It was an early start this morning, flying to Valencia. This flight departed from Bercy Airport, still no Charles de Gaulle but an upgrade on the last one. Think of Bercy Airport as Stansted, with Beauvais being the equivalent of Southend Airport. There were more French language issues in the airport. While queuing to board there was an announce that sounded as though it mentioned something about dix heures. It was quite foggy outside so would there be a delay for ten hours? As a wave of people turned around and walked across the terminal it became apparent that there had just been a gate change to 10F (or Dix F)!
Why visit Valencia? The answer more than just a cheap flight. It’s always somewhere I’ve fancied going, with the wonderful Santiago Calatrava architecture and the Mesalla Stadium, home of Valencia Club de Fotbol. Also I’ve head good things about Valencia from everyone I know who’s been there.
In Valencia I’m staying right next to the aforementioned Santiago Calatrava-designed City of Arts and Sciences, the stunning collection of modern architecture. This is a good mile and a half walk from the nearest Metro station and carrying 25kg of baggage in 31C is not that much fun. However the fantastic view from the hotel window would surely make this hike worthwhile. Will it be of the iconic bridge, the beautiful opera house or the planetarium? Or none of these. How about the Holiday Inn car park?
They still do walking tours into the evening here and for this one the guide was Elena (Ell-een-a). Elena gives it all the lisps and tongue rolls when saying Ballentheeeaa, although not as much as they do on Sky Sports coverage of Spanish football. Valencia is a beautiful city. Pretty much every style of architecture is covered, from Roman ruins to the modern stuff. This walking tour had a somewhat strange monetary collection system. Instead of simply handing over your donation, here you tell Elena how much you would like to give. She then writes out a receipt, of which you get a copy. I’m not sure if this is for some sort of tax or fraud prevention reason, or to simply psychologically encourage the customer to leave a bigger tip.
Central Valencia has a confusing layout with lots of narrow winding streets, where losing your bearings is easy to do. The easiest way to get back to the hotel was along a dried up river bed that is now been converted into an impressive park. As darkness was beginning to descend, I was slightly dubious about this route but needn’t have worried as half of Valencia seemed to be out jogging, rollerskating and walking there dog. I suppose it makes sense if you want to avoid heatstroke.