Nancy’s cousin Kathleen - a faithful follower on our blog - added a comment to our first visit to Barcelona and mentioned a former colleague who was living in Valencia - “should you be headed in that direction”. Little did she know that her introducing us to Hop and Douglas would prove to be one of the highlights of our visit there. They were full of excellent suggestions for restaurants and sites, and they introduced us to a number of US expats who created a sense of community that we had been missing as we journeyed mostly alone. Some of these folks were veteran travelers who’d been to many places, yet they were unanimous that Valencia was the best - “Shh...don’t tell too many people our secret”.
On our first full day in Valencia we set out to explore the Jardí del Túria where the City of Arts and Sciences was built. Admittedly when we first heard that Valencia had turned a dry riverbed into a park, our expectations were pretty low - perhaps a dusty bike and walking path? Were we ever surprised.
We love to open ourselves up to serendipity and stumble upon great things that we never expected. The coastal city of Valencia Spain was added to our itinerary at the last minute - for very practical reasons - and it turned out to be one of our favorite places in all of Europe. In this and the next few posts we'll share what makes this an absolute must-see city, especially in March.
Saturday (February 22) began with a trip to the beautiful Parque de el Retiro that was alive with locals and tourists. Over 300 acres in the center of the city, the park is filled with pavilions, fountains, art exhibits, a manmade pond with boat rentals, and all variety of flora. At one point we ran into a group of swing dancers enjoying the fresh air and music. After a quick lunch, we trekked over to the nearby Royal Botanical Gardens, but it was clear looking through the fence that it was too soon in the season to be worth the price of admission.
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Nancy McCabe &