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February 2022 – Valencia, Spain
There is nothing like Spain in the middle of winter to come back to life. It’s a bit of a hassle to travel right now, which makes the journey even more rewarding in the end.
That being said, the only trouble after reaching Valencia will be to decide between exploring the City of Arts, mingling with people in the city center or lying on the beach. Tough choice, right? 🙂
We’re setting foot on the airport grounds like kids in a candystore. All the noise and constant movement that always seemed irritating, now sound like music to my ears. We’re boarding the tiny KLM Cityhopper with excitement, on our first holiday by plane in a long long time. It’s a Saturday afternoon with a perfectly clear blue sky, something almost unreal for the month of February in the Netherlands. That must be a good sign.
The flight is a breeze. Exactly how our whole holiday in Valencia will feel like.
If you want to enjoy the best of the city and have only a few days for it, then read on.
CITY OF ARTS
The City of Arts and Sciences is a must if you come to Valencia. Several buildings of futuristic shapes are spread for almost two kilometers along the former riverbed of River Turia, making this a hot spot for visitors.
From diving into the marine world at Europe’s biggest aquarium (Oceanogràfic), making experiments at the Science Museum (Museu de les Ciències), strolling on the grounds of L’Umbracle or watching a 3D movie under the curved cupola of L’Hemisfèric, you will not get bored here for days.
Lucky us, the hotel was within walking distance from the City of Arts. No matter how many times or at what time of day we passed by this complex, there was always something new to discover.
Having so many attractions nearby meant we had less time to explore the city center. So we had to choose wisely.
Museo dell’Almoina is the best place to understand Valencia’s history. Walking underground on Roman city walls from the 2nd century BC is pretty cool.
La Lonja de la Seda is one of the main attractions in the city. Former trading centre and silk exchange, it now welcomes visitors for guided tours of its main rooms and garden. Even without its impressive history, the building itself is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. You will be amazed.
It’s not a surprise that we left Playa de las Arenas for the last day. Almost like a tradition, we kept the best for last. With no particular destination in mind, walking on fine soft golden sand in the middle of winter seemed like heaven.
Here are some places that made a difference during our stay:
Hotel Malcom and Barret – a newly built hotel with excellent customer service; bonus, their on premises restaurant is a great choice for late dinners
BURRITOS – Trafalgar – huge portions of delicious Mexican food
Racó d’Adriana – family owned business close to the beach with amazing Spanish local dishes
We land in the Netherlands on a cold rainy night, but something keeps us warm on the inside. It’s the peaceful feeling of reaching home. Being able to resume our passions after so long gives us joy and most of all, hope.
But shortly after coming back, new events seem to put the whole world at test. And not only the world in general, but how we react to it. Now more than ever we’re forced to look closely within, learn to separate what we think from what we feel, and find those anchors that matter to us.
We’re deeply hardwired to crave for intimate connections. Get to know people through bits and pieces that we process with our internal lenses. We fill in the blanks to match our realities. But how they are, we can never really know. All we can do is recognize and trust what is actually true, our feelings. Love, fear, longing, compassion, friendship, these are our guidance system.
Some connections lift you up, some leave you shattered. So why do we even bother if it’s so damn hard? Because when you finally get it right, it will all make sense.
Make love not war.