Now? official: Spain? my second country! Yes ... I am convinced more and more. This time I realize the desire to see Valencia, the third city? Spanish.
Fortunately for me, my wife Laura and my daughter Serena share my passion for this land ... come on, let's go!
With the usual advance, in January, after monitoring for a couple of weeks, a day when prices had dropped by about 20? per person compared to the average, I buy tickets for the period 26/30 June with Ryanair direct flight from Palermo: total for 3 including purchase of assigned seat and priority boarding 240 ?. In the following days I begin to study the city? and I find a hotel that meets my needs: breakfast included, air conditioning, mini fridge, well served by public transport and reviews from 8 points to climb.
And here is June 26? arrived and at 18:20 pm we leave for Spain: Valencia.
We arrive slightly late and from the airport itself (how cool!) We take the red metro line 3 (there is also line 5, depending on where you have to go) but be careful why? on the same line there are 2 different terminus as at a certain point the line splits. Before for? do we buy a subscription that costs us 20? and practically every time it is used, according to the cost of the ticket - what can? vary based on whether you are in zone AB or C - it is deducted from the credit. Do a little? 2 accounts ... I used it to come and go from the airport and for A / R from the sea and I have 4 left over?
The Metro ? sparsely populated and fairly clean. After about twenty minutes and about fifteen stops, we got off at Benimaclet, which is just about ten meters from the Olympia Universidades hotel (Doctor Vicent Zaragoza, 13, Valencia, 46020) What? located about ten meters from the exit of the metro station and about 15 minutes walk from the center.
The hotel? in a modern and very simple style. At the entrance, before the reception, you will find the breakfast room and the bar at the back. Do they speak Italian so? as I had read on Booking.com. Going up to the room, first I had a wince for the carpet in the corridor, even a little? worn, but entering the room I pleasantly discover that here c? a beautiful new parquet, cheers! I hate carpet! In the summer then ... no danger! The room ? a little? cramped to be a triple, but otherwise it has everything there? what to render? comfortable our stay: mini fridge, air conditioning, nice big tv with italian channels,? very clean and quiet! Experience more? that's positive. I for 4 nights in a triple room with a pi? what good breakfast included did I pay 420? ... I think it is good value for money. Also consider that 5 meters outside the door there are metro-tram-bus stops that take you wherever you want to go ... Write it down!
We quickly place the bags and, since? are they already? almost 22, we go immediately to find something to eat. It takes us very little, why? right next door to the hotel? the entrance of? 100 montadidos ?, which we already had? appreciated in Seville a couple of years ago, we do not hesitate and for our first Valencian meal we sit here: nothing more? practical, fast and, why? no, cheap. After dinner, we go back to the room, fix a bit? the bags and go to sleep.
As we like to do to optimize the time of the holiday we get up early, at 7.00. We get ready and by 8 we go down to breakfast. Very good quality, not excessive assortment, but there was enough salty and abundant sweetness for all tastes. Soon after we go up to take the backpacks and we leave for the first day of the city tour. As always, in order to make the most of the city, we go on foot, and starting from the hotel we cross the royal garden, then from porta serrans, barr? O del Carmen with its beautiful streets, up to Placa de la Regina, the cathedral square.
The square has a rectangular shape, very elegant and full of clubs and shops. Here, and this seems to be one of the few exceptions, we also see some street vendors. Beautiful central garden full of flowers, if you want, if the time and temperature are ideal, you can? sit and enjoy a bit? this site and this city? wonderful. From here, for those interested in this type of experience, the open buses for the city tour also depart.
Unfortunately, the bad luck did s? that the famous tower of the Miguelete in the days of our stay in the city? was closed for work? a great pity! For 8? you will have entrance tickets and audio guide in Italian Ah, here Payment only cash, no cards?
It has 3 entrances (portals) all in different styles, the baroque portal? De losHierros ?; the Portal? degli Apostoli ?, in Gothic style and the? Portal dell? Almodaina? in Romanesque style.
