Sunday, 21 February 2010
Written 21st february
Arriving late at night after a long trek north, we had parked ourselves near the beach north of the port, where the lp suggested the best paella restaurants were to be found.
Compared to the other recently visited spanish cities, in the warm sunshine, valencia was like a breath of fresh air. It is a breezy, laid back city, full of open spaces and large squares with a compact historical centre, encircled within a loop of the former route of the river Turia - which was diverted to the otherside of the town after severe flooding in 1957 - and which has been converted to a lovely green park with sports pitches and gardens, and which houses the recently constructed City of Arts and Sciences at the wide estury end. We didn't go to this area but apparently it is lovely and houses an imax theatre, a planetarium, a laserium, a Palace of Arts for opera, dance and theatrea science museum, a sculpture park and a massive aquarium. From the guide book, it sounds like a fab day out.
We easily found the tourist office -largely by following maps at bus stops - got a map and comprehensive information booklet, and happened across a sunny pavement café in the main square, with paella valencian as part of their excellent value menu de dia.
I know some people imagine that we spend all our time drinking lunchtime beer in sunny pavement cafes but it really isn't true - some times we drink lunchime beer on sunny clifftops and beaches... ;)
The paella was yummy - we had assumed all paella was fishy but appaerntly not, traditional stuff has chicken and rabbit - and we have found a recipe in the tourist book so are going to try it in the van, although it does say that it will only taste right if made with valencian water - other inferior waters from other towns or cities are apparently just not the thing... :)
Stuffed full, we set off on a walking tour that promised 2,000 years of valencian history and which took in
visigoth crypts and prisons (closed for lunch),
buried Moorish walls (free at weekends),
but tower view and massive bell, well worth €2 and 207 steps!),
19th century circular plazas,
20th century steel and stained glass market buildings (largest food market in europe, closed saturday afternoons),
20th century baroque-style town hall and Palace of Post and Teleqraph (saw outside only),
all interspersed with churches of all ages and all in all a lovely sunny afternoon's walk.
We walked home past a massive childrens playground shaped like gulliver, complete with pegs and netting! - random
We rounded off the day with a surprisingly large and good (had too different smells on swirling which is a good sign, as we know!) yet cheap copa de vino tinto in a beachside longe bar on the way back to the van. Today, once we have finished stealing internet from this here street corner, we will be back on the road northwards once more. All this dallying means we won't get to france by the weekend (!) but definitely by tuesday - latest!
With love for now from Becky, Will and Jules on Sunday, February 21, 2010