Valencia: a quick love affair

When traveling for an extended period of time, it’s generally inevitable that you’ll get sick. You’ll eat something funky, drink something contaminated, or in my case catch a rare eye infection that only happens in children….

So, getting sick and dropping over €400 on random doctors visits really gets in the way of seeing and eating good stuff. HOWEVER, I still got to see some really awesome sights in Valencia.

Valencia

I truly hope to go back to Valencia. It’s the perfect mix of modern chill and historical cool. There’s a ton to do, but you can also have a great time just wandering around. The FOMO factor isn’t that high, so it was actually a pretty perfect place to be under the weather. Since I was sleeping 16+ hours a day, I generally would get up and venture out for food and sights mid-afternoon and early evening.

Mercat Central

The Central Market of Valencia is one of the largest in Europe. Built in 1928, the mercat covers more than 8,000 square meters over two floors. It’s also a great example of the Valencian Art Nouveau architecture. It’s a truly beautiful space with tons of local delicacies to try. I took a daily stroll through the mercat to judge if I was feeling good enough to actually explore. Also, before heading out on my train to Madrid, I got some seriously posh goodies to snack on – marcona almonds, truffled cheese, the most delectable green Spanish olives (I generally hate olives, but these are life), and a freshly baked bready croissant. That entire lot cost me less than 5€!

Home Youth Hostel

When I arrived in Valencia, I went right to the hostel I’d booked. Sadly, I’d booked the hostel for July, not June. Basically I was winning at life – sick and nowhere to stay during peak travel season. Luckily the Hostleworld App came to my rescue and I was able to book a super highly rated hostel right next to the Mercat Central. The Home Youth Hostel was perfect. Super clean, big rooms, and the most genuinely friendly staff. The location was great too – right next to all the great restaurants in the Ciutat Vella (old town Valencia). They also provided a free family style dinner every night – this place was amazing.

Ciutat Vella

València was founded in the year 138 BC by the Romans. The Romans were followed by the Visigoths, and in the year 714 the city fell to the Moors. València remained under Moorish rule until 1238, when King Jaime I expelled the Moors from the city. The Moors had a significant impact on the region, and brought with them new irrigation methods, cuisine, and artistic influences that are still felt today. (credit: visitvalencia). Basically there is over 2,000 years of history in Valencia, and the Ciutat Vella is where is all happened. Fun fact, apparently the “Holy Grail” can be viewed at the Valencia Cathedral…I’m really upset that I didn’t get to see it, so many missed opportunities for  Monty Python references. I strolled past the Valencia Cathedral, had coffee with a view of la Plaza de La Virgen and made my way to the Museu de Belles Arts. There is so much  more to see and eat in Ciutat Vella – don’t even get me started on the fact that I DIDN’T eat Paellea in the motherland.

Museu de Belles Arts

So since I was on my deathbed, I was only able to go to one museum. I was also running out of money from ballin’ too hard in France, so I was strapped for cultural entertainment options. Enter, the Museu de Belles Arts. IT’S FREE AND IT’S NOT CROWDED! No tourists and stunning art – I don’t think it get’s better than this! It’s also near part of Turia Gardens so you get to see two things that makes Valencia special at once.

Even though I only got to see a fraction of what Valencia has to offer, it’s clear that it is an amazing city full of history, beautiful people, and great food. I highly recommend Valencia and hope to return some day.

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