Monday, November 23, 2015

Valencia, Spain: 3 nights, October 7-10, 2015

Spain has its own set of rules for making train reservations and no getting around them. We were able to make all of our reservations all the way through to Barcelona before we even left home. However, we had to wait until we got to Spain before we could make any reservations within Spain. So when we disembarked in Barcelona, the first thing we did was get into line to make all of our reservations and a LONG line it was! We waited approximately 1 hour until our number got called. However, we were finished within 10 minutes.

So we were up early in Barcelona to make our way by metro to the train station we had originally arrived in. After another leisurely 3 hour ride all along the Mediterranean coast, we arrived to a beautiful warmer day in Valencia.  The central Valencia train station is magnificent! And, after getting our city map and determining that we didn't need a metro pass, we walked out into the sunshine and set about walking to our hotel.

Our hotel was only a couple of blocks towards the city center and we found ourselves, once again, VERY pleased with our choice! A most comfortable room with a more than adequate bathroom.

After a quick unpack, off we set out to explore and find a place for lunch. We found a beautiful square only a couple of blocks from us and chose Foster's Hollywood for food. Yes, definitely an American food chain with the most delicious, scrumptious, tender BBQ ribs!! I was clearly in bliss.

Again, the architecture in this city was sublime. By now I had a permanent backward cant to my head from all the looking up I've been doing on this adventure.

The city square was only a few short blocks. A lovely busy spot in town where we decided to catch the hop on hop off bus to take advantage of the beautiful day. Valencia has a beautiful Old Town but they certainly have embraced modern technology and architecture. They have taken a river bed and turned it into a spectacular open pedestrian green space that runs for miles from the harbor around the outskirts of Old Town.

New & Modern:

On our way back into Old Town, we caught a most beautiful sunset.

Our evening ended at a local brewery just off the main square. Mike was definitely a happy camper and my wine was excellent!

Having walked by the City Market the night before, we definitely knew this was a must see. This market is by far my most favorite of all the markets we've seen. The building is a work of art in and of itself, wide open walkways inside with vendor after vendor of the most beautiful foods everywhere!

From there, we meandered our way over to the Ceramic Museum, which is displayed in a most spectacular mansion. However, on our way over, the skies opened up and we got drenched!! So while waiting for the museum to open, we ducked into a cafe right across from it and enjoyed afternoon drinks while we dried off.

Our final day in Valencia and my 64th Birthday dawned beautiful and bright! As this was their Independence Day celebrating the Moors and Christians, the whole day was filled with all types of celebrations. First came the speeches by the mayor followed by huge loud fireworks. The parade would be later that afternoon. 

 So since we had some time between events, we decided to go explore some neighborhoods that we thought might be interesting. I had been missing the coziness of the narrow pedestrian streets lined with interesting shops. Well, we found them!

Although it wasn't quite time for the 5pm parade yet, we decided to go check out where we would want to watch it from. We found empty chairs all lined up along the main street. Our experience told us we should grab a few and sit our buns down before we lost them and ended up standing forever behind tall people. A VERY good decision! Even after paying 4 euros each - about $9US, it was the right thing to have done. The parade lasted for more than 3.5 hours with one gorgeous costumed group after the other. Stunning and amazing!!

First the Christians:

Then the Moors:

This parade was FANTASTIC!! Right up there on the BEST ever I've seen.

After having our last meal in Valencia back at Foster's Hollywood just the way we started, I went to bed on my birthday and very happy camper. Thanks for all the festivities Valencia to help me celebrate!

And, in the morning, it's off to Madrid.

For those still wanting more photos: