What I find so nice about Europe is that when you travel for just a couple of hours it feels like you are in a totally different world. The people speak a different language, the scenery is different, and even the air you breathe feels different! Our latest holiday was in Valencia, Spain with my friend, her daughter and my kids. It was a combination of a family vacation and city trip all in one.
During the day we did all the family stuff and at night it was just us ladies enjoying the local food and drinks. And what may have been the best part is that there aren’t so many tourists.. 😉
The first day we were all so exhausted but excited at the same time. We woke up at 1:30 am and on the road to the airport by 2:15am. It was a 2 hour drive. Once there we went through the gate and still had to wait for a couple of hours. I expected the kids to not be on their best behavior since they were very tired and waiting for hours until it was time to board the plane.. but to my surprise (and relief pfew!) they were actually pretty calm and happy to be there. Win!
Anyway the flight was ok, and we all got safely to our hotel, yay! The location of our hotel was just perfect. The city center was near us and we had a big park on walking distance. This park used to be a big river that ran right through the city. But because the river overflowed every year, they decided to drain it and turn it into a 9km park! Just look at how beautiful the park is..
There was also a Flamenco Festival in the park. There were so many people and everyone was dancing, eating and just happy! At the festival this man walks up to us and hands one of my kids a ball.. we named it Wilson… Wilson kept us company throughout our stay in Spain and we grew very attached to him… we felt so sad leaving him behind.. we will never forget you Wilson.
Did I mention there are Orange trees everywhere!? Well there are!
Valencia is known for her oranges! The region produces so many oranges that it has attracted the name “The Orchard of Spain”. In the summer the air is filled with the heavy scent of orange blossom.
We also went to the local zoo called Bioparc. What I love about this zoo is the amount of space the animals have. Some animals were able to run around among us peeps and others were in their own space just chillin’. It kept us busy for a good 3 hours.
Of course we went into the city center. There’s an old part with little alleys and restaurants everywhere and there’s a newer part with beautiful buildings and scenery. Take a look at some of these pictures below to get a good impression of the city center.
To my surprise I found this wall art.. At first I didn’t even notice but when I read the words on the wall, I knew I found something special. A little Dutch influence right there in Spain, Valencia. This wall art is about the Dutch Erasmus of Rotterdam.
Me attempting a panorama shot of the old station and bullring.
This little house here is actually a miniature house for cats! It’s so cute, and tiny. It even has a balcony! The home has a three-story facade and a terraced courtyard. Everything is perfectly detailed: the door, the steps, even the windows with a woman looking outside.. until the sign “Fire Insured”. There’s also a fountain in the front on which there is a ceramic panel with a Valencian legend that says: “In memory of the four cats that lived in the Barrio del Carmen in 1094. They were never heard a meow higher than another. “ CUTE!!!!
Valencia has the largest indoor market of Europe! of course we went there and tasted all the goodies. Seranno ham, Chorizo, fresh fruit drinks and of course fruit! Did I mention the two chocolate bars I’ve bought? I’ve been good.. haven’t had a bite since I got home!
The newer part of Valencia is known for the Science and Art Museums. It’s really beautiful as you can see in this picture. The white mosaic isn’t just limited to the edges of the water.. nooooooo.. it’s everywhere! The entire building that you see, even the big round “helmet” you see in the distance is all covered in hand made mosaic! There were a lot of activities to do here besides visiting the museums. Like floating on water inside a ball, or riding a water bike etc
And now the FOOD….. OMG! Soooooo good!
We had all sorts of good food, from Paella to a big T-Bone Steak to Tapas to Cakes and Burgers. We were in so many different types of restaurants, even a football restaurant with grass on the walls and screens everywhere! Unfortunately I didn’t take a lot of pictures of all the delicious food we had..because.. hungry, but here are some photo’s for you to drool at.
These pictures are just a small part of what we did and saw but I hope you have an idea of how much fun and beautiful Valencia, Spain is.
Oh and if you ever come to visit Valencia, make sure to order the drink “Agua de Valencia”. It is known as “Valencian Water.” The origin of this delicious refreshing cocktail goes back to 1959 and comes from the bar Café Madrid de Valencia. Gin, orange juice, vodka, and Cava (or Champagne) are the basic ingredients of this famous Valencian Cocktail… yummmmmm!