Ohhhhhh Valencia. How I love you... how I hate you. As of now I´m wrapping up my time in Sevilla but I wanted to give you all a little taste of my trip to Valencia.
On Friday, I decided to stop off in Valencia for a little over 24 hours and see what this beach city had to offer. Also, I knew I needed to have some true Valencia paella before I left Spain. So after arriving early, catching a morning church service (awesome experience) at the Cathedral, and wandering the streets a bit, I set out for the beach to relax and take a break from a week of walking.
The initial plan was to chill on the beach, then get some paella for lunch on the beach. Problem with that was the wind and clouds. After an hour on the sand, my entire body was coated in the tiny grains and I was trying my best to take shelter from the wind by tucking behind a cabana. Fast forward another hour and I wake up from a nap in the middle of a sandstorm. No more of that, I´m going back to the central part of the city.
And so begins the quest for paella....
My first stop was at this little outdoor place behind the Cathedral. It didn´t look too touristy (although what isn´t in Valencia) so I sat down and immediately ordered the paella and a beer. Then ten minutes later I´m still drinking my beer and wondering where the paella is.... DUN DUN DUN. The waiter comes out and tells me that he forgot to inform me that they just ran out of paella and I was 5 minutes too late. Fine fine, I guess I can wait until dinner....
Fast forward again to dinner time. My friend recommended this great place for paella and casually mentioned it was on the beach. I, being the idiotic person I am, checked google the night before just to get a sense of the direction. Sadly though, when I searched google and it didn´t pull up a beach restaurant, I didn´t think to second guess my search. Instead, I assumed google was correct (because really, they rule the world and how could they be wrong?) and set out for this random metro stop in the middle of town which was definitely not touristy. After asking a few nice old folks and wandering for another hour+, I realized I made a bad bad bad mistake and was now pressed for time because I was hitting peak dinner hours.
This is about the time I started to walk fast, really fast. I rushed back to the middle of the historic district and tried to find the nearest non-franchise place. After a little searching, I found this small spot with a couple different paella options. But no more than 10 minutes in and right after I ordered a glass of wine, the waitress informs me that they can only serve paella to two people. Huh? This is not looking good. I downed my glass of wine and got out of there ASAP.
I was now pushing the limit on my bus departure so here you can picture me almost running through the streets of Valencia asking for paella. In a last resort effort, I saw a spot that had raciones for one annnnnnnnnnd minimum 2 paella orders. As an added bonus, it was right next to this incredible plaza by an old castle. But wait, what happens? Of course, just as I go to order paella, the waiter says the phrase that has haunted me all night. ONLY PAELLA FOR 2. Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. ¨But your menu says...¨ Sorry, that menu is only for lunch.
And it was here that I let Valencia beat me. After an odd day in a city that I quickly fell in love with, I sighed and ordered way too many beers with a little jamon iberico. It may have been the saddest dinner of my life.
But hey, at least I´ll always have the ham!
(aside from the paella problems, I actually loved Valencia. Between the gardens, the historic district, the beach, and the high level of pickup soccer, I could have spent all week wandering around there.)