I arrived in Valencia late at night, fresh off the train from Seville and excited for La Tomatina which was only a couple days away.

Not one of my finer moments of organisation, I had got there knowing only my hostel name and how to reach it by public transport. I hadn’t bothered as I normally did to get a map sorted either, which would’ve been a particularly clever thing given I had no internet on my phone either.

All would’ve worked out though in theory.. except that I couldn’t for the life of me find where the bus stop was (and later found out they stop running by that time of night anyway).

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After trying the one and only man at information who spoke no english, my plan of attack was to just give up and find a taxi.

I hate taking taxi’s (not only because of the price but more the safety factor) by myself but it seemed the only option until I met a group of Italian backpackers who appeared to know what they were doing.

I figured I might as well just join them and then get directions from their hostel.

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Except they got hopelessly lost too.

Long story short, I finally got to where I needed to be a good hour and a half later and was most impressed by the gentlemanly Italian escort I received to make sure I got there safely.

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One of the skinniest houses in the world!

Day one I decided to do a walking tour of the city, which ended with some sampling of horchata. On the train ride to Valencia I had sat next to a kind woman who grew up here and the cutest baby of all time.

She told me to make sure I tried some of this while I was in town so I was stoked to tick it off my list right away.

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It’s a milky looking drink that is not overly flavourful but quite refreshing on a hot day. I had assumed it was alcoholic but it’s just water, sugar and nuts so it’s vegan friendly. The horchaterias also sell these sweet-ish breads you can dunk inside it too.

It was about 40 degrees celsius while I was in Valencia so my roommates and I decided to rent bikes for the day and ride to the beach.

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It may have not been the best idea because it took a good hour each way but once we arrived there was definitely no better feeling than jumping into the ocean!

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Our path there took us past the City of the Arts and Sciences, a set of buildings which are iconic in the city and extremely modern and innovative in design. As I was staying in the Old Town part of Valencia, it was especially a change in scenery.

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These buildings are essentially at one end of the Turia Gardens, a massive park that runs for a few kilometres through Valencia.

In the 1950s the city suffered a massive flood from the river that used to run through there, so instead it was diverted and the empty space which remains today is this park – very cool to see!

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It’s hard to write a post about a Spanish city and not include a reference to food. Beautiful Mercado Central is where it’s at not only for fresh produce, but also a place to grab some refreshments and snacks as you wander around town.

Having been in Spain for over a couple weeks at this point, I finally knew my what I liked for breakfast and a little café near my hostel did a decent combo of my order : tostada con tomate (toast with tomato), café con leche (coffee with milk) and fresh orange juice for only a few euro.

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It wasn’t going to win any awards but it was a cheap and cheerful way to start the day and sure beat the inedible offerings of where I was staying!

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My hostel was also a short walk from the Plaza de la Virgen a central meeting point in town, and near the Valencia Cathedral too, which is apparently quite beautiful on the inside.

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I thought El Museo Nacional de Ceramica y de las Artes Suntuarias Gonzalez Marti was worth a visit to also.

Today it is the National Museum of Ceramics and only costs a couple of euro to enter but it was actually once the home of an extremely wealthy family.

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The front entrance’s facade alone is pretty spectacular to behold wouldn’t you agree?

To conclude, Valencia is a genuinely lovely city and while it probably wouldn’t make the top of my list when it comes to favourite Spanish cities there’s a lot to do here and it’ll definitely keep you busy and enjoying yourself for a few days.

Two reasons why I thought it was especially rad though: the wide array of sangria there seemed to be available in their supermarkets.

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And I discovered an ice-cream store in town where they make flowers out of however many flavours you decide to pick. Delicious!

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