Sunday, January 12, 2020

Valencia - our new "favorite" place!

 Xativa Castle
Life is sure good to us. We continue to find amazing places to visit. Valencia came to us on a complete whim.....we had plans to head to the other side of the world (NZ, AU and Japan) and when realizing we had a month free we just looked at a map to think of where in Europe we might like to spend one month, in one place that would not be freezing cold. We heard from a few friends who had visited here for a few days and all had good things to report so we booked an AirBnb in the center of town for the whole month.
The corner building on our
We arrived on January 1st and lucked out with a small apartment (Don Juan de Austria 4) very well located for walking everywhere as well as close to all public transportation. With online research I have come up with something great everyday to see and so far all by foot except outside the city when we took a train to Xativa.

Join me as I review the places we visited with a few pictures of the high points. After settling in and eating out the first two days (holidays so most places were closed), we found grocery stores so we can cook in our small kitchen since we are here for a month. People are always eating outside - morning coffee or tapas later in the day but we don't like to do this everyday.

In the Jardines de Turia
As we often do, we began with a "free" (asking for donations at the end) walking tour and get the overall view of the main monuments, churches, and historic sights that we can return to as we wish. The city is beautiful in so many ways - elegant buildings, large plazas and the 9K greenway or park right through the center of the city. In 1958 there was a major flood (the last of many over the years) which made the city decide to redirect the river to the outskirts of the city and turn the riverbed into this amazing park. We have walked some parts and have much more to see - museums and gardens await us. (Jardines de Turia)

Mercado Central
We have been to Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Museum) with historical exhibit of Sorollo, an artist we became acquainted with on our trip to Madrid several years ago.

A favorite museum so far was the Museo de la Seda (Silk Museum) which had an excellent audio tour as well as demonstration. Valencia was the center of the silk trade. I recommend it highly to all visitors to Valencia.
Silk Museum

Date palms at the beach
Another positive of Valencia is it's situation on the coast, with a big port and many beaches both north and south of the city. Being able to walk to the beach is wonderful and we did so last week. It was chilly but still great to walk along the boardwalk and of course with a stop for french fries. We will return for sure before the month is up.

Another walking tour took us to the Barrio del Carmen, an area in change as it was severely destroyed after the floods in the 1950's and many left the area to slowly return and bring the neighborhood back. Now it is also a center for Street Art and graffiti and we learned much about some of the artists as we walked through the narrow streets. Some of the art is done with permission and some is done quickly on the run. We always enjoy these tours and have done them in many big cities that are friendly to street artists. Today after a visit to the big Modern Art Museum in the city we both remarked that we liked, and perhaps understood better, the street art than some of the art in the museum.

Xativa Castle
A side trip outside the city took us to Xativa with it's large castle overlooking the town. A train ride on the local Renfe line for 50 minutes took us to another world. We walked up to the castle and back and enjoyed our cup of tea at the top. It was a perfect day with a delicious vegan lunch at Restaurant Ganesh. Doing my research online helps to find these places and with google maps, it is easy to get all around and find whatever we want. The life of a map loving traveler (thanks to my dad who taught us well) has changed over the years. Trip planning, however, seems to be in my blood.

Having one month in one place is good for us as we have plenty of time to see new things and plenty of time to just "be" and do the things we love everyday - walk, out for a cup of decaf coffee together, read, watch our Spanish TV show at night, draw, do some exercise and find something new to see everyday.  We feel more like we are living here than being tourists. How lucky we are to have this time in our life to live in other lands.

Valencia Cathedral and Plaza de la Virgin
Thanks for joining us on this adventure and you can be sure that I will continue with words and photos as we travel.

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