Sunday, December 20, 2009

O Valencia!

Alright... time to work that memory and recount Valencia:

Well, firstly, we flew there.  Why?
1. Cheapest (by far) - roundtrip tickets were 5 euro, plus taxes totaled it to around 14 euro.
2. Fastest - got there in 50 minutes; return flight was about 40.
3. See 1 and 2.

To save ourselves a cab fare, we metro-ed to the airport... meaning we left around 12.30a to get to the airport before the metro closes, at 1.30am.  Slept on the floor at the airport.  On the metro from Valencia's airport to our hostel, I fell asleep between every stop... I just couldn't keep myself awake!  We got to our hostel around 8.30 Sunday morning, tired as ever, only to be informed that the beds wouldn't be ready until noon. So we wander into the living room/kitchen and each pass out on a couch.

Entrance: Indigo Hostel

Living room: couches we had slept on earlier that day

Walked around town, bought lunch at a grocery store... took naps that afternoon until 7pm or so, and felt caught up on my sleep.  Spent the evening meeting cooking, eating dinner, and meeting the other hostellers.

Monday was a bit chillier; went to the beach with some US kids we had met the day before.  These folks were all in high school, and were spending the year in Zaragoza, Spain.  Did more cooking at the hostel; met some girls from the US who have graduated college and are now teaching English in Madrid.  Two of these girls had been in our program, WIP, during the 2007-2008 school year when they were still in college.  Some of them actually knew a few of our fellow, current Wippers.

During our stay, we also met this friendly older couple, Jacob and Doris Gallan, who have been traveling the world since 2006.  Doris is a writer, currently blogging at Baby Boomers Traveling, and is working on a book as well.  Her book will feature their round-the-world travels, interspersed with traveling advice for baby boomers.  She is a strong advocate of traveling at any age, and wants to help make it easier for others by sharing their mistakes and successes through her blogs and book-in-progress.  Here is part of her biography from her site:
Thirty years of working for others led to burnout. It was now time to work for myself: my husband and I quit our well-paying jobs, sold our house and 99 percent of our worldly possessions. On April 1, 2006 – April Fool’s Day – we began a 26 month ’round-the-world trip. I also returned to my first love: writing.
We traveled to forty countries on six continents – including Antarctica, learned the polite words of some two dozen languages, ate foods we didn’t know existed, used practically every mode of transportation still in use and learned a lot about ourselves and the world around us. With this much experience to write about I had no excuse not to start putting some of this down on paper (okay, on computer screen).
I started off slowly by creating a blog (
that served many purposes: kept people informed about our whereabouts, provided me with a regular outlet for memories and photos, and – most importantly – disciplined me into writing every week.
After the trip, we settled in Mexico in the summer of 2008 where I began writing more regularly. I’m writing essays, short stories and a book about our world trip. This, while getting down to learning the craft of writing and improving my art. In April of 2009 we moved to Costa Rica with a quick trip to Guatemala for a week before settling in our new home. Don’t know how long we’ll be here but this is all part of our second ’round the world trip…just at a much slower pace than #1.
The Gallans have just left Spain, and here's a blurb from Doris's most recent blog post:
WHAT’S NEXT: Moving to Hel & Rob’s flat in Carcassonne, France to spend the holidays. We’ve been told it won’t be any warmer but it is a lovely town, a beautiful apartment and we’ll be with friends for the New Year celebrations. We’re likely going to Hong Kong after Carcassonne, maybe spending a week or two in Vietnam if we managed to save enough money, and then move to China for Jacob’s job in Wenzhou, for February 2010.
Tuesday was a day of fantastic weather; upper 60's and sunny.  Perfect day to visit Gulliver Park.  Gulliver Park is a playground in the shape of Gulliver from Gulliver's Travels.  With all the kids playing on it, they look like Lilliputians!

Here's a bird's eye view:


And a bit closer:

The slides were soooo fun!  Really, coming to Valencia just to play on this playground is reason enough.  Richard and I were surprised by all of the steep drop-offs, with no sort of railing at all.  Gave you a bit more of an adrenaline rush while you were climbing around; though I'd be tweaking out if my kid were running around up there.  It was awesome, but would never fly in the US.  I tried to take some pics showing the drop-offs:


Then we headed to Valencia's nearby City of Arts and Sciences, with some simply amazing architecture.  Here's a brief summary of the area from the official site:
The City of Arts and Sciences is a unique complex devoted to scientific and cultural dissemination which is made up of five main elements: the Hemisfèric (IMAX cinema and digital projections), the Umbracle (a landscaped vantage point and car park), the Príncipe Felipe Science Museum (an innovative centre of interactive science), the Oceanográfico (the largest aquarium in Europe with over 500 marine species) and the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía (which takes care of the operatic programme). The Ágora, which will give the complex a multifunctional space, is under construction.
We didn't go inside any of the buildings, as entrance fees for all of the museums were quite pricey, but simply walking around outside to admire the architecture up-close was quite a treat.  Both the sites I linked to above have some great pictures of the buildings; here are some I took:

Tuesday night, exhausted from all that fun at the park and walking around the city all day, we watched Chicken Run, followed by Home Alone II while cooking/eating dinner in the hostel.

On Wednesday, after eating some breakfast and walking around the Central Market for a bit, it was time for me to catch my flight home.  Got back to my apartment, dropped off my backpack, and five minutes later I was on my way out to go tutor in Las Rozas.

It was nice to be in a different (warmer) environment for a few days, and I always love learning about the other hostelers and listening to their stories.  Gets me excited for all of the traveling I have yet to experience in my lifetime.


  1. Jacob and Doris Gallan, whom have been traveling the world since 2006. --> Pretty sure it should be "who" rather than "whom." Also, Purple Sage style puts US as U.S. (if you care).

  2. My English has kind of been put on hold this year. Seriously though, I keep forgetting more and more words.