"It's not much but it's ours"

Monday, May 01, 2006


I awoke feeling very jaded the next morning. In part due to the slow digestion process of the previous night’s supper, but mostly because I knew that, in a few short hours, we would be headed home.

Although this was our first visit to Valencia, we found it fit our sensibilities ( as so much of Spain does ) like a lambs wool glove. Whenever we are in this country, we feel immediately at home. We know how the things work and how, more or less, to get what we want. It is a great feeling, to be far away from home but to feel immediately at home.

There had been some silly talk the night before of finishing our trip with another visit to an Asador. Fortunately, we had both seen sense and decided on some exercise instead

First, Back to BAR MICALET for a coffee, some mint tea and some orange juice while we read the Sunday papers and watched the smartly dressed people getting ready for church including a few small children dressed for their first communion.

We had only spend a small amount of time in Cabanal, the beach area, so HP has suggested a journey back there to end our trip. As the weather was in the high 20’s it seemed like a fun idea. We set off to Malvarossa using the efficient and clean tram system that covers much of the city. It was packed with people, young and old, heading out to enjoy the sunshine.

When we arrived, it looked like most of Valencia’s 750,000 people had had the same idea. The Paseo Maratimo was packed. Old couples dressed up to the nines walked arm in arm, young couples draped over each other and families argued and chatted as only the Spanish seemed able. The din was deafening. Much of it appeared to be in Valencian, a language that, to my untrained ear sounded like a hybrid of Catalan and French. Everything is dual language here and the population is intensely proud of its local traditions.

We popped into a bar for a beer, well of course we did LA ALGERIA DE LA HUERTA was a perfect place to stop for a beer before a walk up and down the two mile promenade.

Then, back to CASA MONTANA, this time filled with people eating lunch. More TsiXtorra and Croquetta and a couple of glasses of wine were just about enough to top off the weekend.

A long route march back to the centre of town and a couple of beers later saw us in a cab and heading on the short journey to the airport and home.

One is always despondent when returning from a holiday ( unless the words Centre Parcs are involved, of course ) but this time the effect was much more in sharp relief.

Putting the grey gloom of London against the blue skies of Spain is unfair, I agree. Putting the elegance of the people, young and old, against the boorish yobs we encountered on the train back from Gatwick is not. I am certain that living in Spain brings its own problems and frustrations. I am sure that there are many things there that would, if I had any, make me tear my hair out. However, as we stood on the grubby platform at the airport waiting for a train that had been delayed due to vandalism after waiting for 45 minutes for our bags ( mine of course, came out dead last, naturally )because of the ineptitude of the baggage handlers and then getting on what must have been thirty year old rolling stock which was ingrained with the piss and vomit perfume that had been recently added to by a teenager who had spent the afternoon drinking, made our hearts plummet.

I am not sure HP is quite at this stage, but I am rapidly getting to the point in my life where time not spent in Spain seems like dead time.

But, don't let the gloom of our return colour the fact that we had a magnificent weekend. I adore all of Spain. Madrid is, quite possibly my favourite city anywhere. I count our recent tour of the Basque region, Galicia and Castilla Y Leon as one of the great holidays of my life and, for different reasons, I adore going to our holiday home in Andalucia. Valencia, however hit a chord. The weather? Certainly after all, it does get 300 rainless days a year. The people? Without a doubt. Friendly and helpful. The food? Well, hopefully the above posts will have persuaded you of the worth of what they have to offer.

Mainly though, it is because it truly is a Spanish city which has yet to suck on the tourist phallus as hungrily as some of its neighbours. Of course, it is going to change and we are as guilty of taking advantage of the Easy Jet effect as anyone and I see more and more people organising stag parties in their future. But, I hope it maintains the things we saw on this trip that make it a very very special place indeed.

I will be counting the days until I return
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what's your preference, Catalunya or Valencia??

Thanks for posting your trip - I've missed them.


Thursday, May 04, 2006 11:16:00 am  

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