We picked up our hire car from the main train station in Barcelona. I though driving on the right hand side of the road for the first time in Los Angelas was daunting enough. That had nothing on this place – trying to figure out the flow of traffic and going around roundabouts with 3 lanes but somehow we are now 5 across. Yikes. It is probably made more challenging coming from somewhere like Australia which is very rule bound making everything much clearer. All I can say is thank goodness I brought my gps loaded with a map of Spain – I’d probably still be trying to get out.
Once we were out of Barcelona the driving was easy and the motorways make travelling pretty easy. But there are many tolls. We paid over €35 in tolls between Barcelona and Valancia. Unlike Australia there are still toll booths that take your money. They didn’t like my travelers MasterCard so take plenty of cash (and the machines don’t take €50 or €100 notes. Some tolls ask for money, some give you a ticket to be inserted at the other end to calculate the total.
In my prep I noticed a nice looking road into the mountains about 50km before Valancia. It was only 16km but wove it’s way up into the mountains to provide some pretty spectacular scenery. And even on an overcast day it was still worth the drive.
Pulling into our accommodation just up the coast from the main port of Valancia left us feeling a bit flat. Walking around the beach it just feels like a place that was meant to be but didn’t happen. The beaches are groomed, there are lots of apartments but it seems dead. There were a few beach front complexes that were just shells of buildings that looked to have been sitting that way for some time. Is this some hang over from the Spainish financial problems they had a few years ago?
Trying to get on top of this feeling we jumped in the car and headed towards the city. About all that was accomplished was a very nervous passenger after battling the traffic and still no idea what Valancia was about. We just were not feeling the love. It was not looking good for Valancia.
When we got back to our room we were determined to do something to find Valancia so hit Google like a pair of champions. We devised a plan and it was a good plan.
The next morning we drove to the Port and parked the car. From there we caught the first hop-on hop-off bus of the day to get a bit of perspective of the place. We were told by someone that the Oceanografic centre was very good so we jumped off the bus there and spent just under 4 hours wandering around which included lunch at the Restaurante Submarino or under ground restaurant surrounded by an aquarium. So we were having lunch with the fishers. It was really cool.
From the Oceanografic centre we jumped back on the bus and headed back to the city centre where we wandered around the markets and small shops. Valancia’s tourist buses have 2 different routes so our cunning plan was to ride the other route, change back in the city and return to our car. That nearly worked as we missed the last bus so we took the opportunity to just have a light meal in a nice little restaurant and watched the world go bye.
By the time we eventually got back to our room (10:30pm) Valancia had redeemed itself and we are leaving happy to have visited it.
Here are a selection of other photos of our visit to Valancia.
Travel tip – take your own earphones that you can use rather than the cheap ones they supply as they can be very uncomfortable and take away from the experience.