BootsnAll Travel Network

11.18 – “Did those kids just steal your wallet?”

What a crazy day!

Last night, Melissa, Yoann and I decided we would find the ingredients to cook paella (a popular Spanish rice dish). In the morning, Melissa and I set off in search of a huge local market we passed last night. Unsure of it’s location, we just chose a direction and hoped for the best. “Um… let’s go that way”

Within a few minutes of walking, we found the greatest surprise: The Torres de Serrans, a large castle gate like structure that used to be an entrance through the old medieval city wall. To our surprise it was open to the public, and free of charge. We made our way to the topall the way past the gated off ladder to the flagpole! Up there it became apparent how wondrous this city is.  

The sun shines down upon our new lookout through a perfectly crystal clear blue sky. Behind us stands the charming old streets we saw from the streets last night; a very classic European city complete with bell towers, cathedrals, and cobblestone. Ahead of us, stretching further than our vision, lies a very long park encircling the old city; Apparently, they dammed up the waterway surrounding the city and replaced the river bed with one of the coolest parks I’ve ever seen. The old bridges still cross over it! In the distance, mountain peaks poke their summits above the buildings and the Mediterranean disappear into the horizon.

It was hard to leave this breathtaking view, but we spotted our quarry; a tower we recognized as being near the market last night.

The charm of Valencia’s emptied streets in the evening, and the magnificence of the view from this morning has already sold me on the true distinction of this city. My appreciation was only further intensified by our leisurely stroll to the market.

We came across a festival for children, saw the most beautiful graffiti street art, and every fifteen minutes we would find beautiful couples taking the most elegant wedding photos. The Spanish people definitely know how to live life and they do it with so much style that it hurts!

Eventually, we found the amazing domed central market. The aisles were lined with merchants selling all sorts of unidentifiable meat and other victuals. We lingered for at least an hour gathering our paella ingredients before moving on. Back to the lively streets of Valencia! We came across more beautiful graffiti, an awesome hippy store, and a secluded park with a stage of stone and ancient columns.

After a while of wandering we settled at a table on the marble-sidewalk terrace of a café. We sat, enjoying good conversation, two delicious café con leche, and the ideal climate. After a few minutes, Melissa raised question to why I put my foot through the strap of my day pack. When I told her it would be harder for anybody to run off with it, she began to tell me how safe everything has been for her and that there wasn’t any need to be so paranoid. Just then a group of eight young children ran up to our table and pushed petitions in front of our faces. Before we could respond they ran off.

Before long, Melissa noticed her wallet was missing. The last place she had it was on the table next to her coffee… right where the kids were standing by our table! Almost in disbelief at the irony of our preceding conversation, we now set off on a new mission to cancel her debit card and file a police report.

I was truly impressed with her demeanor while we carried out our new goals. Melissa never once truly freaked out or got noticeably upset. We spent the afternoon joking about the irony and enjoying our new tasks; without the theft we would have never seen parts of the city and met the awesome people we did.

To make things even more exciting during out tasks, we decided to speak only Spanish to each other. It was amazing how long we could converse! If was definitely a lot of fun to break down more of the language barrier and find ourselves involved in non-touristy daily routine.

Today in Valencia I felt more comfortable, and at home than any other city I’ve been to in my life. This place somehow captured the perfect blend of old world charm and modern comforts. The weather has been ideal. The local people have been more than hospitable. If more cities were like Valencia… the world would be a happier place!



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