My new favorite European city is called Valencia. I believed that Porto, Portugal was the best place to live in Europe until now...sorry Porto. This city which is situated between a high mountain range and the Mediterranean sea has it all.
We rented an apartment in the middle of the city within walking distance to everything that we could ever want or dream of doing. Years ago they redirected the river and transformed the river basin into a greenway and created beautiful gardens and walkways 6 miles long and it seems that everybody is using it to walk, run or bike etc. It has to be experienced personally since my words can not do it justice.
We have been walking every day always starting with a decaf coffee and a croissant for me. The coffee is European bitter which I like and Susan is now getting used to. The people are very helpful and friendly. One heads up is that very little English is spoken here. We have needed our new second language and are thankful that we have invested much time and practice using it. The Valencianos have been very patient with our grammatical errors and seem to enjoy when I use Mexican slang. Basic Spanish is all the same all over and I enjoy how every Spanish speaking country will have slightly different words to express themselves. It is so much fun as I enjoy the use of slang and the variations between countries.
|Bridge over Jardines de Turia|
A few little bits of information. The food markets are clean and very inexpensive versus the restaurants. We have eaten out in places with great ambience and delicious food, but I like more to feast on Susan’s great culinary skills.
|At Mercado Central|
Another interesting thing about traveling outside of the US is the cost of medicine. A few days ago we purchased eye medicine without a needed prescription (which is needed in the US). Xalatan which costs about 55 dollars at any drug store in the states cost us less then 8 dollars so we bought a few extra, of course. In Columbia it cost 5 dollars. Go figure.
I will end here not to repeat what Susan will write. Our next stop will be New Zealand. I will miss this city but will carry the great memories that I have had here.
|City of Arts and Sciences|
|Paella at Palmar|
Our problem is the desire to find great places and then return to them versus the desire to add new places every year. Some how we have managed to include a bit of both for many years so I suppose we will continue this lifestyle till we tire of it.
I am going to list all the places we went for our memories and for those who end up traveling to Valencia. I can share more details if you have this city in your future.
- Anthropology Museum and Roman Ruins
- Church of St. Jerome
- Jardines de Viveros with Museum of Natural Science
Museum of Natural Science Jardines de Viveros
- many walks in Jardines de Turia - redirected river basin turned into long greenway
- Small village of Gandia which is about one hour train from Valencia. Visited Museum de Faller, and short bus to beach which was empty on a weekday and would be mobbed in the summer.
- Museo de Arroz (Rice Museum) - interesting explanation of the rice fields surrounding Valencia and origins of paella because of the large quantities of rice.
- L'Albufera and small town of Palmar - Natural park, lake and paella
Boat at L'Albufera
- Bioparc - very modern zoo
A few things are worth explaining though not sure I can really do it justice. The annual event - Fallas Festival which is held in the city and many of the surrounding towns of Valencia is held in March every year. We visited two museums for some explanation. From Wikipedia:
"The Falles is a traditional celebration held in the city of Valencia, Spain. The term Falles refers to both the celebration and the monuments (Falla, singular; Falles, plural) burnt during the celebration. A number of towns in the Valencian Community have similar celebrations inspired by the original Falles de València celebration. The Falles festival was added to UNESCO's intangible cultural heritage of humanity list on 30 November 2016.
Each neighbourhood of the city has an organised group of people, the Casal faller, that works all year long holding fundraising parties and dinners, usually featuring the noted dish paella, a specialty of the region. Each casal faller produces a construction known as a falla which is eventually burnt. A casal faller is also known as a comissió fallera and currently there are approximately 400 registered in Valencia."
|Falla - 3 retired men walking|
the tight rope of finances
The City of Arts and Sciences is a large complex of museums and would be a wonderful place to visit with children, There are many buildings and exhibits to see. We spent a day at the Oceanographic Park. Amazingly, all these places are within walking distance of the historic center of the city.
|Great Dolphin show at Oceanographic|
|View from Torre de Serrano|
|Mama and baby|
As you read, you can see that there is something for everyone's interest for a short or much longer visit. Our weather was on the cool side with one big 3 day storm of rain that kept us inside but on the whole - very sunny and pleasant most of the time. I managed also to draw most days and create an accordion book for the month. This was a new format for me and it worked out well.
Now we are on the train heading to Barcelona to leave tomorrow morning for our two day trip to get to Auckland, NZ. You can be sure that I will be writing again soon about the land down under which I know will be very different than here. We will be traveling both the north and south islands in a motor home.
Thanks for traveling with us and "see" you soon.