help lubricate our perceptions even further.
It’s a delicious concoction of freshly squeezed orange juice, cava (Spanish champagne), gin and vodka.
They can only be taken in small doses, but it is a fine, fine drink to be enjoyed before dinner at an open-air café beneath the trees at dusk. Sweet.
We were so enamored with Valencia during our first visit 18 months ago, that we were a little concerned that our second visit to the city would perhaps disappoint. Sometimes our impressions of a city have a lot to do with how our prior travels have gone. If we arrive tired and road-weary, then our perceptions are tainted.
Turns out Valencia was just as magical the second time around.
We rented the same apartment as our last trip to Valencia. Despite the 74 steps up to the apartment, it was so well situated in the historic district and so light and airy that we wanted to return.
We have been traveling for quite awhile, so spending time in a favorite city and in a familiar apartment just felt like a good opportunity to recharge and relax.
Blog Posting Catch-up
Valencia does not have a lot of must-see tourist attractions. Certainly not a lot of must-see-again sites. So on this five-day visit we simply enjoyed the city’s relaxed vibe. Oh, and we blogged and blogged.
We often compare having a blog to an anxiety dream about being back in college, with six to ten term papers that need to be written, but without the advantage of a deadline. They darkly loom in the back of our minds, but can be put off indefinitely.
There was always a new shiny object distracting us from sitting down and writing. It was easy to prioritize exploring our current location and deprioritize blogging about a city we visited six weeks ago. So the posting schedule tended to slide.
But now that we are returning home in three weeks, we finally have a deadline. Yea!
With the end of the trip in site, the postings of late have been rapid-fire, like the finale of a firework show. To our surprise, having a deadline for catching up has made blogging more fun.
We each sat in front of our respective laptops at the table in the apartment, each working on a different city, then traded drafts for editing and addition of different memories. We became a blogging machine. Rogers and Hammerstein got nothing on us!
And it wasn’t all work and no play. We did get out and enjoy the beautiful late-October weather.
Valencia Central Market
TripAdvisor’s top-rated tourist attraction in Valencia is the Central Market. A historic building packed with stalls selling fruits, vegetables, meat, cheese, fish and more.
It was a short walk from our apartment and we went there several times to shop for ingredients to make dinners at the apartment.
The market was an amazing sensory experience. It would have been fine to simply visit and snap photos. It was so much more better to have a purpose, to shop like a local.
We always say we are not on vacation, we are living abroad. The Central Market made that feel real.
Valencia Street Art
Street art abounds in Valencia. In addition to the typical spray paint tagging done by unsupervised youth in the middle of the night, there was also high-quality, organized and sanctioned art added to building walls and roll-down security doors.
It added fresh vitality to what otherwise might be a rundown city landscape. We ran across several artists actively working with their paints.
Mediterranean Biker Dudes
We took a day to recreate a bike ride we took last visit. In the 1950’s, Valencia experienced some very destructive floods. After that, they rerouted the river away from the city.
The resulting riverbed was converted into a park which meanders through the city, beneath old Roman bridges, on its way to the Mediterranean Sea.
We rented bikes near the park and rode the seven miles out to the Mediterranean and back. October is a beautiful month anywhere in the world. It was still warm enough for us to enjoy some time on the beach and a lunch of paella overlooking the water.
Spain is one of our favorite countries and Valencia’s historic district is our favorite city in Spain. It was so nice to be back.
Next Stop – Segovia Spain