Saturday, November 24, 2012

Valencia - first impressions

“Valencia? What’s that? Never heard of it. I thought you said Venezia,” said my hairdresser, who was hopefully giving me that wash-and-wear haircut I value so much on trips.

As my daughter pointed out, I value Ari for his hairstyling skills and pleasant manners, not for his geographical expertise or insights. When he travels, Ari never goes to the same place twice. He’s of the been-there, done-that persuasion, and wants to see as much of this planet as he can.

And so we reached Madrid airport and wended our way through generic airport passageways to Terminal 4, gate K96, at the very edge of the universe – sorry, of the airport -- to await our flight to Valencia:
Madrid: An airport is an airport is an airport. 

Landed in Valencia. Walked down to the metro station, checked which stop to get off at – Xativa – and walked down the road to number 9, Plaza del Ayuntamiento:

Beautiful Plaza del Ayuntamiento, Valencia

The entrance to "our" building
Yep, I think I could easily get used to living in the center of Valencia! Despite the city noise, which is no worse than the noise in my daughter’s apartment in the center of Tel Aviv. And when the windows are tightly closed, the noise is much less noticeable. Oh, and being on a higher floor obviously helps, too. Fourth floor was fine, fifth or sixth are probably even better.

Since this specific apartment was obviously refurbished, arranged and furnished with tourist rental in mind, it’s a bit lifeless and devoid of character, unlike some of the apartments offered on Airbnb, which have a very unique, lived-in nature. One of them especially appealed to me in terms of its charm, but it was so full of photos, wall hangings, knickknacks and doodads that I wondered how the owner could bear to put her precious things in the hands of total strangers on a regular basis. Aren’t guests tempted to touch, feel, possibly dropping, breaking or tearing in the process? I’d have to ask the landlady.

Adding our personal mess to the rented apt.
If we were renting the apt for any length of time, rather than three nights, we’d probably endow it with a bit of our mess and personality (see photo. Yes, that's a mural decorating the living room wall.)

Though of course you can’t go so far as to hammer nails into the wall. And, talking of nails, that’s what was missing in this otherwise perfect apartment: A few hooks, towel racks, and such things on which to hang the hand-towel in the bathroom, your dressing gown, handbag, etc. The towel rack opposite the shower stall was so high that I’d need the stepladder to reach it. I mentioned these minor shortcomings in an email to the owner, and truly hope he does something about it, for the sake of future tourists.

Other than that, as I said, the place is perfect. Kitchen with everything you need for either a light meal or serious cooking; a spacious dining table, comfortable sofa, and so on.

Most important for us was the central location. Just take the elevator downstairs and walk out in any direction – you’re smack in the center of town, with friendly Tourist Information kiosk, shopping, eating, entertainment, antiques, city bikes for rent, all within walking distance.  And walk we did. And walk. And then walked some more.

A propos walking: It’s very easy to tell the locals from the tourists, and not only by the cameras, maps and backpacks they carry. It’s the clothes. To the natives, end-of-October spells Beginning-of-Winter, and they dress warmly with scarves and jackets. To many tourists, coming from colder climes, 17 deg C is still summer, and many girls are in shorts and flip-flops.

Recommended taberna: La Coveta, Calle de Vallanca. Intimate side-street, good food, pleasant service:
La Coveta is on the left
La Coveta menu

 Recommended tapas bar: Lizarran, a chain I enjoyed in Salamanca back in 2002. A huge selection of appetizing, delicious tapas.

Warning: Beware of local sangria. It may not be what you think.

Amazing site: Ciudad de las artes y las ciencias, Valencia

- to be continued -

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for that introduction to Valencia. But what are the main sites of interest?