samedi, octobre 31, 2009

Valencia I Love You

Plaza del Ayuntamiento, Valencia, Spain

Arriving in Valencia felt like a homecoming to me. This came probably from nearly 2 years of once living in Spain. Baby Girl after all was made-in-Jaén.

Plaza del Ayuntamiento

I have brought too much warm clothing to Valencia. The city was so hot (average 25-27°C) we nearly died of heat stroke in our down jackets and turtlenecks. Anyway Valencia, Spain has become even better since the last time I visited. This city knows how to maintain its old world charms and move forward at the same time. It is even more beautiful than I remembered it.

In the metro

I booked my favourite hotel in the old town : Husa Reina Victoria****. It is housed in an old 1913 stone building just next to the beautiful Plaza del Ayuntamiento, 5 minutes' walk from the RENFE train station and "Xativa" MetroValencia station, and another few minutes from the shopping streets in Colon. From the airport to the old town it took us only 25 minutes on the metro and 1 euro each. What a change from Modena. And the hotel has quite a decent buffet breakfast spread if a bit on the steep side costwise.

Husa Reina Victoria (View outside and from the room)

As the kids are now older, I decided to march them to most places we wanted to visit. There is no better way to visit a city than to walk through it. And Valencia is candy to the eye as the old town contains so many beautiful buildings most of them quite nicely restored. I took pictures as we went along though we stopped short at visiting museums since there was already so much to do and the Babies had priority. It was after all their vacation.

A few buildings in the old city

The Turia river used to run through the city to meet the Mediterranean sea. But after a catastrophic flood in 1957 it has since been diverted and is now a dry riverbed filled with jogging and cycling tracks, ponds, gardens, playgrounds, cafés, climbing walls, football fields, Music Hall...and of course the famous City of the Arts and Sciences. We visited this modern futuristic city over 2 days which meant that the kids walked a total of 4 hours just to visit its wonders. They complained alot, but just the walk through the Turia Gardens, according to me, was well worth it.

General Post Office inside and out

As I had feared, trying to speak Spanish after Italian was tough - at the beginning. But by the end of the first evening it was starting to come back to me and slowly I started to get a bit of the vocabulary and then the verb conjugations back into circulation. It helped that the hotel provided us with free newspapers in Spanish daily and I tried to read 2 different ones (e.g. La Razon and ABC) everyday.

Shopping shopping shopping

The 2 streets near the hotel

Where we were there were loads of restaurants and boutiques though unfortunately the children were not keen on eating the famous paella valenciana and we ended up eating fastfood or taking away empanadillas and cream puffs from the wonderful local bakeries. But I made a mental note to revisit the paella in my own kitchen soon.

Empanadillas and Mini-Quiches from Pastry Shop near Hotel

I have missed having breakfast in the local Spanish bars. You eat standing at the counter and they usually have good sandwiches, cakes and pastries (though still not French standards). My favourite is toast with fresh tomato puree and olive oil. Almost like bruschetta only they have it for breakfast. Or churros the old way.

The Spanish like their Marzipan

Hub goes to Valencia in 2 weeks for Ferrari's Finali Mondiali. This year it will not be held in Mugello and we do not see any point in having the whole family travel to Valencia again just for it. I think I would prefer to travel to Bologna to catch Jimmy Choo's collection for H&M (*wink*). It would be launched worldwide on Nov 14.

10 commentaires:

Pris a dit…

Hi dear Serene! :) Happy happy birthday - I hope you got my FB bday wishes? And great that you had such a beautiful trip to Valencia? Would want to visit Spain one day too!

Hey dear, Mind if I ask you some cooking thing? I tried your Hainanese chicken rice recipe and thought it was easy enough to follow. However, my rice didn´t come out strong enough. You could taste the similarity to Hainanese Chicken Rice, but the taste wasn´t strong, you know what I mean? Do you know how I can improve the taste of the rice???

Beau Lotus a dit…

Hi Pris, thank you very much for the birthday wishes and yes, I've received lots of birthday greetings on FB but haven't had the time to go on it yet!

Actually, the secret to a good chicken rice is chicken fat. But that's bad for health as you may know. To get chicken fat, you have to collect the butt, skin and any fatty bits from your fresh chicken and heat it in a pan (very low heat) until the fat is melted out.

Then your stock has to be reasonable dense for the flavour to be richer.

Finally increase your proportions of ginger and garlic. You know that I never measure the ingredients I use so if I published them, it's only approximative :-).

Dutchess a dit…

If you go to that Jimmy Choo launch I'm never ever talking to you again!

Speaking of shoes, I fell off the bandwagon and bought another pair.

So glad you enjoyed your break in Valencia. I love the city too and think it's so beautiful.

Anonyme a dit…

Valencia through your 'eyes' has such an 'old world' charm and beauty! I'm definitely going to bug hubby to bring me there in the near future!

Elaine (TO)

Beau Lotus a dit…

Pris, forgot to ask, how did your chicken turn out?

Dutchess, which, ahem, pair of shoes did you fall for? Will you show it to us?

Elaine, Valencia is also a very modern city. I'm going to blog about the City of the Arts and Sciences when I have more time.

Otherwise, do you know of any interesting events happening in the Piémont soon e.g. truffle festivals, wine-tasting festivals etc? Please let me know.

Pris a dit…

Beau Lotus
The chicken turned out fine. But I think I boiled it a bit too long, because the skin was falling off. I think I will need to try it again.

Beau Lotus a dit…

The timing for the chicken is very important if you want a bird with an elastic skin and tender tasty flesh.

First best to use a free-range chicken. Then there are a few sets of timings to use, you have to work out which one suits you best. Also depends on the chicken.

I usually do 10 mins boiling + 15 minutes simmering + 30 mins heat off totally.

And then the ice/cold water bath for 10 mins.

Anonyme a dit…

Check out that website S. Apparently, there is one more week for the famous truffle fair in Alba. There was a wine show in Turin a couple of weeks ago. If I hear of any others, will let you know!


Beau Lotus a dit…

Elaine, thanks. We have friends coming from Milan on Sat, but maybe if we find the courage Sun could be a possibility.

Dutchess a dit…

S, the shoe pics are up. I saw your Audrey in the boutique too but not in the pink you bought.