It’s only a short three hour drive to Valencia from Madrid, but we were all sleep deprived. It was a little difficult finding our way to the B&B – unlike the small towns and grid layout of New Zealand that made navigation a breeze, here, we had to contend with windy streets and worse, street signs half hidden on walls. But Jeff’s Spanish came in handy, and the people we stopped to ask for help were very forthcoming.
We stayed at Valencia B&B, a tiny three bedroom B&B tucked away at the edge of the old city. It’s very discreet – no signs advertise it’s presence, and yet, it’s been rated #1 on Trip Advisor for the past three years straight. Our host, Kiola, was superb, welcoming us with champagne flutes of Cava. 🙂 We lounged around in the airy and bright dining and living rooms for a bit to unwind. It was late afternoon, nearly six, and the sun was descending over the golden top of the cathedral that peeked out from above the rows of tiled rooftops. According to legend, the original Holy Grail was housed there.
We were starving, but the Spanish evidently don’t take dinner till around 9pm. To combat my gastric pains, we stopped by a tiny little cafe around the corner, Mama Concha, where a dear little old lady served us Spanish omlette sandwiches, and also threw in three generous slabs of homemade gingerbread. 🙂
For the next hour, we wandered around the crazy narrow and windy cobblestone-paved streets that seem to be the hallmark of Spanish style. Except for the occasional neon lights of the corner alimentacion, one could well be back in the fifteenth century. Speaking of alimentacions, it’s fascinating how, the Chinese, in a span of a few years, have evidently taken over the supply chain of grocery stores in Spain… As far as we could tell, all the alimentacions were run by Chinese. Kiola, our host, told us that the lady of the alimentacion across the street swore that she could provide him with anything he wanted. If he wanted something that he didn’t yet have in the store, she could get it for him in two days!
Finally, at past 9pm, we found a bustling and chic tapas bar where we ordered plates of chorizos, blood sausages stuffed with rice, salad with the sweetest green tomatoes, calamari etc. Wine was included (same price as the water, so no prizes for guessing what we chose to drink).
What a day! And that was only the first day of our trip!