Inside there are various chapels: of San Pietro, San Tommaso de Villanueva, San Francisco Borja. The altar and the apse are beautiful, with the 2 large opposite wooden doors that cut the altar transversely, marking the axis that oriented the Mezquita towards Mecca; behind c ?? the chapel of the resurrection with the relic: the arm of St. Vincent martyr, in front of this the statue of the Virgin of the Choir which seems to be good for pregnant women who observe some rituals during the visit (9 tours of the cathedral, one for each month ), then the chapel of San Giacomo with the statue of Bishop Andres of Albala, the one who, in the thirteenth century, ordained? the construction of the cathedral, and the cornerstone where do you think it began? the building, which in any case was built where already? other places of worship pre-existed: a Roman temple first and a Muslim mosque later. Next to it, the chapel of San Dioniso martire and Santa Margherita martire.
One of the rooms that make up the oriented path of the visit to the cathedral is dedicated to the museum of the same with the monstrance more? 5 m high in the world,? in silver (it is said that 600 kg + 1 kg of gold and 750 g platinum dj were needed) the very ancient manuscripts exhibited here are beautiful.
Following, finally, the famous hall of the holy grail, where? guarded since 1916 (although it is said to be in this cathedral - since it was donated by King Alfonso the Magnanimous - from the middle of the th century and after countless vicissitudes. The cup where Jesus drank during his last supper ... it will stop your breath from the emotion: suggestive !! To frame this archaeological jewel, a wall (retablo) in entirely carved alabaster
The next destination, not far from the cathedral, right in the barrio del Carmen,? the? Valencian Sistine Chapel ?, or the Church (iglesia) of San Nicola venerated here in Valencia from the th CENTURY (he lived in Asia Minor in the th century after his remains arrived in the Apulian city, that's why it is called that (and of San Peter martyr).
It was one of the first churches in the city, built in the th century, it boasts a perfect balance between Gothic and Baroque. The beautiful interior frescoes were made at the turn of the th century by Antonio Palomino and was later restored by the same artist who restored it. The Sistine Chapel. But the real work of enhancement and restoration? been recently concluded.
To report the multitude of chapels that frame the church, where there are a sequence of religious images and centenary statues, including the chapel of San Raffaele with Santa Teresa and Santa Barbara. Saint Anthony of Padua with statue of Saint Rita Calvary and the baptismal font, Saint Giuda Taddeo, advocate of desperate causes. Wonderful the main altar where many of the scenes represented are based on the life of the 2 martyrs to whom the church? dedicated. We took the combined ticket, which includes a visit to the silk museum exhibition? La loja sella seta? 8? adults 4? minors. The cost of the ticket included the audio guide, thanks to which we were able to better appreciate the splendid works represented here. Are we already? at lunchtime, do we continue our tour?
An explosion of colors, scents and flavors! In practice, while you turn, even more? that we arrived at lunchtime, taste here and there? the products that pi? attract your curiosity? and you hardly realize how much, what and how you eat !! But do you eat ... a lot ... between one stall and the other the prices are the same and the quality? mashed potato. I, among other things, for 2? I got some big glasses kept cool in counters full of crushed ice full of fresh fruit that are the end of the world!
IS? It is wonderful to see how in Spain (I mention the triana market in Seville or the boqueria in Barcelona?) they manage to transform a? simple market? in an amazing attraction? ? all perfectly clean, c ?? the air conditioning, the bathrooms (50 cents), the sellers are not pushy at all, the goods? exposed with maniacal care. Very beautiful!
Open every day except Sunday
Leaving the market, we went to the famous and ancient horchateria Santa Catalyna-I confess more? out of curiosity? that for hunger - but so much ?? ... here you can choose between their famous horzata (but I had tasted it at the central market and I didn't appreciate it for nothing), churros with hot chocolate or other sweets. The girl who served us was very nice and very kind. Churros and hot chocolate for 3 around 14 ?. But I always remain of the idea that we Italians in the field of sweets and pastries, so? as in the whole gastronomy,? hard to find better than our home! But? it was worth taking a look at this ancient shop.
