In October 2019, I joined a Citylife trip to Valencia. Citylife is one of the companies that organizes trips for young adults from Madrid to other cities. Most of the other participants were students studying abroad or young adults living in Madrid through a teaching exchange program. We went to Valencia by bus, which took around 5 hours. Our first stop was the hostel to leave our bags and change – then our bus took us straight to the beach!
We spent the afternoon at the beach, enjoying the nice weather and meeting other members of our group. The group would disperse until after dinner, so we had the evening to ourselves. After a few hours in the sun at Platja del Cabanyal and las Arenas, we went back to the hostel to shower and change for dinner. We got dinner from a local restaurant nearby which had one vegetarian option for me (hard to find in some parts of Spain, especially more traditional cervecerías). Then we meet with our tour group again.
We passed the Plaça de Bous de València on our way to catch the bus, and found the building lit up impressively. Though I cannot say I agree with the ethics of bullfighting, I admit that the architectural structures created for these events are marvelous. We went to a club that Citylife had booked that evening. The club was near the Museum of Arts and Sciences which I visited the next day. The architecture was very unique, and extremely modern, in contrast the the historical buildings and streets in the city centre.
The next morning, after some cereal and coffee provided by the Citylife organization, I left with my friend Maud and a few other girls we had met to explore the city. We got real coffees on our way and some more substantial breakfast. We walked through the streets towards the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (or Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències in Catalan). Valencia has its own dialect of Catalan that serves as the region’s official language, along with Spanish (or Castellano as it is referred to in Spain).
This complex of museums is made of uniquely shaped white buildings that stand around these clear reflective pools. The combination of white structures and clear water is a little overwhelming on the eyes, but also quite beautiful.
We decided to purchase admission to the science building, or rather the Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe.
We spent a few hours exploring the museum and it’s different exhibits. We marvelled at the architecture and learned in both English and Spanish. As we grew hungry, we decided it was time to find lunch.
We decided we would have to try paella in Valencia, as this famous Spanish dish originated from the Valencian region. We found a local restaurant serving seafood paella. Though I normally don’t eat seafood, I tried it here. The paella was good (although I think I have had better in Barcelona and a cooking class I took later in Madrid).
We passed by the Mercat de Colón on our way back to the hostel and city centre, but unfortunately it was closed. We saw many other fancy buildings which impressed my North American self. We searched for souvenirs, then met back at the bus around 5 pm to return to Madrid.