I discovered Valencia on a business trip in 1992, and I have loved it ever since. Valencia is Spain’s third largest city at over a million inhabitants, it is the largest / busiest port in the Mediterranean and has been for centuries. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately it remains fairly unknown to most folks on the tourist circuit. Because of this, it maintains a certain undiscovered quality to it, a small town feeling.
Valencia is home to the delicious paella, to the “painter of light”, Joaquín Sorolla, the brilliant architect Calatrava, it was the last home for El Cid (check out the film with Charlton Heston), etc. It is a city rich, very rich in culture, history, literature, architecture, and so forth. I have been lucky to keep great, close friends, including my PhD thesis director!
I hadn’t been to Valencia in a year, when I spent a day walking around and catching up on the Museo de Bellas Artes. This time I have had the luxury of spending a whole week here, so I have squeezed every moment here to see and do all my favorite things, which include:
- Walking around
- Having breakfast at my favorite coffee shop (ok, I’ll tell you… Café Aquarium)
- Eating paella by the beach
- Drinking Horchata (made from a tiger nuts)
- Eating fartons, a delicious pastry, in my case, stuffed with chocolate.
- Hanging out with friends
- Running along the old river bed (after a dramatic and deadly overflow, they made a safer channel for the river, sparing the city of further damages.
It has been a very busy but rewarding week and I even got to catch up with one of my old students which is always enriching and fun.
With the AVE high speed train, Valencia is now only a short two hour ride from Madrid – at 189 mph! So there is no reason not to jump on a train and spend a couple of days in this great city.