It has taken me over a month to pull together a blog post as I have been busy working back in Scotland so my free time has been limited. But I’ve finally managed it and here’s what I have to say about life in Valencia…
My time in France made me very nervous to do another study abroad experience but I can say for sure that my month spent in Valencia has changed my perception of studying abroad.
Valencia is a medium sized city located on the east coast of Spain. I spent one month there learning and improving my Spanish at the AIP language school. I met and made friends with so many lovely people. (Shout out to Andrés, Natalia and Khusrau).
My 4 weeks in Valencia was the most relaxed I have been in a long time. The easy going-ness of life there and the daily beach trips definitely added to the holiday feel of my study abroad experience. My classes would take up the mornings and then the afternoons I would do as I wished (which was usually lazing about on the beach).
My experience in Spain was much like a big holiday; great food, beautiful beaches and a few excursions. Life was easy and simple and I don’t think I could have asked for much more.
So to reflect on my stay I thought I would compile together a list of my favourite memories and things I did whilst in Valencia so without further adieu, here are my top ten highlights from my time in Valencia.
1. Noche de San Juan – an experience that I will never forget. All the Valencians come down to the beach for drinks and bonfires, a better version of Guy Fawkes Night. At midnight everyone runs into the sea for good luck. The atmosphere was relaxed and cheerful, much like everything and everyone in Valencia.
2. L’Albufera – a manmade lake southwest of Valencia said to have the most beautiful sunsets in Spain and I completely agree. Three of my friends and I took a bus after class and watched the sun go down. This place was so picturesque and possibly the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited.
3. Ciudad de las artes y las ciencias – a huge park near the Marina in Valencia. Myself and Natalia went to see the Hemisferic (IMAX cinema), Oceanografico (aquarium) and science museum. The futuristic architecture of the park alone is incredible and combined with what you find inside, it’s a great day out. We spent two days there exploring and learning many new things.
4. Playa Malvarrosa – a beautiful beach south of the city centre and well connected by metro and tram. I spent almost every afternoon here with friends enjoying the sun and the occasional ice cream.
5. La Pepica – the best Paella I’ve ever had. The first day of classes I was determined to try Paella as Valencia is the home of this authentic Spanish dish. So Natalia and I went to La Pepica the first day we met and what an experience it was. The food was outstanding and the service was great as well. It was a little expensive but completely worth it. The restaurant is located right on the beach at The Marina so a great location if you’re soaking up the sun at Playa las Arenas.
6. Shopping in the City Centre – Valencia has a huge shopping district called Colón, you’ll find all the high street stores as well as designer brands, independent shops and Corte Inglés (a huge department store that sells just about everything).
7. Italian restaurants – those of you who know me will know that my favourite type of food is Italian. There were two restaurants in Valencia which I enjoyed especially. Pinsa Di Roma (if you have space for dessert, try the Tiramisu – the best I’ve ever had) and Le Favole which has great pizza and pasta.
8. Valencia Cathedral – this Cathedral is home to the Holy Grail which is displayed inside a glass case that is beautifully decorated with gold and silver. The building itself is a great example of the older architecture found in the city centre and if you’re interested in history and building; this place is well worth a visit and free to visit on Sundays.
9. Benimaclet Neighbourhood – my school was conveniently located in this very lovely neighbour that was filled with really cool street art and sculptures.
10. Valencia Orgullo (PRIDE) – this was one of my favourite days in Valencia. Despite the scorching temperature of 37 degrees (there was a heatwave) this day was amazing. Everyone was happy and having a great time. I even got to walk in the parade with Andrés and Khusrau.
So that concludes my time in Valencia as well as my study abroad in France and Spain. Thank you to everyone who has supported me and to all of you who have been reading my blog. Adios.