Thursday, January 12, 2012

Valencia-what lies therein?

We did a mistake by having too much fun the night before the journey to Valencia.  We had fun-time with our hosts and arrived at the Atocha train station with about 10 minutes to the renfe train station.  Oh, how we ran and ran...
We finally made it into the train when an announcement came on the PA system.  It was in Spanish and I think it was to announce the train departing from the station.  A while later, the train moved.  Phew, we almost miss the train! 
Inside the train
The journey from Atocha to Valencia took three hours.  The train was similar to the one we took to Toledo.  
Clean and comfortable
Toilet..that of an airplane standard
Map of Spain - Valencia
Valencia situated along the coast of Spain is the third largest city after Madrid and Barcelona.  The view I had from the window of my seat was beautiful and serene.  I could not give up the sights to catch up on my sleep having slept at 3 am the night before. 
Out of a tunnel...
And...into another
renfe station in Valencia
After three hours, we finally arrived in Valencia.  We had a pleasant ride and with the clean toilet, there was nothing to complain.  The journey cost € 48.25  per person.  Travelling without following a tour has its disadvantages too.  We had to walk for almost an hour from the train station to where we were to stay.  We had to walk through an underground (tunnel) and boy; the tunnel had an awful stench of urine!  Some Valencian do not pee in the toilet.  
We found that travelling on our own gave us more freedom.  We could have our food anytime and anywhere.  We decided to stop by a side-walk cafe and have some snacks. Tapas was what we had.  The cafe we stopped by had a Nigerian who spoke to us in English.  It was a pleasant surprise.  We ordered what he recommended. **Tapas are small bites of food served with every glass of wine or beer. Some say tapas are, all about gathering socially with friends to enjoy a drink or two and have a bite to eat.  It can be served as small pieces of food or  food eaten with pieces of baguette. It is usually served cold.
Spaniards and their favourite time.
I have always wanted to eat at a sidewalk cafe.  I never had the opportunity as we had always travelled in Group Tour and with a guide.  Our food arrived after a while.  We had potato salad, eggs fried with onions and chorizos (Spanish sausage).  The eggs tasted like how I prepared them at home.  The food was edible and nothing spectacular.  It was the time spent watching the people walked by and the cool winter air blowing.
potato salad, fried eggs with onions, bread and chorizos (clockwise)
Man in picture getting ready the chairs and tables for business
We proceeded with our walk to our host's place.
I noticed that Valencia was dirtier than Madrid.  I got a little bit worried as we made our way towards Paula's (our host) place. [click on link-Paula to read more]
This is it!
"We are here", hubby announced.  "What?"  I was puzzled.  Where is the garden? I asked myself. (Actually, many thoughts ran through my mind at that moment.)  It was mentioned a house in her site.  Once inside, I could not look more surprised.  It was what I wanted, to be inside a Spanish home. Paula & Paco (airbnb) showed us to our room.  
Balcony just outside our room
Rocking chair which hubby enjoyed daily
opposite of Plaza Ayuntamiento
We had a short rest (mostly our feet) and then decided to take a stroll down to the city.  Paula's home is situated quite near the city.  She briefed us on the bus routes and location of the bus stand.  Hubby decided that we should walk, as that was the best way to see the city.
 Plaza Ayuntamiento
North Train station in Valencia (estacion de norte)
We walked from the city back to Calle de Pranas.  Hubby decided to drop by a restaurant recommended by Paula, Bar La Pergola.  The young man who attended to us speaks totally 'No English'. The Bar was packed with patrons watching a football match on TV.  We signed; spoke some Spanish words like Bravas, food and Sangria.  We sat and waited with lots of hope.  It was fun waiting without knowing the kind of food coming out of the kitchen.  
Bravas with shredded pieces of pork (el cerdo)
The plate of aromatic deep fried anchovies, calamari and prawns arrived. The deep fried seafood was delicious and it was nothing like what we had eaten in Malaysia.  The batter was light, crispy and tasty.  This time the Bravas came served differently with sliced grilled pork. We loved the sangria.  The sangria served was stronger (with more alcohol) than the one we drank in Madrid.   It came served in a traditional sangria pitcher!  
I could not resist buying a fruit on our way to the restaurant.  Our host in Madrid had made some jam with it.  We had the young Spanish man cut it up for us.  It looked like a pear and I gave it a bite.  Eew...It tasted sour and full of sap.  Hubby followed suit and he too had sap stuck to his teeth. 
We walked 'home' with sap from the membrillo stuck to our teeth. Once back 'home' we googled and found out that the English name is Quince.  We do not have Quince in Malaysia but we do have pears.  I told hubby, we would 'stick to pears'.  That was our first day in Valencia.  It was a good day with wonderful weather. :o) ** Address of Bar La Pergola-C.I.F: B-96.558.812. C/ Cadiz 96 - 46006 Valencia. Telef: 963 342 750


Mr.Clive said...

freakin' jealous now. wish could be there! hmm...but maybe not this year.yet.maybe next year!
but all the same,thanks for sharing! :D said...

Sorry I did what I had to do...share. LOL..start saving from today. Go next year. That was what we did. All the best and TQ for visiting. :o)

zzanyy said...

Wow! I'm jealous! It's one of the places I would love to go. =) said...

Hi Zannyy, Go on make plans.What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. TQ for visiting my blog. :o)

Anonymous said...

Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is fantastic blog. A great read. I will certainly be back.
Lil Piggles Pet Chews - 300 Count said...

Hi Lisa, I wish...I wish I have more pictures to put up here. We were in Valencia for only three days. Anyway, am glad you enjoyed reading. TQ for coming by. Best wishes. :o)