This little stop, as a necessity for our participation in La Tomatiña, was not off to a great start thanks to my partner buying bus tickets for 2 days earlier…. That was embarrassing! Poor fella, wasn’t his fault it was a bad time of the month, but he couldn’t of picked a worse time to mess up and not double check his purchase before payment.
After some time of me working my minimal Spanish ‘magic’ with several non English speaking attendants and getting yet again the WRONG tickets, a young counter clerk was sympathetic to my plight and spoke some English. I made goo goo eyes and we not only were back in business but we also were put on a newly created bus, with a slight detour, that would get us in earlier & still able to make our orientation with our travel group. Thanks doll face!
For information and my blog post on the actual tour we were with for La tomatina >>>click here<<<<
Once our tour ended, so did our time in a cosy hotel, but we milked it and slept 10 hours after la tomatina & almost missed checkout! We needed to check into our hostel accommodation I had booked just before leaving Australia.
Little did I know I had booked with 1 of 2 Home Hostels in Valencia. So I google mapped the address to what I thought was the right one, paid the cab driver, waited patiently to check in…. *Uh oh* “sorry but your reservation is at the other location, here I will draw it on a map for you, it’s not far walking distance.”
WHY!? I’m rarely this unorganised. But it gets worse….
Ol’ Mate at the other location drew it in the wrong location on our map, so we walked 3 times the distance we needed to trying to find it! *seriously?!* yes! Locals were trying ever so hard to help us but because it was wrong on the map they thought we were crazy. After my partner and I were getting huffy and puffy from lack of nourishment (thanks to our sleep in) we gave up hope and stopped in the location that was marked on the map. Soon after, another back packer approached with the same confused look on his face, with the same map & after quick introductions shared a similar story to ours and was from Newcastle NSW! Small world.
Eventually we found the place! We were so disheartened to see that the line up for check in was out the door! It was easily 35•c by now. Still no food, our patience was at an all time low, we dumped our gear and gave up. Went to eat a late breakfast, 12:15pm exactly, at a very affordable (€9.95 for a starter, main, drink and desert) seemingly rundown establishment. After sitting there and taking in the surrounds and local clientele, we realised it was a gay club at night and a drag show in the evening. Let it be known the food & service were amazing! It just shows, you never judge a book by its cover, if you don’t want to miss out on some great finds!
3 & a half hours later we were checked in and ready for business! Home hostel was a fantastic environment for socialising and had some great zones set up to get to know fellow travellers. I never once waited for a shower in the 6 days we were there. The facilities were cleaned regularly & the kitchen had everything (apart from an oven) to make a mean feed. We were so happy to finally be able to cook our food! Majority of the staff were amazing & spoke fairly good English.
FYI we have NAILED Patatas Bravas.
Some of our best memories are of the people we cooked with, bartered ingredients with, shared bottles of dirt cheap wine over dinner with & swapped Europe stories and recommendations within this hostel. We have made some great friends thanks to this place. HOME backpackers Hostel Valencia
Over our stay in Valencia we explored and learned a lot:
* the free walking tour was ok but not as engaging as some others we have done.
* Valencia prefers to speak Catalan, which is derived from Spanish, so I found it more difficult to speak to them.
* Valencia was occupied by Muslims for (I think so, but for the love of god, don’t quote me) 400 years, and when they left after the strong influence of Christianity there was low population levels and the city was suffering, so they brought in 7 women & 7 men from Madrid and their sole purpose was to make love and babies! So strange. They are immortalised on the main cathedral in a glass window behind the alter.
* we were told to try Paella in Valencia before we tried it anywhere else. It was delicious but oh so expensive! €24 for 2 people! It has to be cooked then served in the skillet and you have to scrape all the flavour off the bottom.
* When strange American nomads invite themselves along to lunch with you, kindly decline. Lol. We love Americans we have met along our travels but a particularly bizarre one poo pooed everything we were served but scraped the plate with his fingers. Chose to sleep homelessly to save money but travel only by train. Then tried to impress us with his Spanish only to have the waitress reply with “huh?” …. Funny experience that one.
* I have learned Tim is a bit careless when he books things. He bought football tickets and it required us to extend our stay one night. But one night he races to tell me it’s the next day instead and we, yet again, need to extend asap. Haha. Good thing Home Hostel staff were excellent and helped us out.
* the football was Valencia Vs Barcelona. This was a great environment! So much fun. We were in the nosebleed section (35€ per person) but enjoyed every minute. Messi played and scored a hat trick!
* the locals here are very eager to help you when they know what you need. But the language barrier is the main reason why someone won’t.
* the builders back in the day of the silk trades, were super perverted, and put disgusting little gargoyles all over the trade market building.
* the beaches are a great day out, fun things happening, sun beds & umbrellas for hire (€4 beds & brollies), food, markets & restaurants. There are so many adorable little kids running around being all model worthy in their designer swimwear.
* the water at the beach is super warm but the water is still not the cleanest…
* there are gypsies offering all sorts of goods and services to you when your relaxing on the beach. We spoilt ourselves and got full body massages for 15€ each!
* Valencia turned an old dried up river bed into a park and leisure activity zone with bike/ walking paths everywhere. It’s amazing! At the end of it, there is some of the best modern architecture I have seen to date.
* people love to smoke EVERYWHERE. So it is something you need to be prepared for if you are like me and don’t like being in the path of 2nd hand smoke.
* in Valencia fireworks are their speciality! (They won the fireworks competition we watched in San Sebastián) and they use them to celebrate, events, weddings, birthdays etc. we were constantly jumping of fright from spontaneous explosions!
* a good bottle of wine was under 3€!
Valencia was super chilled out and the old quarter was my top choice for staying in. The beach is very far & you need a bus pass or bike to get anywhere if you stay there. But I saw it as a great place that was central for eating, history and exploring. It was a good stop for us to take our time and give it a real chance to blossom. In future if you have time to kill and your nearby, give it at least 3 days, if you can.
Next stop Barcelona! Chat soon.