Plaza de Toros
Adjacent to the ruzafa district, right next to the north station, it was built in the middle? of the 19th century, after countless unsuccessful attempts, where demonstrations relating to bulls were actually celebrated. Since then it has undergone several renovations and changes, also why? in the 40s there was a fire. The last intervention dates back only to 2010? Today it also hosts artistic and cultural events, such as exhibitions, concerts? etc A curiosity? what concerns the eventual planning of bullfights? given by a system of display of flags in the pylons at the top of the arena: these indicate what type of bullfighting will have? place (young bulls, mature bulls etc?). For 2? you can also visit the bullfighting museum, if you are interested.
Built at the beginning of the last century in a 'modernist' style, the façade bears sculptures of Valencian agricultural products such as oranges and flowers. The interior looks like a living room, all clean and tidy as you rarely get? To see.
Silk Museum. (Lonja del la Seda)
Site declared a World Heritage Site ? Here you will be able to see and understand what and how much importance silk had then in the distinction of social classes, as well as in the economy of the time. A tour that begins with the discovery and establishment of the Silk Road and gradually until you get to the period pi? prosperous of this product between the th and th centuries When this industry was first recognized by the ruler of the time as? art? and then? college? the category adopted? as patron saint San Girolamo.
At the end of the tour, we pass by the souvenir shop, where, considering the prices even more? affordable shops scattered around the city? , I recommend a stop.
After this artistic and cultural part of the first day in Valencia, now we dedicate ourselves to as many tourist passions: shopping.
And here there are obligatory stops: hard rock for the collection of various sweaters and sweatshirts; Starbucks for the cups and, of course, the frappuccino (which here from 17.00 to 19.00 they offer at 2x1!); then primeark right behind the bullring
Satisfied with what we have done and seen so far, we return for a pit stop at the hotel.
For dinner we identified a restaurant where we read they make a very good paella: the Restaurante Flor de Valencia, Avinguda del Cardenal Benlloch, 22, 46017 Valencia. ? It is important to know that without a reservation there is no seat, so I called and booked a table. The local ? very elegant, the service level and speak a good Italian. Immediately after taking the order they offer us very good snacks. For a fish appetizer, an abundant and delicious paella, desserts and coffee? we paid 115 ?. If you are planning to treat yourself to an elegant dinner in a very refined place where you can eat really well, I suggest you take it into consideration.
To clear our conscience for the lavish meal, so? as on the way, we retrace the 3 km left to get to the hotel on foot, taking a nice walk along the Tur? a gardens for a long and pleasant stretch.
These gardens I have classified as one of the flagship flowers of Valencia. A huge green lung (but not the only one) for the city, which the Valencians live intensely. Will you notice how people experience it? running, walking, relaxing, picnicking, cycling or skating on the special tracks, doing activities? physics with lots of gym equipment in the appropriate areas, playing football, rugby or baseball, in the regulation fields present there. For the pi? small there are dedicated areas with playgrounds.
Have they transformed what was a major problem in the 50s, a river that inundated? the city ?, in a beautiful, majestic and very useful work! In practice, after this tragic flood of 1957, the Tur? A river was diverted into an artificial course and dried up, hence the creation of this immense green area that has made and still makes happiness. of Valencians and tourists (mine for sure!)? Brilliant!
Thursday? June 28
For this day I had already? I have long bought tickets from Musement (also taking advantage of an Ikea promotion that gave me 10% discount if I had purchased from this operator by entering the code IKEAFAM10 ;-)) and booked for 10.00. The combined ticket includes the visit to the oceanographic, the science museum and the hemisferic. And it costs 38? for adults and 24? for those under 13 not completed.
So, after my experience, I want to give some tips to make your possible visit more? practice: start from the oceanographic, and if you really want to see the rest, take note of the times in which the hemisferic gives the film screenings in Italian (during the day they give 2/3 ...) Keep in mind that the first part takes at least 3/4 hours. Also in this case, first check the timetable of the dolphinarium performances - which in my opinion remains the most important part. interesting about the visit? rather than go and wait for the show to start - and the rest can be seen as and when you please. The section with sharks, the tropical, the arctic and the Mediterranean are noteworthy.
Inside, the prices of the places that serve food are very high, between one tour and another we went to the El Saler shopping center - just opposite - and got a couple of burgers from McDonald's ... or you can opt to bring you something takeaway consume it when needed (even if here and some sign says? no picnic)
In summary ... if I could go back, I would only see the oceanographic at most, but only if this does not take time away from other attractions among those scheduled to visit!
