November 18, 2013 by mariannat92
A couple of weeks ago I packed my bags for my first trip outside Lisbon to visit the lovely Natalie O in Valencia! I had been really missing Nat so it was so nice to get to see her again and get to explore her new home town (she’s also in my class at Manchester and is on her year abroad at the University of Valencia until January).
Before I set off I really didn’t know what to expect from Valencia, but I absolutely LOVED it!
When I first arrived we went to drop my stuff off at Natalie’s flat (which is muy bonito and in an extremely good location…. Very jealous!) and then went for a stroll around the centre of the city. I was really surprised by how beautiful Valencia was, and then it got dark and it got even better. After a while, and a lot of photos, we decided to stop for dinner at a nice-looking restaurant for Arroz Negro – it turned out that the restaurant was indeed very nice but also the most expensive meal I have had since leaving England! It was great though and so good to catch up with Nat after 2 months apart.
The next day we got up late and headed out sightseeing (obviously via Cien Montaditos, which seems to be somewhat of a Valencia institution!). Next we went to the Cathedral and climbed up the bell tower for a bit of a look-see.
The beautiful Miss O at the top of the Cathedral
The view of the city and the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències (City of Arts and Sciences)
The bell tower on top of the Cathedral, made even better by the planes flying overhead!
After the Cathedral we went for a wander around the old city via the incredible little food shops scattered throughout the centre. We had everything from frozen yoghurt to Japanese bubble tea – extremely welcome after two international-food-free months in Coimbra!
The central square
Some very pretty restaurants next to the Mercat Central
A beautiful Church that we came across, I love the decoration on the turrets
Valencia City Hall – very fancy!
After a LOT of walking about, without any real sense of direction or purpose, we realised that we were already halfway to the Ciutat de les Arts i les Cièncias, so we decided to walk there through the ‘River’. Don’t I mean that we swam there? Well, my friends, a few years ago (well, in 1960, according to Wikipedia) the Valencian Community got sick of the river flooding the city every year, so they diverted it around the outside of the city and turned the river bed into a huge park. This park is AMAZING. It is absolutely enormous and extremely popular with runners, cyclists, families and the like as it runs all the way through the centre of the city. It also has all sorts of sports pitches, kids’ entertainment (including an enormous model of Gulliver that they can climba all over, just like the Lilliputs) and cafes. After a very very very long walk we ended up in the incredible Ciutat…
El Museu de las Ciencias de Príncipe Filipe. Look, it’s a fish!
El Ágora with part of Oceanografic in the background. Look, it’s a whale!
Look, glittery stairs! I never cease to be amazed by the Ciutat, as you can tell.
When it got dark we started to get really hungry, so we headed back to the city centre to meet up with Noémie, Natalie’s amazing French flatmate. We went out to their favourite Italian restaurant for dinner and had the most incredible pastas! And Noémie kept us both entertained with her amazing reality magazine stories (the contents of which are probably best not repeated here…) and fortune telling games. Again, the food was AMAZING and I really enjoyed it!
Noémie is the best!
After dinner we went for a last-night walk around – this is the main Post Office! Mental.
The next day I sadly had go come back home to Portugal. I really enjoyed the weekend and absolutely loved Valencia! I’ve already got my eye on another trip back…