Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Weekend diary

Saturday, 24 November
I would say the alarm woke us at 4am, but in truth neither the wife nor I had had much sleep. This all goes back to the problem we are having with Cat as a result of a problem with the neighbours' cat. Say no more. By the time we have risen, showered, dressed, breakfasted etc, it is 5am and we are officially running late. We get in the car and drive to the airport. Fuck, it's cold! I mean, really cold. Even after driving for 40 minutes, more than halfway to the airport, with the heating running, we are still both freezing. Brrrrrrrr. Of course, we get to the airport in time, not great time, but in time. Blah blah blah plane, blah blah take off, blah blah land.

After a two-and-a-half-hour flight, we land at Valencia airport at 11am local time, give or take a few minutes and take a cab from the airport to our hotel, the fairly recently opened Vincci Hotel on Calle de la Paz. En route, the very chatty and friendly cabbie explained how the local Valencian language, in many ways, is rather more similar to Italian than it is to Spanish. Cool. On arrival at the hotel, at about 11:45, we discover (as suspected) that we cannot check in until after 2pm. We leave most of our bags and stuff and set off for a bite to eat.

We are ravenous, but we know from our Seville experience in January that Spaniards keep crazy time as regards eating. We eventually find a little tapas bar on, Plaza del Ayuntamiento, one of the main squares. The guy there tells us that they only serve seafood tapas. Although that's fine for us, I can't help suspecting, by the way he seems to say it, that many tourists don't like seafood. But then this is a port town, so seafood ought to be expected, no? We ordered a half-portion each of prawns and squid rings, with a pair of beers to wash it all down. The first few mouthfuls were great, but after a while it became a bit much. Deep-fried fish and beer on empty stomachs = not ideal. Oh well. We ate what we could and moved on.

We decided to head towards the park area via some other bits of the city, such as the Estació del Nord and some other stuff. Here's some video of the estació, which is Spanish for "station".

The park is so cool. Right through the entire length of the city, where once there was a river, there is now parkland. Some city planners thought it was a good idea back in the day, and so they diverted the flow of the river and created a wonderful public space. And all the bridges that spanned the waterway now span the park. It's so cool! Kids and dogs and buskers and tourists all just hanging out, cycling, walking, roller-blading, whatever, enjoying what was a glorious late-November afternoon.

We walked and walked and walked. And we got hot. The sun was beating down, and although we had lightened our load on arrival, my leather jacket was soon too much. At one point both the missus and I had stripped down to T-shirts, along with many others out and about. The 24th of November, and I'm in a T-shirt. Now that's what I call a rockin' good time!

More stuff later.

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Blogger martinobhoy said...

Cold!? You soft southerners dont know the meaning of the word ;o)

You're right about going to Southern Europe at this time of year though. It is fantastic to walk around without being wrapped up. But how depressing is it when you are coming back into land in the UK and the pilot says "and the local weather is cloudy and 6 degrees..." as happened to me one year on the way back from Barcelona.

27 November, 2007 17:42  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Martino: Long time... Yeah, the pilot said, "The weather in Stansted is similar to Valencia, but with a little cloud cover and wind, so it's about 5 degrees." Um, pilot, it was fucking 20 in Valencia; 5 is not similar!

27 November, 2007 17:48  
Blogger Avid Andy said...

sounds like a good time. all of this traveling is making me want to go somewhere....besides memphis to see family.

27 November, 2007 17:56  
Blogger furiousBall said...

Cold, oh I know cold. I am burning firewood like I'm going to win a prize for it.

Your past posts about the vacation make me sing O Valencia by The Decemberists in my noggin for several hours afterwards.

27 November, 2007 18:32  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Andy: Go travel, my friend, and enjoy!

F/ball: We haven't got the logs out yet, but we do have the central heating on. I don't know that track. I'll try to find it online tomorrow. Thanks.

27 November, 2007 18:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

its v cold here down 2 0c at nite im goin 2 so cali rite afta xmas it should b 40 here( ust makin up # 4 that i mean about 80 f)but u hadda fun trip n that is wot counts, si?

27 November, 2007 19:16  
Blogger Glamourpuss said...

Every fibre of my being years for a blue sky like that. Sigh.

Lucky bugger.


27 November, 2007 19:26  
Blogger _z. said...

it was so exiting reading that. man you write so well. I was practically running with you to the airport. I got tired.


glad it was great man. looking fwd for more.

28 November, 2007 00:48  
Blogger Martha Elaine Belden said...

looks and reads like a fantastic weekend already.

you want to wear a t-shirt in november? come to texas!!!

28 November, 2007 06:54  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

DP: That'll be cool to go to Cali in the winter. I've never been, but it's high on the wish list.

G/puss: You're so right. You almost don't realize it's gone when you're locked inside working all day, but once you're out in it, it's a real tonic.

_z.: Thanks, my friend. I hope I can keep you running with us!

Martha: Hey, now there's a thought: Texas at Thanksgiving...

28 November, 2007 08:41  
Blogger Milla said...

What a beautiful sky. And beautiful buildings. And weather.
Is that video no 1 of 7? If so I am looking forward to watching the other 6.

28 November, 2007 13:24  
Blogger Cynnie said...

I feel jealous..
I want to go to spain..
but now i feel guilt..
I put a jacket on this morning ..( I was cold!! )
it was 71degrees..Ithink thats 22 where ya'll are.

28 November, 2007 13:28  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Milla: It was a blue sky all weekend, and the buildings are gorgeous there! There may or may not be 7 videos. There'll be several, though.

Cynnie: You should feel bloody guilty! Jeez Louise!

28 November, 2007 14:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sounds so very cool. I'd accept going to Valencia for xmas from poor bill. Pretty sure thats not happening though. I don't mind traveling through your eyes at all.

30 November, 2007 00:48  

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