Adventures in Spain – 12 Hours in Valencia

Whenever you plan a trip on a short time frame (2 weeks is short when you want to see everything), you will always have places you regret you did not stay at longer and places you wish you spent less time in.  Sadly I can’t change that my time in Valencia was way too short.  I almost cut it completely out of my itinerary based on lonely planet and etc. websites’ commentaries about it not being that exciting.  Little did I know that this would be one of my favorite cities I visited.

Like many European cities, Valencia had a river running through it, Turia; however, after a major flood it was diverted and turned into a runner’s dream.  It is now a verdant sunken park that allows cyclists and pedestrians to traverse much of the city without the use of roads. Basically my dream! The park, called the ‘Garden of the Turia’ (Jardí del Túria/Jardín del Turia) has everything in it from numerous ponds, paths, fountains, flowers, football pitches, cafés (with cheap beer and wine!), artworks, climbing walls, an athletics track, a zen garden and more. My mom and I took a short stroll there on our way to l’oceanografic.

I really regretted the early train I had in the morning.  I wish I had the next morning to go for a run!

My mom enjoyed the water fountains.

Our slow stroll got us hungry and luckily a food stop was right in our path.

Tuna Salad and potatoes with some cerveza (beer).

After lunch we headed towards L’Oceangrafic, my main reason for the stop in Valencia.  The largest aquarium in Europe and the 4th largest in the world.  Care to take where #1 resides in? USA! USA!  Haha JK, well not really, it’s in Georgia by Atlanta and I have now bumped up Atlanta once more on a higher list of places I want to see in the US.

The park is dividend into 10 habitats with 45,000 animals of 500 different species including fish, mammals, birds, reptiles and invertebrates — amongst these are sharks, penguins,dolphins, sea lions, walruses, beluga whales, and more.

If you never get a chance to scuba (which would be a shame) going into one of these aquariums with an overhead passageway is probably the closest and most amazing thing to seeing the underwater world.

I even found Nemo!

Shark food!

These guys reminded me of ghosts when they swam over my head.

Another thing about Valencia… paella, an amazing concoction of rice, seafood and green veggies!  A signature dish in the area!

Yea, clearly it was awful and I hated every bite as I ate it all.

My mom ordered ravioli which was good, but not as good as paella.

Another reason why I loved Valencia might have been the awesome hotel I got from Hotwire for only $100 (Yup, USD not Euro).  It was the Westin- Valencia, right off Turia Gardens and about half a mile from the town center.







I’m always a little (okay sometimes a lot) disappointed by what hotwire calls “4 star” hotels and the results I get, but this was finally a true win.  We have a pretty large suite with two comfy beds (usual Westin Comfort), two little couches, desk and open space.

There was a separate room for toilets and a room with a separate double headed shower on one half a giant bathroom on the other side.  Not to mention this weird hallway of mirrors in our room that I think was the dressing area.

Plus there was a gym spa with a ton of weigh machines, a pool, Jacuzzi and steam showers but they closed a 10PM!  Ugh… if only I didn’t have a 6AM wake up call to catch a train.  If only all my hotels came in this style..Yup.. really wish I had more time to check out all these things.

And now some more random photos from my walk around town.

More pretty old stuff, because really I couldn’t stop taking useless photos of it all.

Although the doors with faces and building with engraved human bodies really freak it me out.

Bullring in the center by the old train station.


Have you ever been to a place you wish you could have spent more time at?


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