By noon Sunday we headed to Valencia to begin our weeklong Spanish immersion classes and investigative journey. We zipped into Valencia only to get lost multiple times—first, trying to find our AirBnB, which fortunately, Google Maps had no trouble locating and routing us. Having to park illegally, again, bothered me immensely, but it was the only way we could drop off our belongings (and boxes of wine and oil) before returning our rental car at the central train station!
Our hosts recommended heading down to the beach to join all the Valencian families who dine at the local beachfront restaurants for Sunday lunch. The restaurants, boardwalk and beach were packed with locals. We chose the restaurant of our host’s recommendation. Enjoying our first paella of the trip, we delighted in watching the huge Valencian families having a joyous time together—three and four generations gathered at long tables filled with laughter and joy. Family is a big deal here and Sunday is the day to gather and enjoy breaking bread.
After our meal, we quickly dipped our toes into the Mediterranean Sea and headed back to our rental car to return it at the Norte train station. But quick note to self and others—mark your car’s position on Google maps BEFORE you leave it parked! Always trying to enjoy our journey, we discovered a few extra areas before arriving back at our car.
Our experience with EuroCar had been great, with the gentleman who checked us in days ago in Barcelona quite helpful. Unfortunately, finding our way into the rental car area at the train station was a different story! After six attempts (I am not kidding…six!) we finally entered the proper area. Mind you, if you miss an entrance, you must follow the main artery down and around numerous roundabouts to try again. My guess is we added an extra 20 km just trying to find the drop off point!
We mapped our way home and decided it would be great to walk back to get the lay of the land. Unfortunately, Sunday evenings are barren wastelands of questionable streets, although we felt a bit uncomfortable, we never felt threatened.
From the outside, our AirBnB wasn’t much to write home about. Our “penthouse” apartment was however modern and clean with a beautiful terrace. While the weather was perfect, our first night in Valencia was not very restful. With families gathering for their Sunday dinner well into the morning, there was lots of noise…open windows makes it feel like the entire neighborhood is in our bedroom! We decided that moving forward we would use the A/C for a few hours, then after things quieted down after 1am, we would turn it off and open the windows. We enjoyed beautiful sunrises and sunsets across the rooftops dotted with antennas.