28 Things Everyone Who Studied In Valencia Will Remember
Valencia is undoubtedly one of the most magnificent cities in Spain. It is the third largest, behind Madrid and Barcelona, but it has them both trumped on weather, beauty, and above all else, charm.
Having been largely re-built following the 1957 Great Flood of Valencia, the city is a striking contrast of old and new, and has since become known for its contemporary architecture. But to someone who has actually lived there, it is known for so much more than that – namely cheap booze and croquetas.
Here are 28 things we all remember about the real Valencia:
1. The cheap and cheerful Mestalla matches.
A ticket costs between €6 and €10, you’re allowed to buy beer and people are actually nice to each other. What is this strange, new world?
2. Playing detective at the Mestalla flea market.
Most if it’s actual rubbish, but there’s the odd trinket that’ll make your weekend. It’s up to you to decide which is which because the hombre selling it definitely won’t help you.
3. The endless walk down Blasco Ibáñez.
It’s the street that never ends, but with the beach at one end and the old town at the other, you learn to love the walk.
4. And the endless list of bizarrely named Facultats.
Sorry, I wasn’t aware I studied philology, communication and whatever else that is.
5. Walking through El Jardí del Túria.
Stretching over 9 kilometres, The Turia Gardens bring life to the city. They’re beautiful, lively and enchanting at all times of the day and night, despite the distinct smell of weed that the Spanish youths exude.
6. The constant confusion as to why one city needed quite so many bridges… that all went to roughly the same place.
The Turia Gardens alone are home to no less than 17 bridges, old and new. By day, they’re majestic, but by night, they’re just excessive. Try remembering which one takes you home after a night on Sangria.
7. The City of Arts and Sciences.
8. Summer nights in L’Umbracle.
There’s genuinely nothing like it. It’s a cross between a museum, a park, a bar, a nightclub and somebody’s spinal column – but it’s bloody fantastic. Just don’t go expecting to dance, the dance floor is microscopic.
9. Winter nights in Mya.
When a party doesn’t start until 1am, you know it’s going to be good.
10. And trying to find the toilet in either of the above.
To this day, I’m not entirely sure where they are. I’m almost certain someone is moving them.
11. Handing over most of your Erasmus grant at L’Oceanogràfic.
It was impressive, sure, but there is very little that is worth €30 to a student that isn’t served in a bar. Luckily, Yulka the Beluga Whale is up there.
12. …Or Bioparc.
Similar financial story, but well worth the spend. The only disconcerting feature were the runaway house-cats that invariably ended up in the rhino enclosure, but I guess that’s what happens when you build Africa in the middle of a city.
13. Climbing the 207 steps of the Cathedral’s bell tower.
Literally every time anyone came to visit.
14. And making up what every parade was for.
Seriously, they happen every weekend. Nobody has that much to celebrate.
15. Because some of them were definitely suspect.
16. Shopping on Colón.
I’ve never seen so many Zara stores in one place.
17. And grabbing a coffee in Mercado Colón.
This place is great for sampling local favourites like Horchata and Fartons – its particularly fun ordering Fartons.
18. Drinks in Plaza de la Virgen
Although this isn’t an activity your bank account advocates, it has to be done occasionally. It’s the best way to a get a real sense of what the city is all about – contrast.
19. Long dinners in Barrio del Carmen.
Endless traditional, authentic restaurants in the heart of the old town, but the chances are if you find one you like, you won’t find it again for a while.
20. Trying to comprehend Las Fallas
So. Much. Fire.
21. Especially the Mascleta.
22. And why each Falla was quite so bizarre.
They were like nursery rhymes, except totally different and very, very odd.
23. The Metro was a Godsend.
It was a bit like being in New York, except there was a stop at the beach, so it was better.
24. But Valenbisi was a risky business.
Even if you lived in the arse end of nowhere, people would flock to your area especially so you couldn’t park your bike on time.
25. Free time was spent at the beach.
We’re British – it’s a luxury.
26. Where you were left wondering if there were any Germans left in Germany.
Fairly sure there were more of them there than Spaniards.
27. Why could nobody make a normal sandwich?
Spanish omelette doesn’t belong between two slices of bread.
28. But my God they could make a Paella.
It was invented there – they literally owned it.
We miss you, Valencia.