We leave at 18 pm and return to the hotel to freshen up.
We love to walk on vacation, I find it a better way? intense to experience the city. Even here we do so? and we keep what? our average: 20 km a day of healthy walking! This allows us some? Food excess? in more? , Moreover...
Speaking of this, given the tiredness that is felt, we opt to have dinner in the area of our hotel, and then I take a look at TripAdvisor and spot a couple of places to eat tapas, why? tonight - after last night's paella, we want to eat those. For further scruple, I ask the receptionist and she recommends me one of those I already had? under the eye: awarded!
RESTAURANTE EL RINC? N DEL DUENDE, Carrer del Dr. Vicent Zaragoza, 52, 46020 Valencia,? a small but characteristic place. The fact that you? immediately filled with natives (others waited a long time for the tables to be vacated) it immediately gave us hope. The waiter ? it was very nice: to make us understand better the dishes they serve, he left his mobile phone in his hand to let us look at the photos of the dishes. I confess that from the photos we did not understand the proportions, so in the end? Turns out we exaggerated a bit? ...
But this is still an excellent place to eat tapas and more ... for 10 different tapas, 3 cuttlefish, a plate of tuna and chicken with tomato and peppers, a sort of giant bruschetta, a? Jar? of sangria, water and coke we paid 45 ?.
Walk for digestion and then to bed.
Today we want to finish seeing - and in some cases see more? thoroughly, the historic center of the city? and some things missing from our original program. And, of utmost importance, complete the shopping for all the various souvenirs that we have a habit of bringing to friends and family. Let's start with the barrio del Carmen, a network of streets full of thousands of shops, tapas bars and restaurants where, among other things, we have found attractive prices. The atmosphere in this place is beautiful, not to be missed. Afterwards we go to the Quart torres.
This was one of the 4 armed and guarded entrances to the city? ? as well as a warehouse and women's prison, built in the 1931th century in the Gothic style. In the 2th century they were used by the government as a military prison and later, in , they were declared a? Historic monument ?. For ? head up to the top from where you can? appreciate a beautiful perspective on the whole city? and take some nice pictures.
Then we arrive at Placa de la Virgen, where we overlook the Bas? Lica de la Virgen de los Desamparados, dedicated to the Madonna and the miracles attributed to her during the period of the plague, and where inside there is a chapel dedicated to the royals of Spain the cathedral of Santa Maria: not far away you can see the beautiful palace of the generalitat (the government building of the city?)
The square pi? important of the city? of Valencia today? called "Plaza del Ayuntamiento", but in its history it has had various names ", until 1987 when it assumed its current name. The area was born After having demolished the Franciscan convent in 1891, using the spaces and gardens of the same The current appearance is the result of several projects.
Next stop, again at the central market where we had previously seen some small objects we wanted to buy and, already? that we are, still a couple of glasses of freshly cut fruit that doesn't hurt.
A few minutes away we find the palace of the marques de le aquas, an extraordinary work of excellent Baroque Rococ style? that ? also home to the ceramic museum. Built in the middle? from the th century, it belonged to the noble family of the marquisate dos aquas. The real focal point of the structure? definitely the main facade, with the beautiful alabaster sculptures. It seems that previously there were still others, but that the atmospheric agents have damaged them irreversibly.
We continue for a quick visit to the colon market, which does not have much? met my expectations, since I imagined it as a sort of competitor in the central market ... but? very different and much more? small. but if you are close to it, take a walk, if only for the beauty of the external facade (or to go to the bathroom for free, if you need it?)
Continuing our program, we go to see the placa redona, a small circular square with a little? of premises and some kiosk that I? really liked. Here too we take a couple of memories to take to friends and relatives as tradition dictates. We continue to the beautiful placa of the Puerta del mar, at the end of calle colon, where there is a sort of small Brandenburg gate that originally was the gateway to the royal palace and the city? afterwards. But this current, of course,? a recent playback.
From here we walk along the very elegant calle Colon with all its prestigious shops, like Louis Vuitton, to name one, a famous shopping center,? El corte Ingles? and much more. Worth a nice walk.
