Having class only a few days a week has its perks. One of them is having an extra day to travel on the weekends. Me and a few new friends decided to book a trip to Valencia. Valencia is a city on the eastern coast of Spain known for its beaches and it’s Paella. Paella is a famous Spanish dish that is cooked and served on a metal pan. It has rice, saffron, white and green beans, chicken, snail, and rabbit in it. I had the opportunity to try Paella in Madrid but declined because I decided that I wanted my first Paella to be an authentic one from its origin.
The famous vegetable paella that originated in Valencia!! We ate three pans this size.
We got to Valencia on Friday morning at 11 AM after a 4 hour bus ride. It turns out we couldn’t check into our hotel until 4 PM so we went straight to the beach. Unfortunately the beach was 7 kilometers from the bus station and we didn’t want to waste money on a taxi so we hopped on a random bus that looked to be going in the right direction. Luck was on our side because the bus ended up getting us to Playa Malvarossa! With suitcases in hand, we trudged through the thick white sand to a beach-side cafe and enjoyed salad, cold water, and burgers. We had our siesta while laying near the ocean under the sun. Eventually we took a bus back to our apartment to check in. One thing you learn while abroad is to always have a back up plan!
South Beaches of Valencia
On Saturday, we took a free 2-hour walking tour around Valencia. The most valuable lesson I hope to teach you as a traveling student with a tight schedule is this: Every single city you visit in Europe has a hidden secret. This secret is called Free Walking Tours. If you look up free walking tours of the city you are traveling to, you can sign up online and participate. The free tour guides show you around the most spectacular parts of the city and reveals information you wouldn’t be able to learn without their guidance. Our tour guide did a great job telling us secret facts about buildings and places in the city that we never would have known by walking around ourselves. My favorite part was the Kathedral of St. Mary of Valencia. Later we decided to check out the South Beaches of Valencia and some really cool museums.
The churches of Spain never cease to amaze me! An example of artistic beauty at a local church.
The architecture of the old-town was jaw dropping.
My first weekend trip was laid back but I’m glad I saw this beautiful city and I’m excited to explore more of this wonderful country. Sometimes while abroad you feel like you want to see the beauties of the entire continent, but some of the most beautiful places happen to be in your own country. I want to visit a lot of places before I head back to Minnesota in December as well- as should you if you travel abroad. Some of the places I plan to visit are Porto, Paris, Dublin, Rome, London, Athens, and Copenhagen.
Navigating the city of Valencia the old-fashioned way