You don’t really need an excuse to escape the cold and grey London winter, but there is no better reason to go to Valencia than to feast on the local dish, paella. We were also belatedly celebrating our friend Suvendu’s birthday, which like mine falls during the Christmas holidays when everyone is inevitably away.
There were 15 of us travelling together in celebration, and you can imagine the nightmare involved in marshalling this many people to move to a common purpose – to eat paella. We made a detour through the Central Food Market where there were lots of goodies to make you drool, such as olive oils, cheeses and more jamon than you could poke a chorizo at.
We then headed to the beach in search of paella, but not before we had a play on the sand, had a snigger at a local guy proudly smuggling g-budgies (if you know what I mean!!), and a few brave souls dipped the toes in the freezing cold water. After a bit of wandering and indecision, our hunger got the better of us and we retreated to a busy seaside restaurant to get our fill of paella. We also ordered another local specialty, arroz negro, which is rice with seafood and coloured with squid ink so it comes in a shocking shade of black. It tasted much better than it looked, with a hearty seafood flavour, though a bit salty for my liking. It also gave everyone appealing looking black lips – no kissing today!
Most people were only in Valencia for just the Saturday, but I decided to spend the weekend here to make the most of the mild Spanish winter – I was walking around in a t-shirt! On the Sunday, I had a nice sleep-in and hearty breakfast before heading off to the Arts and Sciences Museum. It is a stunning, architecturally-designed set of complexes that also includes an aquarium. Due to the limited timeframe, I only had time to walk through the Science Museum, which had an interesting exhibition on sailing and another on DNA.
There is definitely so much to do here in Valencia that one weekend doesn’t do it justice!