Half Term Getaway to Spain: Part 2

Beautiful view of Valencia from the top of Torres de Serranos

Valencia really was a beautiful city with a very interesting mix of cultures, history as well as modernness to it – evident from the buildings across the city.

Plaza de Toros de Valencia (bullring)
Valencia Nord Train Station
Valencia Central Market

Being a my usual foodie self, my first stop on my last day in Valencia was the impressive centre market. It features a wide range of food ranging from the famous Spanish Jamón, fresh meats, fruits and sweets as well as different kinds of preserves. It certainly took a long time to go around the entire place! 😉

Of course it won’t be Spain without Jamón! 🐷
Love all these exotic fruits! Shame I can’t buy them all home!
“Snacking” in the food market (from top left going along the row): spinach empanada, pepito carne (fried stuffed sandwich), mandarin juice, Jamón and an apple semifreddo dessert 🤤 (thought it was a cake but it turned out to be ice cream!)
And a surprise buy! 😂

I then headed the city centre of Valencia, visiting the grande and historical town hall as well as the central post office.

Correos (Central Post office)
Grande ceiling in the post office
Valencia Town Hall
Beautiful chandeliers!
The Laws of Valencia standing at the centre of the room!
Exquisite ceiling
The Valencian Flag
The old parliament

After a long walk in the heart of Valencia, I then headed back to the direction of Plaza de la Virgen where I was last night to visit the Valencia Cathedral. But before that, I stopped for a little tea break sampling a local drink called Horchata, which is a milk made from tiger nuts, typically accompanied with a sweet pastry called Farton. 👌

Horchata with Farton
Valencia Cathedral (entry for 8 Euros – though I got away with a student discount again! 😂👌)
Main altar of the cathedral
Beautiful chapel 🥰🥰
Love stained glass whenever I visit a cathedral!
Underground of the cathedral
Eek 😬😬💀🦴🦴

After wondering through the town some more, I then rode the bus to the more desolated Pinedo beach which sat on the outskirts of Valencia, enjoying the breezes from the sea before riding back to the city again. 🌊 🌊

Pinedo beach

And after a few drinks at some bars and places across town (getting a little light headed lol), I settled for a final light dinner at a couscous bar near to my hotel in the Russafa area. The waitress was so lovely and welcoming, and we had such a nice chat about the city and travelling (turned out she is from Miami, so we got chatting about America which I longed to visit!) 🥰🥰

Couscous buffet bar for a light and healthy dinner! 😋

And don’t forget it’s Halloween this Sunday! 🎃👻 Stay safe and enjoy the festival! 😉

Half Term Getaway to Spain: Part 1

After a very busy month of work, it was time for another one of my getaway trips! 😁 Taking full advantage of my week-long break, I jetted of to a popular neighbour of ours – the exotic county of Spain! 🇪🇸

Hola, Spain! 🇪🇸
Early flight today! 🥱

This time, I decided on a cheap early flight that set off from Stansted airport to Valencia at 7am in the morning (which meant I had to leave home at about 4am in the morning haha 😆🥱 barely even slept lol!) The airport is known for cheap commercial flights, but just annoying it’s a bit far away from the city centre (about one hour of train journey from Liverpool Street Station.)

The view of Valencia as we descended 🛩
Beautiful view outside the balcony from my hotel room
Spanish tostada with ham

Upon descended in Valencia, I visited a local cafe for the Spanish tostada and then the famous beach of Malvarrosa. The weather was sunny but with just enough of breezes in October, so it was a nice day to be out chilling in the sands for some time! 😎

Playa de la Malvarrosa

After a brief break in the hotel, I then walked to a futuristic part of the city where the Hemisfèric and the science museum are located. The area is such an iconic wow factor of the city! 🤩 Felt like I took a time machine straight to the Year 3000 haha!

Valencia Science Museum
The sky garden of Umbracle

My initial plan was to visit the science museum on the first day, but once again (I know it’s a running theme lol) I didn’t pay attention to the fact that opening hours change between seasons (closing time at 9pm in summer but 6pm in winter) 😅, so I decided to then head to dinner early. Though, it turned out restaurants in Spain open really late (most dinner services here start about 8/9pm and finished at about 11pm), so I ended up trying my luck to a few closed doors 😕 before finally stumbling upon an open tapas place called El Temple. (Was wanting to find a paella place but had completely no luck… 😞 ) Though it was still a very nice dinner and I absolutely loved their Patatas bravas! 👍

Quartet of tapas (from top left clockwise): Patatas bravas, squid ink croquettes, grilled prawns with guacamole and grilled pork tenderloin with Camembert cheese and caramelised onions

The first day ended with a rather early night (mainly down to the exhaustion of waking up early in the morning for the flight lol! 😴) In the next morning, I headed to a popular cafe called Dulce De Leche nearby (recommended by the receptionist in my hotel) and decided to do a takeout breakfast on my way back to the museum area.

What a selection! 😋
Bocadillo and carrot/orange/apple juice 🥤 (One of the best sandwiches I ever had seriously!)

After about a 40-minute walk, I arrived back at the science museum and bought the all-around ticket which covered the science museum, Hemisfèric and Oceanogràfic (costing about 38 euros – though I did mange to get a student discount thanks to me now doing my Masters course part-time lol. 👌) The three places are all very big, especially the Oceanogràfic aquarium (which basically it’s a “smaller” theme park on its own) so there is an option to have the ticket covered over 2-3 days in order to allow yourself enough time to see everything gradually. As I was only here for a few days, I obviously opted for the reckless one day option haha! 😂 (Yeah, was exhausted by the end of the day from all the walking I did lol!)

The entrance of Oceanogràfic
Jellyfishes are always so stunning to look at!
Beautiful Mediterranean Sea!
😂 😂
The whole park of Oceanogràfic- it’s massive!
The giant bird cage in the park
Under the dome! (Watching out for 💩💩🤣🤣🤣)
Pink flamingos 🦩🦩🦩🦩🦩
Mine! Mine! Mine!
The famous Galápagos tortoises
Never seen these before! (Apparently there are called Western crowned pigeons)
Sharks and manta rays
Never seen this kind of shark before!
Under the sea

My favourite attraction in Oceanogràfic is the Artic centre, which features the amazing Beluga whales. It was my first time seeing them ever in real life and I was absolutely blown away!

Beluga whale
Amazing Beluga whales!
🐧 🐧
Cute little penguin walk!
Dolphin show! 🐬🐬
Needed to cool down like them haha! 🦭 🦭

Going back to the science museum, I was intrigued by this egg incubator exhibit – everyone was surrounding it and anticipating all these chicks hatching from the eggs and it was such a cute and miraculous thing to see! 🐣 ❤️

Egg incubator in the science museum
Watched this little guy trying to come out for hours – finally it’s here! 🥳🥳
🐣 🐣 🐣
Hemisfèric in the twilight

After finishing the all-around tour with a science movie screening in the Hemisfèric planetarium (it was nice but the film was a little too educational and too work-related for my holiday mood 😝), it was finally dinner time again (and I timed it right to fit the Spanish opening hours that night haha!) and I headed to the beautiful Plaza de la Virgen.

People dancing under the bridge in the park on the way lol
💃 🕺 💃 🕺 Totally feeling the vibes haha! 🤪
Plaza de la Virgen
Beautiful lights in front of Virgen de los Desamparados Basilica
Paella! 🥘 🥘

And at last, I got to try the authentic Spanish paella (which apparently originated from Valencia) to mark the end of a busy day! 😋😋