Valencia Day Four

Last night we booked ourselves in for one of those free guided tours, where you tip the tour guide at the end of the walk. The walk started at 10:30 so we had to be up reasonably early, and we were at the starting point with half an hour to spare, and had time for a cheeky coffee.

There were loads of people milling about wearing hi-viz clothing, and it turned out that these were volunteers, equivalent to special constables in the UK, who were on a training exercise ahead of the Las Fallas festival which starts in earnest on 13th March. They started off with a photo shoot with the mayor and other suits from the town hall, which will no doubt appear in the papers tomorrow.

Elena was our guide, and she took us around the old town telling us about the history of Valencia from Roman times through to present day. It really is an interesting city, and we enjoyed our tour.

We decided that we’d have a ‘menú del día’ for lunch which, if you haven’t had one before, is a three course set menu plus a drink. The restaurant we chose was in a touristy area where the menú del día cost €15, which was pretty reasonable as the portion sizes were generous. Whilst we were eating, we could hear the firecrackers going off; every day at 2pm in the run up to Las Fallas, they have what’s known as the mascletá in one of the main squares, where they set off firecrackers for about 10 minutes. It was loud for us sitting about half a mile away, so it must have been deafening to watch it in the square. There’s a video here which should give you an idea as to what it’s like.

With our menú del día polished off, we headed to fnac to buy a new camera. Our spare camera takes reasonably good photos, but is temperamental when taking night time shots, there’s no setting for panoramic views (I love a good panorama!) and it doesn’t have USB or WiFi connectivity, so we’ve invested in a new Sony camera with 20x zoom along with panoramic, USB and WiFi capability. The battery is charging up as I type this, so haven’t had chance to have a proper play with it yet.

We strolled past the Plaza de Toros where they seemed to be having some sort of open day, so we wandered in and had a quick look around inside before continuing on our way to the Jardín del Turiá. Because of severe flooding back in the late 50’s, the course of the River Turiá was diverted north of the city, and the old route has been turned into a green space with gardens, footpaths, cycling and jogging tracks and playing fields for football, rugby and baseball. It’s been really well done, and it was good to see that this has been well maintained. We walked through the gardens to the metro station, and headed back to the van.

The weather forecast for tomorrow is cloudy, with temperatures in the high teens. We’re going to stay on site, do some laundry and reading. I’m looking forward to trying out our new camera, and tomorrow I’ll upload some pics of the inside of our van (after we’ve had a tidy up!).

Here are today’s pics:

Las Fallas volunteers
Orange trees
Gargoyle – this was supposed to warn sailors to keep away from the ladies of the night!
I love these painted tiles which you see outside restaurants in Spain
Another pic for all you jamón lovers


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