March 6th- March 8th
Valencia is a city I will never quite understand. Let me explain.
Last minute, I decided to sign up for a free trip offered by my abroad program to Valencia. It is the third largest city in Spain and just a little south of Barcelona. My roommates had family visiting and I had a weekend free to myself.
Seven other girls would be joining me on this trip. Three girls from New Jersey, two from Kansas, two from Pennsylvania, and myself. Right away, we all bonded.
After checking into the beautiful hotel and finding out I had a room all to myself, we were off to explore. This is when Valencia started to confuse me. Every day in the month of March a festival is put on by the city called Falles. The streets were flooded not with cars, but with people. Young girls were dressed in traditional gowns and firecrackers were going off all around the city. Apparently, everyone in Valencia gets out of school and off work early to watch a firework show at 2pm. The firework show doesn’t have any light, just noise. Every time we missed the actual show, but definitely heard it. I just didn’t see the attraction in watching smoke.
My program provided us with a four hour tour of the city at 3:30pm. The tour guide took us to the city’s main cathedral, museums, the narrowest apartment in Spain, the beach, and my favorite, the City of Arts and Sciences. The City of Arts and Sciences includes an IMAX theatre, a museum, an opera house, a plaza for concerts, and other modern buildings. It is a beautiful area surrounded by water and a park.
In the morning, the girls from Pennsylvania met me for a delicious breakfast on the ninth floor of our hotel. We began to plan our day. It was suppose to be 75 degrees all day. We knew we had to do something outside on this gorgeous day.
Down the street there was shop to rent bikes. 15 euros later and we were off! Our first destination was through the plaza and to the main park. On the way, we came across fascinating bridges. Each bridge was designed at a different time with a different theme in mind. The one we crossed was the garden of flowers. The entire bridge was covered in pink, red, and white flowers.
Eventually, we arrived at the City of Arts and Sciences again to visit the aquarium. This aquarium is the largest in Europe. It was certainly the best I’ve ever been too. The aquarium was split into eight different sections depending on the type of environments of the animals. To name a few, there were flamingos, penguins, seals, dolphins, and their famous beluga whales.
After the aquarium, we hopped on our bikes and rode to the beach. We ate more tapas at a restaurant along the sand. It was time to relax and get a tan. It was just warm enough for us to lay out for a few hours. Later, we rode our bikes back to the hotel to take a nap before going out for the night.
Around 10pm, we left the hotel to find a restaurant for dinner. Outside, everything madness. People were carrying beers, walking in the street, and lighting off firecrackers. I just don’t understand this city. Kids off all ages were lighting off fireworks where ever they pleased. I was constantly dodging freshly lit, mini explosives and wincing every time I heard a “boom”. Nobody else even flinched.
Only waking up for the breakfast and a shower, it was already time to leave this bizarre, beach town. Valencia was incredible. I was so happy I decided to make the journey by myself. Valencia gave me new friends, a different view of Spain, wonderful experiences, and even a tan!
My Valencia recommendations:
- City of Arts and Sciences
- Bike ride (through the park)
- Cathedral (wish we would have went inside)
Hopefully, if you ever visit Valencia, you experience the nice weather. Watch out for the fireworks, if you are going in March, and make sure to visit the City of Arts and Sciences at least once! Enjoy Valencia.