I have just come back from Valencia where my sista-friend Maya is now living.
I went for her, and had no idea where I was going...
I didn't look at any photos, guides, things-to-do before I left...
so wow, what a wonderful surprise when I got there!
Only 3 days of exploring,
but I fell in love with Valencia!!
The Old City was so beautiful, very easy to get lost in, full of independent shops and cafes, a glorious indoor market, and a myriad of churches. Street art adorns the walls, 'purple haze' Jacaranda trees and Orange trees abound, and people sit around in cosy squares enjoying the sunshine...
Running through the centre of the city is the 9km long park that used to be a river. After deadly floods in 1957 the river Turia was diverted out of the city, and in its place is a riverbed park, complete with bridges going over it. Sports pitches, people running and cycling everywhere, and skate parks: the place felt as movingly energetic as the original river.
But the park was also so tranquil, I fell asleep under a tree and meditated under another. Fountains, tree-lined avenues, sculptures and art, each section has a different feel. At one end is the futuristic City of Arts and Science (Tomorrowland was filmed there), and at the other, we meet the river, and climbing the small hill gives great views of the city and the mountains beyond. I walked the entire length of the river park, I felt so energised!
A word on the food... Coconut pudding with mango for breakfast, a mountain of tortilla and olives, and dinner in vegetarian restaurant La Tasta Ollettes: potato croquettes (the carrot one was amazing!), coconut milk rice with mango, avocado and sprouts, vegan moussaka and a apple strudel with soy cream to finish... and I'm in heaven! www.latastaolletes.com
and the beach! Wow! I spent the best part of two days on the beach. I walked the length of it, from the port (full moon and sunset) to the quaint Port Saplaya, otherwise known as 'Little Venice'... stunning and so, so quiet.
And finally... Cat House, a place for homeless cats to find refuge in the city... through a door too small for humans!