I’m a long way from home But even across the Atlantic Ocean, the city of Valencia makes you feel right at home with ease It’s a coastal city with a dream climate So trading in my usually brisk Canadian Novembers for beach weather — nothing to complain about But the sunny Spanish coast has more to offer than just that The country’s third-largest city boasts rich cultural and architectural history But also, sections of striking modern entertainment complexes And with the addition of several beautiful beaches It’s a formula for a great tourist destination And by no means as busy as Madrid or Barcelona This time around though, I’m not a tourist Valencia is my temporary home for just a short little while, as I take on a contract as an English teacher at a private language school So while I’m here trying to live like a local, I’ll show you around Here’s a day in the life in Valencia — through my eyes -Hola, buenas -Uno de esos Bienvenidos a Monteolivete It’s my neighborhood — in the Southeast region of the city Just walking distance from one of the top must-see places in Valencia La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias Or, the City of Arts and Sciences An iconic series of buildings, including a planetarium, museum, aquarium and performing arts centre Its stunning design and composition helping it claim the title as one of the 12 Treasures of Spain The work of Valencian-born architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava Easily able to take your breath away That cultural and entertainment complex it sets at the end of what used to be the riverbed of the Turia A river that was drained and rerouted after a deadly, catastrophic flood in the late 1950s Now, it’s one of Spain’s largest urban parks Nine kilometres of gardens, cycling and footpaths Connecting some of the city’s most interesting spots The green belt running like a vital vein through Valencia Follow the Turia north and you’ll eventually reach Valencia’s historic centre lined with restaurants and cafes Where, by the way, you can actually sit and enjoy your coffee — no caffeine to go here But the area is rich with a twist of cultural influences injected over time From the city’s Roman roots all the way back in 138 BC to its Muslim rule starting in 714 AD and to the Christian siege and reconquest in the early 1200s Some of the city’s major monuments were built in this time Including el Torre del Micalet a 15th century gothic bell tower overlooking a cathedral And for only two euros, you can climb it All 207 steps — each one worth the view -Empiezo? Empiezo la canción?
(Start? Start the song?) -Vale
(Okay) Speaking of views, no photo or video can do this place justice While you can find a handful of beaches in and around Valencia Playa de la Malvarrosa is a must-see destination Its long and vast beach bordered on one side by tranquil waters, and the other, by a busy boardwalk Where you can grab some Valencian paella, a traditional rice dish woven into the city’s identity (Doorbell) -Hola Or if you’re having a lazy day like me plenty of restaurants in the city also do home delivery All of it readily available at your fingertips -…traditional Valenciana salad Maybe I went a little overboard But if you’re planning a night out in Valencia you better fill up, cause you may be in for the long haul Unlike in North America… …nights are a little longer in Spain And in a bar hopping haven like Valencia there’s plenty of time and room for all different flavors of fun Or even some bad and memorable decisions Kind of like this one: A late-night snack from a streetside hamburger vending machine -That’s like the best one! Or should I get the waffle? No, that’s cheating if I get the waffle, right? -You’re going to taste it I’ll spoil the moment and just tell you: Zero out of ten, do not recommend But, what I do recommend is enjoying a taste of what this city has to offer Its wealth of history Its prime cafe culture Its easygoing atmosphere And its friendly folk Many of whom, if you ask, wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world