We then continue to the hotel, then we eat a couple of sandwiches and then change and run to the much vaunted Playa di Malvarrosa!
Right in front of our hotel we take the tram line 6 direction? Maritim-serreria? and, after about ten minutes, we get off at the Eugenia Vines stop. Ticket cost: 1,50? each way. Once you get off the vehicle, we just have to cross the road and discover the magnificence of this place with our own eyes!
Huge spaces, absolute cleanliness, sports areas as far as the eye can see, showers, toilets, beautiful people ... really an experience that I already know? will stay? indelible. Indeed, I promised myself that malvarrosa (together with the Albufera park, which we were unable to reach) will be? one of the reasons why I will return in a few years? in Valencia! And that says it all ...
After having refreshed our soul, around 19 pm, we take the tram back to the hotel. Here I had the suspicion that I had probably done all the way - let's say so? - a little? of confusion with tickets: they had to be stamped, but I didn't understand this mechanism well and was I lucky? 10 minutes and we arrive, we get off the metro and we are immediately at the hotel.
A nice shower and still out for dinner and a spin. I had in mind to go to? Scout? the Ruzafa area for dining, but while we were on the street, not far from the destination, I see a place with many windows, well lit and really full of people. Neco Mediterranean buffet - Calle de Pascual y Gen? S, 9 - 46002 Valencia. I take a peek at TripAdvisor and I discover it is an? All you can it? Formula ... the reviews are not excellent, but not bad either ... but yes, let's try this experience too!
We sit down, order a drink (and this is paid separately) and then you can? go to the buffet to get what you want. Some things weren't bad, I must admit, but clearly no quality could be expected. of unlikely level for the amount you pay: for 3 of us with drinks we paid 38? 10.90 each pi? soft drinks. I point out the excellent mussels, a decent paella, an excellent roast, lots of fruit, desserts and ice creams that will surely find a match in the tastes of many. After the little gourmet dinner, we indulge in our inevitable, how healthy, walk back to the hotel. Half an hour to still enjoy this beautiful city, Valencia in the evening / night, if? possible,? even more? fascinating? the lights of the gardens of the tur? a with its Ferris wheel, the bridges, notably the bridge des le flors, the bridge de la exposici? and the beautiful pont del mar, in plaza de america are really very impressive. Pay for such beauty? Now to bed
Last day ... a little? of sadness peeps out, but even this? put into account? the secret? think already? to the next trip! After breakfast we go back to prepare the luggage which we then left at the hotel to collect them in the afternoon when, right from the metro stop in front of us, we will go to the airport. I confess that even in this the hotel has shown an excellent organization and the same availability!
Now we do not know what to do among the things that we had proposed again: the albufera was the most? suggestive, but perhaps the time left? little and I do not want to do everything in a hurry and risk being too late ... so in the end we still go down to the center to revive still places already? seen so? we can enjoy it even more. A walk without haste, without deadlines ... just pure emotions. Only note? Out of tune? ? that on Saturday ... it seems that tourists have tripled: c? a lot of people !!
I admit that even wandering like this, aimlessly and without anxiety,? a nice experience. Do you enjoy hidden corners that before, perhaps for the tight deadlines and the frenzy of being able to show how many more? possible things, you wouldn't notice, you stop to look at the locals, how do they live, how do they work, how much? available with tourists ... More Shopping, then lunch, a bit? to relax and shortly after we return to take the trolleys to set off comfortably at the airport.
Allow me some thoughts on this trip and the city:
Valencia? really a city? lovely, very clean and efficient, people? quiet and helpful. Are the prices quite affordable, especially when compared to other big cities? European. There are no window washers (and yet there are thousands of traffic lights!), Have I never noticed people who could give suspicion of the pickpockets or thieves type?
In some moments ? happened to hear a bad smell coming from the grates of the sewer system along the streets of the center, but it was not always and not everywhere. I didn't understand what could be causing this problem, but actually? cause for annoyance.
But really me? loved it. IS? it was a wonderful experience, which enriched me and that even more? made me fall in love with spain. Hope one day to be able to go back?
Thanks for your attention and sorry if I have dwelt? But writing I relived every emotion and I could not not transfer it in these lines!
Make many trips, good life to all!