In the cool of the airplane, we enjoyed the hour and a half flight, and when we got out of the plane in Valencia, the air felt downright balmy - even though it was in the upper 80’s! That’s what contrast will do for you! After a very easy transition from the plane to taxi thanks to the aviation handling services of Gestair, we arrived at the Caro Hotel in the old area of the city.
We chose Caro Hotel because of it’s unique and very modern design in a very old area of Valencia. The hotel is minimalist but comfortable, with a feeling of a museum or gallery throughout, where stone ruins are showcased. It is a blend of hip and archeology. Each treasure has a QR code that tells the story of the piece, or the history of the room you stay in. Our room was charming, with a sloped, planked wooden ceiling and sky light windows and a huge round tub. We settled in to take a breath or two and arranged to meet Travis to head out to dinner at a nearby Tapas restaurant recommended by the hotel staff.
Walking the short two blocks to the large and beautiful cathedral, and the plaza beside it filled with restaurants and pedestrians, we couldn’t help but be reminded of the attack on Las Ramblas in Barcelona. I don’t know if there were fewer numbers than usual in the square, but there was definitely an attentive police presence.
We had a great tapas feast, and shared funny stories until we were laughed out! then headed back to Caro...a lovely walk on a cool evening.
Valencia, Day 2
The next day, it became clear that a small bout of nausea I’d had the day before was a real stomach issue (a familiar risk on the road, but happily endured!). I stayed in the comfort of the room while Julian went to a local cafe for breakfast and to catch up on work. After a rest, and a solid hair wash that rinsed the last of the clay from the hammam out of my hair (smile), we headed out for an explore - back to the square. It was full of life. We were determined to have paella before we left Spain, and found a restaurant near the square that served Valencian paella (made with chicken and rabbit instead of seafood). It was delicious...and we found just the right gelato spot to finish our late lunch.
The cathedral is glorious -- a kind of lacy, shimmering veil of a church. The thing that caught our attention most strongly was the nearby model of the entire cathedral made of bronze, with a bronze plaque describing it in braille. What a great service to give the sight-impaired, an opportunity to enjoy the cathedral in this very special way.
We decided to settle in for the night, and realized we had time to do something we have been meaning to do for a long time...we watched Casablanca together! and enjoyed Morocco all over again as a result, and appreciated Rick’s Cafe in Casablanca all the more!