We knew there was a station halt just up the road but enquiries at the hotel for the timetable to Valencia produced the usual Spanish shrug – No lo sé. Even the local Police having their morning drink in the café had no idea. There was some suggestion that there may be a train at 9.30. So we rushed our coffee and walked up the road to the station/halt. The train arrived at 10.30! Thank god it stopped.
Within an hour we were climbing out into the beautiful city of Valencia. This is one of my favourite places in Spain. All the interesting areas in the old city are within easy walking distance making it a great place to get lost and explore.
Everywhere you look there are outstanding buildings.
We dumped our sacks at Pension Paris http://www.pensionparis.com in the centre of the city. Lunch was a great squid bocadillo. Went exploring, climbed El Miguelete Tower in the Cathedral for fantastic 360 degrees views of the city and beyond. Wandered into the Barrio Carmen, the historic centre of the city, but now a Bohemian experience. Sat at a café, amidst the perfume of marijuana, enjoying a good coffee and the ambiance. Back at the hostale for a rest before dinner. There is only one place to dine in central Valencia – La Utielana. You will have to find it yourself in the backstreets. Home cooking from a wonderful family. Fish specials every night. The pieman was impressed.
In the morning I wanted to find a bank that houses temporary art exhibitions. Couldn’t remember where it was from the last time but the helpful man at the pension suggested the Bancaja nearby. Would you believe it there was a Picasso exhibition on. Faun, Centaur and Minotaur. Sketches from the1930’s exploring mythology and man’s relationship with animals. At the centre of the exhibit was a running video of a Ballet choreographed by Nijinsky with Nureyev performing – L’apres midi d’un Faune. Fantastic interpretation of Picasso’s images.
Watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qjvGIMeIhU Must see.
Into the city we were ready for a sit down and found the celebrated Santa Catalina horchateria in the backstreets. Horchata is a drink made from Tiger nuts and used as a refreshing pick-me-up. You dip fartons into it!
We made our way to the market, a fantastic mixture of colours and odours, with the locals buying their suppers of meat, vegetables and fish. We stocked up with dried fruit and nuts for presents at home.
Made the effort to cross town to the beautiful stylish old market which is being reinvented as a shopping /café mall.
Time for lunch at an outside café near the station – paella of course. 10 euros for three courses and drinks.
Sadly back to the elegant station for the train to Alicante and the flight home.