We packed up our bags and headed out to Europcar to get our car that we will be using for the rest of our travels. I am having to sit on my suitcase to get the zippers to close. I think we will have to purchase something additional to get everything home. When I first reserved a car I chose economy, and then when I looked into it again before we left I realized we could all sit but there would be no space for our suitcases. So….I reserved a minivan of sorts. Since we would be driving quite a bit why not be comfortable? Took the metro to more of an industrial area to find the car rental place. After further review we decide on a Volkswagen Tigua that was smaller than the minivan and did not scream American. Francisco, our car rental agent was so fun to talk to and he wished us well on our journey. He comes from an island called Mayorca and we talked about our love of travel.
Mike quickly realized our car was a stick shift. A couple stalls are we were cruising. I was the navigator-him the driver. Made it out of Barcelona and onto the highway south with no problems. Felt good to be driving our own car and the freedom to stop and look wherever we wanted. Kids were comfortable and we played our tunes. The Mediterranean was on our left and we got glimpses of the beautiful blue throughout our drive. Lots of tow roads here! I think we spent $25.00 driving to Valencia. It does make for a very nice freeway. When you exit for gas or a restroom it is very nice and the highway is very clean with lots of tunnels cut into the rock. We decided to stop in a town called Tarragona on the way. This town still has ruins from when the Romans occupied it. Stunning views of the Mediterranean and it was toasty warm. Explored the ruins and had a great lunch of gazpacho and olives. THE OLIVES. Amazing. You could have a meal of them. Delicious and so many different variaties. As we were driving there are olive trees all over. It was after 6:00 before we knew it and decided to continue on to Valencia. Entering town was fun and we were taken right away with the city. Again, we feel like the dial has been turned down once again from Barcelona. Great vibe here. Mike maneuvered the streets like a professional. This Airb&b was tricky to find. Amazing location right in the heart of the city. To get to our door you had to walk between two tables where people were eating. It was like a speak easy. Up five flights of stairs hardly wider than us! Let’s just say our buns were burning and we were breathing heavy when we got to the top. What a great place with huge, beautiful old windows that let in beautiful light. We explored our little area for a couple hours before calling it a night. Believe me, I spotted some tiendas I would be visiting the next day. Ironically we ate Italian this night. Several yummy restaurants from all over Europe.
Since we had two days we decided the first day would be exploring (shopping) Valencia and the next would be our beach day. Valencia has a beautiful and long park that runs thru the center. We spent part of the day strolling the streets and walking the park. It was a very warm day and it made the gelato we had that day all the more delicious. My choice that day was orange chocolate. Our siesta ended up being around 5:00 that day and we all rested and were ready to try tapas for the evening. We still aren’t sure what some of the things are that we tried. But yummy! Annalin was adventurous and tried everything while Sam simply had bread. Lots of seafood items. There was only one I didn’t finish, I think it had anchovies on it. I had a drink the locals have. Not sure what it was either but delicious and had fresh oranges in it. The kids settled in for the night and Mike and I went out for a pitcher of Sangria. Was fun to people watch and sit in the warm air.
The next day took us to la playa (the beach). The beach here is muy popular! They have a few different ones and we opted for the larger called Malvarrosa. Located three miles from where we were. This beach has a lot going on and is super fun! We rented lounge chair with little grass huts and napped and played the day away. You can walk straight in to the warm Mediterranean. Felt great! Had a lovely lunch and walked around. Down by the port there was a fun park for the kids and a beach club that was thumpin. We walked thru and it looked like a swanky outdoor area you would find in Vegas. Back home for our siesta. I went out on my own and had a late afternoon cappuccino amd went up and down streets. I love looking. Every store is different and so many neat things the locals have made and are selling. The kids had a light dinner of whatever they wanted that night and Mike and I found an awesome Lebanese restaurant. Good convo over our food, beer and wine. Our last night in Valencia…I feel sad. I have really enjoyed Valencia. Ready to explore the Andalusia country and stay in the city of…..Granada.