Published: November 8th 2011November 8th 2011
Yesterday, on my 39th birthday, we woke to a beautiful shimmering Mediterranean morning. The sunlight was playing off of the water in the distance and I felt like it was wishing me a good year. ☺
We got our stuff together, checked out of the hotel, and started to drive toward Valencia. We had a hankering for some food, but didn’t want to guess at a restaurant. So we headed toward the golden arches. The arches led us to a mall. So we went in and bought a couple of things, headed to McDonalds and had a nice burger ‘n’ fries type of meal, followed by my first birthday treat, which was Häagen-Dazs – a scoop of crème brulee and a scoop of chocolate with pralines and caramel. Yum.
We got on the road for Valencia. It was a 2 hour, 20 minute drive through lovely countryside. Gosh, Spain has a lot of beautiful countryside! As we were driving into Valencia, we saw the Arts & Sciences buildings, which were designed by Santiago Calatrava who is the same guy who designed the airport in Bilbao. His designs are very modern and very cool. We got to our hotel, Hotel
Solvasa Valencia, which is a nice little place. It’s clean and comfy with interesting artwork.
After getting settled, we wandered the neighborhood a little and then boarded the local Metro to head to Centro. The first cool building we saw was the Ayuntamiento building, which is apparently a government building for the municipality. We then went for some more shopping. This time, I found a blue and white hoodie and a brown corduroy button-up shirt. Daniel bought the shirts for me for my birthday. He said that the hoodie makes me look very “Euro.” I’m OK with that.
Some more wandering found us at the Cathedral, which was beautiful. We stepped inside and it was lovely and there was a mass happening in a side chapel. We sat in the Cathedral for a bit before moving on. After this brief moment of rest and peace, we were at the Real Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados (the Royal Basilica of Our Lady of the Helpless and Forsaken). It was a small place with an amazing ceiling. I bought a postcard with a picture of the ceiling on it, since it was so beautiful.
In the plaza
Cool statue near the Basilica in Valencia
outside of the Basilica, we saw a cool fountain of some dude laid-back surrounded by little ladies. Daniel then said to me, “Well, Birthday Boy, what do you want to do now?” So we thought we’d check out the paella in Valencia. We went to ask two policemen (one of whom was HOT) where the best paella in Valencia is. Little did we know that paella is only for lunch. They don’t serve it for dinner at all. So, we asked them for the best restaurant for dinner. While we didn’t have the guts to ask for a picture with them, they DID give us a police escort to their restaurant of choice: La Bodeguilla del Gato. It was about 6:30pm and the restaurant doesn’t open until 9pm, so we went to a little bar, called Negrita, which is on the Plaza Negrito.
We decided that it was too long of a wait before 9pm, so we headed back to the hotel to drop our stuff off, check Facebook and e-mails, and then we headed back to the restaurant. We are very happy that we did. We shared a bottle of red wine, Daniel ordered pate de foie, which
My Birthday dinner with Daniel
was duck liver and it was served with cured duck meat, almonds, and some cracker bread – it was rich and delicious. I ordered some piquillos, which are little peppers (not spicy) stuffed with cheese and cod (apparently there IS a way for me to enjoy peppers!), a tortilla (the best we’ve had while here, in my opinion), and a fried thing made with pork loin, ham, and cheese. For dessert, we had a pumpkin thing that was nice, but bland. We also ordered the house flan, which was phenomenal. It was covered in chocolate and it was so very yummy. Carlos, our server, also brought us two little shot glasses with a dessert wine in them.
After dinner, we headed back to the hotel for some e-mail checking and sleep.
This morning, we checked-out of Solvasa and punched in our coordinates for Sabadell, which is near Barcelona. We are now at the last hotel in which we will be staying in Spain. It is called Hotel Arrahona. It’s an odd place with a complicated check-in and parking system. It’s clean and modern. Seems OK so far. Free WiFi is good. ☺
I will try to post
The pate that Daniel ordered.
again before we leave. If not, it will have to wait until I am home. I will comment on whatever we do this evening and tomorrow from home and I plan on having a summary entry of sorts. So, keep an eye out for that.
There are more photos below