Here’s what we’ve been up to over the past week.
We spent a day in Valencia, starting off in the Jardí de Túria (the river that’s now a park) and making our way up to the City of Arts and Sciences. We didn’t go into any of the buildings, but instead enjoyed the architecture from the outside. I actually like the Valencia opera house more than Sydney.
From there we walked through the port area to the seafront, and found a lovely restaurant overlooking the beach for lunch. We shared a seafood paella as part of the menú del día, which tasted gorgeous.
After a walk along the promenade, carefully avoiding the ‘lookie-lookie’ guys flogging snide Nike trainers and Ray-Ban sunglasses, we took a tram into the old town and spent the rest of the afternoon there, stopping for ice creams like you do (our first ones since we’ve been away, not counting the McFlurry in Pamplona!).
Our final stop was at the dentist, as I’ve had to go for a couple of emergency dental appointments. My hampsteads are now all sorted, and I was fortunate to find a great dentist who really looked after me. The dentist’s surgery is next to the new Valencia football stadium, which has turned into a bit of a white elephant. Work started in 2006 and should have been completed in 2009, but the financial crisis has caused problems and it’s still just a concrete skeleton. They’re now on their third design, and work won’t be completed until after the club’s centenary in 2019.
By the end of the day we’d walked some 14 miles, so it was great to get back to the van and put our feet up!
We have also had a day out in the van, driving to a village called Vilaflamés, which we found on the Los Pueblos Más Bonitos de España website. It is indeed a lovely village, but it wasn’t as magical as Alquézar, another más bonito pueblo which we visited a couple of weeks back. What doesn’t help is that it’s on a steep hillside, and on one side overlooks an ugly looking industrial estate with what appears to be a massive distribution centre, with loads of lorries trundling backwards and forwards. Much of the village itself was closed, though we did find a patisserie where two coffees, cakes and a bottle of the local tinto cost around €7.
From Vilaflamés, we drove to Benecàssim, a seaside resort known for it’s music festival in July. In Spain there’s a scheme whereby they’ve converted disused railways into footpaths and cycle paths. These routes are known as Vías Verdes, and vary in length from 1km to 128km. The one at Benecàssim is a short 6km, and we walked half way along, following the coast, before turning back. it was great to walk under the bridges and through the tunnels, imagining what it must have been like when the trains were running up and down the line.
The van was taken in for its habitation check for the warranty, and it passed with no issues. I did ask them to fix the USB sockets so that we can again charge our phones from the leisure battery. Unfortunately we were told that these were a modification made by the previous owner which are not covered under the warranty, so I’ve been onto the dealer which sold the van as new to verify this. If this is the case then we’re going to have to find an auto electrician on our travels who can fix this at our own expense.
The last five days it’s been lovely and sunny, with temperatures in the 20’s each day, so we’ve stayed on the campsite, enjoying the weather in our comfy chairs under the canopy, reading and generally chilling out.
Unfortunately the good weather isn’t going to last, and rain is forecast for most of Las Fallas which starts in earnest on Wednesday. Hopefully it won’t rain too much.
This morning I gave the van a clean as it was getting quite dirty. Unfortunately you can’t just bowl up to one of those jet wash places in a motorhome, as these have a tendency to damage the seals on the van, so a hand wash was required.
I’ll try and update the blog again later in the week, once Las Fallas is underway. In the meantime we’ll be planning our route to get from Valencia to Malaga at the end of the month, as there are loads of places we want to see along the way, and we’ll need to work the route out in advance if we’re going to have any chance of fitting everything in.