This past weekend saw me heading off on the last big trip that I have planned for my year abroad. As sad as that makes me, in this post I am going to focus on the good things and tell you all about a fab weekend away in Valencia, that I enjoyed with some of my friends from university.
I had never been to Valencia before, although it had always been on my travel bucket list as so many people had told me how beautiful it is. They were not lying. Not only is the architecture around Valencia absolutely stunning, it’s also a city that seems like it should be huge and packed with people, but was actually so easy to wander around and nowhere near as busy as I expected.
After a couple of months of pretty much awful weather, we completely lucked out and had glorious sunshine the entire time we were there, which I always think makes a trip that much better. Walking through parks and admiring views just isn’t as fun when you have to juggle your umbrella and camera every time you want to take a photo.
As the weather was so lovely, we decided to stay outdoors as much as possible on Saturday, which was our only full day in the city. We explored the parks, squares and stood in awe of some of the buildings. I cannot even tell you how incredible they are, even the train station was a sight to behold!
In fact, I think the most amount of time that we spent inside was when we were enjoying brunch at Federal, which is right in the centre and had some great gluten free options. I had feta, caramelised onion and rocket on toast and it was incredible. The perfect savoury breakfast for when you don’t fancy something fried!
My favourite place, by far, was the Ciutat de Artes y Ciencias (Arts and Science Centre). It’s right next to a gorgeous opera house/theatre and by far one of the most amazing buildings that I have ever seen. In a city that’s full of buildings and monuments from previous centuries the Ciutat definitely sticks out, and can be seen from a mile away, but that’s what I love about it.
Forever in search of a good view, we climbed the Torre de Serranos. From the top of the tower you can see across the city, and it was also free for us to enter as we had our student cards on us, which is something to remember if you fancy a visit! There were no spiral staircases to get up to the top, all of the staircases were relatively open and easy to get up. As someone who personally isn’t scared of heights, I don’t know whether that will help or hinder anyone who is, but I thought it might be useful little bit of info.
For dinner, my friend told us that we absolutely had to try Valencian paella. I was intrigued, and had again heard so many people rave about it, so agreed on the condition that she would point out the pieces of rabbit that were in it so that I could avoid eating them. As all three of us were having the same dish, the restaurant that we went to (Canela) brought it out in an absolutely huge pan for us to eat from. I love food that you can all share and tuck in to, and I can confirm that Valencian paella is delicious.
The only downer on our trip was the service/treatment that we received after finishing our meal at Canela. Pre-eating, our waiter was so friendly and gave us his recommendations for food and wine without pushing the most expensive options at us, which I really appreciated. As soon as we were done eating, though, our plates were rushed away and, after deciding that we didn’t fancy dessert, the bill was placed on our table. We hadn’t asked for it, and we also had yet to finish the bottle of wine that we had ordered to share.
A couple of minutes later, the waiter returned and told us that the people who had booked the table after us had arrived so we needed to go. This was an hour and a half after our booking, and obviously made us feel incredibly unwelcome and pretty annoyed. Not the best service I have ever received, although of course not something that I would ever let get in the way of a weekend with my friends.
So, all-in-all, I had a wonderful 48 hours in Valencia with my friends. It is a city that I would love to explore more of and definitely plan to go back to at some point.