Travel Photography Part 2: Valencia

This week, I'm continuing my humble brag of our recent Spain travels.  Last week, I talked your eyes off about the beautiful Barcelona.  In case you missed it, you can catch up on the Part I Barcelona's series here. 

Day 5: We awoke early morning to catch the Aerobus train from Barcelona to Valencia--a short two-hour ride.  As soon as we walked out of the station, the city welcomed us with opened arms.  The roads and alleyways of the small but tall medieval city seemed to be within arms reach.  Valencia is the third largest city of Spain but is often overlooked by tourists visiting the country. 

We settled into our AirBnB apartment and were ready to explore.  As we got deeper into the city, our visual senses confused and overwhelmed us.  We were both mesmerized by Valencia's medley of old versus new.  There were ancient buildings nestled between the tall majestic modern day structures.  There were palm trees everywhere.  Orange trees everywhere.  The maze of alleyways always took us somewhere new.  We got intentionally lost often and stumbled from cool cafe to cool bar to cool restaurants.  What better way to become acquainted with a city that has so much to offer?

I had the perfect view.

I had the perfect view.

This photo was taken by Altea, our AirBnB host.  The colorful and vibrant apartment was located in a popular market of Ruzafa.  The location was a bit of a walk from the main city which made it pretty quite and tourist-free.  Plus, it was surrounded by lively bars and restaurants.

This photo was taken by Altea, our AirBnB host.  The colorful and vibrant apartment was located in a popular market of Ruzafa.  The location was a bit of a walk from the main city which made it pretty quite and tourist-free.  Plus, it was surrounded by lively bars and restaurants.

Another photo taken by Altea.

Another photo taken by Altea.

Here's a visual glimpse of what made Valencia so confusingly beautiful: Romantic vs. grunge + old versus new. 

Here's a visual glimpse of what made Valencia so confusingly beautiful: Romantic vs. grunge + old versus new. 

Palm tree's were EVERYWHERE!

Palm tree's were EVERYWHERE!

One of the alleyways led us to this cute little plaza.

One of the alleyways led us to this cute little plaza.

A lot of looking-up while walking through this tiny city.

A lot of looking-up while walking through this tiny city.

This guy had excellent sales skills and enticed us into this Paella restaurant

This guy had excellent sales skills and enticed us into this Paella restaurant

Don't let our smiles fool you.  He made us do it.  The food wasn't so great.

Don't let our smiles fool you.  He made us do it.  The food wasn't so great.

But the ambiance and scenery were on point!  This talented harpist played the Game of Thrones song and I about flipped!

But the ambiance and scenery were on point!  This talented harpist played the Game of Thrones song and I about flipped!

And we had tasty sangria...so all was good in the world :)

And we had tasty sangria...so all was good in the world :)

Talented entertainer's were everywhere!

Talented entertainer's were everywhere!

One of the alleyways led us to this popular ancient Plaza de la Virgen, a busy fountain square with wrought-iron gas lamps and rows of orange trees; lined with busy cafe's. 

One of the alleyways led us to this popular ancient Plaza de la Virgen, a busy fountain square with wrought-iron gas lamps and rows of orange trees; lined with busy cafe's. 

I snagged this cute Belgium couple for this quick photo sesh. 

I snagged this cute Belgium couple for this quick photo sesh. 

 

Day 6: The next morning, we walked back into town to rent a couple of bikes.  From there, we were ready to venture outside the city walls.  On our way towards the coast, Valencia got weirder but in the best way possible.  We rode past the City of Arts and Sciences Complex which consisted of several buildings for cultural and educational activities designed by local architect Santiago Calatrava.  These buildings almost towered over the city like strange, alien-like series of glass-and-steel structures.  We didn't get to visit inside the buildings but the visual from outside was plenty.  Five miles in to our bike ride, we finally hit the beach.  Five miles and stretches of sketchy roads later, we arrived at the Albufera Lagoon where we marveled at the reflection of the blue skies on the mirror-like surface of the lake.  We continued our journey to El Palmar, a tiny village at the edge of the lagoon.  By far, this was my favorite part and moment in Valencia.  We spent the rest of the day gorging on delicious dishes and wine and somehow miraculously biked back into town with a full stomach and a slight buzz.  The rest of the evening, we walked aimlessly through the city.  It was perfect.

Just marveling at the Arts and Science Complex

Just marveling at the Arts and Science Complex

Made it to the beach!

Made it to the beach!

Made it to Albufera Lagoon 10 miles and few sketchy roads later!

Made it to Albufera Lagoon 10 miles and few sketchy roads later!

We spent a good amount of time here soaking in the scenery and the sun.

We spent a good amount of time here soaking in the scenery and the sun.

Sean getting lost in the view.

Sean getting lost in the view.

The boat people catching a break.

The boat people catching a break.

We biked to La Palmar, a small village on the other side of the lagoon.  We parked our bikes to dine at a restaurant called Bon Aire.

We biked to La Palmar, a small village on the other side of the lagoon.  We parked our bikes to dine at a restaurant called Bon Aire.

This was my favorite memory of Valencia, by far.  Partly because we were starving, partly because of the ambiance, partly because of the food, and mostly because of my partner...everything about this excursion was perfect.

This was my favorite memory of Valencia, by far.  Partly because we were starving, partly because of the ambiance, partly because of the food, and mostly because of my partner...everything about this excursion was perfect.

Cuttlefish + edamame.  So.Freaking.Delicious.

Cuttlefish + edamame.  So.Freaking.Delicious.

Eel stew.  So.EFFING.Delicious.

Eel stew.  So.EFFING.Delicious.

We also made a pit stop at the famous Horchateria de Santa Catalina.  I'll be honest...I'm not sure I understand horchata.  It tasted like milk with flour.  That delicious piece of powdered bread though...Pretty damn good. Thanks for reading!  Stay tuned for the Part III travels to Seville, our favorite city. xoxo, Hannah Q.

We also made a pit stop at the famous Horchateria de Santa Catalina.  I'll be honest...I'm not sure I understand horchata.  It tasted like milk with flour.  That delicious piece of powdered bread though...Pretty damn good.

Thanks for reading!  Stay tuned for the Part III travels to Seville, our favorite city.

xoxo,
Hannah Q.