Myself and seven other people with me arrived in Valencia, Spain just yesterday. I was completely ready for my holiday even if the last minute packing wasn’t evidence of being so, and couldn’t wait to get there. Of course, I had to fly first.
I don’t like flying. As handy as it is I can’t help but think that it’s a metal box hurtling itself through the air and that in itself is quite unsettling. I don’t mind the actual flying, as I so loudly said to my mother- aged 11- as we were going to Florida, it’s the taking off and landing that is the worst, and so after my two hour nap on board the box I was awoken to the worst landing I had ever experienced. It was so turbulent and shaky, and extremely fast. In fact there was a huge drop at some point that even had the air stewards swearing under their breath (reassuring). I was sure the oxygen masks would be needed soon. But, alas, we made it safely, and although we flew with some cheap company no one had lost their bags.
The first thing we did, because we had bags, was find the flat we had rented out for the 10 days we were here for. We stepped off the metro train that bought us most of the way and the sun was so lovely and the sky was so blue. There were these huge buildings that I thought were hotels but were actually flats. Apparently almost everyone in the city lives in an apartment. When we got to the one we rented the man wasn’t in and so we had to wait. There was a bakery next to the place, however, so we all grabbed paninis and sandwiches for lunch. The man then came, handed us the keys and set off on his little motorbike thing.
We looked around the flat, which is very light and airy, as things should be on the Mediterranean coast, and Ed and I were allocated the study.
“The futon in here is tiny!” I squealed when I saw it. Ed doesn’t fit on it properly. Half his legs hang off unless he bunches himself up. Though the futon may be small we get the balcony, while no one else does, and we get air conditioning while the others don’t. And we have the wifi right next to us, which is handy for all our needs (that is instagram and wordpress). We set down our bags, got changed and then headed out to take a gander.
We walked about seven minutes past the harbour, which our flat is literally two roads away from, and then on to the beach. At first we just walked down the promenade, although Pookie and Mouse went down to the sea with Mouse’s dad, though we all sat down for a drink first. Luckily Jem has a degree in Spanish and can speak it extremely fluently so ordering is hardly a hassle (except for her) and so beers, colas and lemon drinks were consumed. I had a lemon drink. It was delicious, but extremely sour.
The promenade is spectacular, it sort of reminded me of Venice Beach in L.A (not that I’ve been) because of all the palm trees along the side. It was so hot though, even at five o clock in the afternoon. In fact, I was so hot that Ed’s dad had to go to a shop and buy me a fan because he thought I looked a bit red. There were shops, restaurants and market stalls all along the promenade, and my objective was to get a bigger bag as the single one that I had bought was tiny, but nowhere really had any I liked. Still, it was beautiful. There were also a whole gang of stalls selling fresh corn on the cob, still in the leaves. It was spectacular.
As far as Europe goes there’s still street vendors who look shady and illegitimate, but having been to Greece and Italy with the school I sort of learned to ignore those people, no matter hoe long they hung around.
And then we walked on the beach. Coming here we were told that the sand was so hot even the native Spanish couldn’t walk on it without sandals (though there was a volleyball match going on and none of them had shoes on). Of course, I put it to the test. The sand was warm indeed, but not too hot, though I wouldn’t be on it for too long, just in case. The sand, however, was extremely soft. We went down the board walk towards the sea, and set up some towels on the sand and all hand a bit of a paddle about in the sea, though there was always someone on the shore looking after the bags. I tell you, it is refreshing to go into a sea that you an see all the way through to the bottom of. England just doesn’t have that luxury, even if you go to a nice beach.
And then we all got ice-creams. I got a marshmallow one which was extremely child-like of me, but it was pink and it was delicious. Ed had a white chocolate one which was gone in five seconds flat, Pookie had a brownie one, and then I don’t know. They also had a mango one I’d like to try next. We went back home. Chilled out, and then got ready to go out. I had a bun in my head all day so took it out and it was all wavy, like a fifties hollywood actress, so I kept it like that, slicked on my nicer sandals and went out for dinner around nine o clock. I went to Spain when I was six years old with my family, and when we were going for tea at this time then I was falling asleep at the table. Things have changed, however and I was wide awake (though Pookie and Mouse weren’t).
When we got to the restaurant there was a kerfuffle over tables (I don’t think they have ever had to deal with such a large group) but we got seated, placed orders of everything and it was all bought out within minutes at rapid fire. First there were olives, and then chips, ‘patatas bravas’, calamari squid rings, grilled cuttlefish, chorizo, anchovies, salad, Salerno ham, croquette potatoes with ham, spicy chicken, and this really delicious cheese that I liked so much I had half of one plate. It sounds like a lot of food, but all the dishes were shared out between seven people (Mouse had her own sandwich for dinner) so the portions were totally manageable. We all wolfed down the food, at a rate we were sure the waiters would find alarming, but it was absolutely delicious. The only thing I did not try was the anchovies, but I’ve had them before and was never keen. We were so full at the end we wouldn’t even contemplate dessert. I have not been so satisfyingly stuffed in weeks.
Luckily the tapas was only a few streets away from the flat so we didn’t have to walk far back home. And then we all went to bed.
Regarding the first nights sleep the study now seems unfortunate. There’s this thing outside that has been making noise throughout the night, on and off, so you can’t even get used to it and it is so hot that it’s ridiculous, even without a duvet at all I’m sweltering. Also, because this is a relatively new area, I don’t really know what the bugs are like here so have been paranoid I’d wake up with a huge spider on my face (I did, however, see my very first cockroach while were were walking back from tapas). I woke up at 7AM in Spanish time, so not too ridiculous, though I am awake before anyone else, which is really strange as a lot of the people here often wake up at six o clock. I can only assume that they all have jet lag and I don’t because I slept on the plane, and napped throughout. Perhaps we should participate in siesta?
I also bought a video camera with me so hopefully I can film some things to show you because I think that would be fun. I’ll try.