Finding myself lost in the streets of Barcelona was an unexpected surprise and then doing it again in Valencia was a great time. I spent hours weaving and wandering around with glorious ‘old town’ structures all around me.
Spain is one of those countries I have always wished to visit. Just the thought of finally having the opportunity to get down there for a week was enough to make me squeal like a 10 year old girl. I had done my research months in advance because I wanted to make the most of my first time, do some hiking and see some of the old architecture. Guilty little admission: I have found myself fascinated with the older parts of towns everywhere I go. The more research I did the more I realised that many trips will be needed. Sounding familiar to anyone?
Montserrat Monastery is a little over one hour outside of Barcelona and it provided some moody hiking views for one of my days. Apart from this, the old gothic and medieval style buildings had my full attention.
Barcelona’s gothic area was dirty and intriguing, tiny little corridors with three to four stories raised above the stone ground under foot. Right next door is La Rumblas, the busy pedestrian area. Food markets were everywhere, making it an easy choice for lunch and dinner. Arc de Triomf is only a short walk away from the gothic quarter. The Arc was built as the main entrance to the 1888 Barcelona world fair and now stands at the end of a huge park space within the bounds of the city. You will definitely know when you’re in the park as you will see ‘free minded’ people lying around playing music, painting pictures, making trinkets out of rubbish.
I am not sure what was going through the architect’s minds when they built Valencia, but there is a fountain around every other corner. And I loved it, although swimming in them is frowned upon. The site itself is bound to the north and west by a huge park that once gave a divide to the city, now it is filled with trees and space for activities. This old walled city has a gothic style to the buildings but feels somewhat clean. Cafes and bars fill every plaza area (alongside all those fountains) and by allowing yourself to aimlessly walk throughout the maze of streets you are sure to find some gems.
The buildings are nothing short of impressive, the streets having a classic look you would expect from this area of the world. Plaza de la Virgen is on the backside of the Cathedral of Valencia and, night and day, has a strange charm to it away from the more crowded areas.
The fountain, pictured, within the Plaza is a rendition of Neptune surrounded by 8 tiny little naked women. Neptune lies in the middle of the fountain with a smug air about his pose with water flowing out from under him. What a sexy manfish!
The city itself is by definition a flat maze and I so very happily allowed myself to wander these streets and drinking too much coffee. This, of course, laid the way for a natural progression to some Tapas restaurants filled with little platters of bite-sized food and vino. It’s a simple rule really… one does not simply go to Spain without splurging on some Tapas and wine. It’s basically heaven.
Until next time Spain, Valencia for the win.