It’s hard to believe that less than 24 hours ago, we were in Dayton, Ohio! Now, we are in Valencia, Spain. For those who might be unfamiliar with Valencia, it is a port city on the Mediterranean Sea about 3 hours south of Barcelona and about 1.5 hours east of Madrid by high speed rail. It has a temperate climate with the lowest temperatures annually around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. We are here during the coolest time of year, but it is still pleasant.
Because our flight pattern had changed, our pre-arranged ride to the hotel from the airport was unable to wait for us. We grabbed our own taxi and took the short 20 Euro trip to the Ingles Boutique hotel in the city center. After about ten minutes of checking out our rooms, Mandy and I hit the streets to explore for the next few hours. I think European hotel rooms are hilarious. There’s always something to figure out, like how to turn the lights on! Who knew you had to insert your door card into the card reader by the door to activate all the lights? I had seen this before, but didn’t realize that when you leave your room, all outlets are also turned off meaning that your devices can’t charge unless you are in your room or have an extra key. Lesson learned! I took the picture of the bidet to show my students and biological kids. They always find this fascinating.
Mandy and I headed toward the main park of the downtown area, the Gardens of Turia. Along the paths of this former riverbed, you can find beautiful landscaping, walking paths, outdoor playgrounds and monuments. We walked the entire path until we reached the famous City of Arts and Sciences, a modern complex of buildings such as the Oceanographic, the Science Museum, the Opera House and the Imax theater. It is one of Valencia’s most recognized areas and is truly impressive to see.
On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at various buildings, had a couple of tapas and a copy de vino. It was a lovely, long walk that gave us just enough hunger for dinner at Le Marqui Restaurante at our hotel. I was so glad that we got to explore for several hours on our own. The next four days are planned for us, so today really helped us to get acclimated to both the city and the time zone! Tomorrow, we have a full tour of Valencia including the Lladro factory and two very popular Valencian restaurants!