Tag: Spain

Valencia Wishes

I decided for my birthday I needed a long weekend on a beach and to see an aquarium, and two places I’ve been wanting to visit came to mind right away: Monaco and Valencia. We were leaning towards Monaco but were having a hard time finding a hotel; after several hours of research, I found a bit of information that explained all and turned our sights to Valencia: the prince of Monaco was getting married that weekend. For a country of only one city no longer than a mile long having a royal wedding on my birthday, we weren’t getting in.

So Friday we took a plane to Valencia. The air there is so humid and warm that it was uncomfortably sticky. Admittedly that day didn’t put me in a great mood, but we got into our room at luxurious Las Arenas Hotel situated right on the beach (hey, I can splurge for my birthday if I want). We checked out the pools and the beach before going to L’Oceanografic‘s (the aquarium) Submarino restaurant, aptly named for residing underwater. The earliest reservation for the restaurant was 9 p.m. though, so we ate late. And a private party was in progress, which was a bit uncomfortable. However, the food was superb (as one would expect from a swank eatery). The round room is surrounded by a large aquarium made to look like you were seeing the small lake it resided in. I was saddened that was what they had done (instead of making it like those glass tunnels aquariums have for people to walk under and by the fish), but that was minor. Worth eating at if you want good fancy fish meals!

Hotel by day.Hotel at night.Submarino restaurant.

On Saturday we took the bus back to the aquarium (learned our lesson from walking the day before), and spent half a day snapping photos of sea life, eating at the other restaurant on the premises, and seeing the dolphin show. Overall, it is a good aquarium, but I have visited better. The layout and architecture are unique. Afterwards we stopped by a small shopping complex “across the street”.

Seahorse.Sea plant.Squid.Cultural Arts Center.

Sunday was our beach day, and it mostly rained and whipped up a sandy storm. Luckily, every morning we woke up early to hit the beach before everyone else and got in a lot of swimming in the Mediterranean. With the amount of cloud coverage (weather.com you liar!) our skin was saved from burning though, so it al worked out. A renaissance type festival was taking place on the other side of the hotel wall, so we perused that and ate some tasty food. I drank a TON of orange juice while we were there too, it was so yummy!


Before our flight back Monday afternoon we took one more dip in the sea for extra crusty salty goodness, then took the tram all the way back to the airport (a nearly direct shot, great layout). We never really saw downtown Valencia, which is our normal “vacation” style (to see everything is as little time as possible). A great relaxing vacation (even with a few little stresses here and there, it was more relaxing than most trips).

Spain in Pictures

We left for Spain at the end of March and returned on Easter, so I am a little behind. 😛 To make it up, this post will be laden with photos (moreso than usual). We flew into Barcelona, took the high speed train to Madrid (the train had baggage security!), and flew back from Madrid.

Day 1: Barcelona

After an hour looking for our B&B the night before, we walked the few blocks to the Sagrada Familia. What a sight! It isn’t done (been under construction for over a century), but it will be in less than a decade. We will have to go back.

Sagrada Familia.
Sagrada Familia.

We trekked to another Gaudi creation, Parque Guell. Beautiful, although very busy. Live music in every corner. We walked most of it and toured Gaudi’s house.

Guell Park.
Guell Park.

Near the coastline we found Parc Ciutadella. It wasn’t as snazzy as Guell, but it houses a very lovely fountain. You can also find a zoo, a few museums, and the Catalan Parliament there.

Ciutedella Park.
Ciutedella Park.

Just in the north corner of the park was Barcelona’s Arc De Triomf. It was more pleasant than Paris’ because of the long promenade with some lovely architecture on either side whereas the Parisian arch is in the middle of a roundabout. 😛

Arc de Triomf.

We ended the day with a walk down the pier and a quick step into the Mediterranean. Our dinner was at the 7 Portes, a very old Catalan restaurant highly recommended.


Day 2: Barcelona

First stop: Casa Batllo. The house architecture was inspired by the sea. I would love to have something more organic like this whenever we get a house. 😀 We made a quick swing by Casa Mila, but the line was too long to go up and enjoy the sea of chimneys.

Casa Batllo.
Casa Batllo.
Casa Batllo.
Casa Mila.

Instead we ate at the Hard Rock Cafe and walked down La Rambla, the most well-known street in Barcelona. After passing many booths, we arrived at the Colom (Christopher Columbus) monument. We took the elevator up to see a grand view of Barcelona then walked around the pier a bit more.

Las Ramblas.
Columbus monument.

With some time left, we went back north to the Cathedral that has a spectacular courtyard with duck pond and an old drinking fountain. By this point, I was feeling the beginnings of the miserable cold Herr had for several days, so it was soup and flan for me while Herr had black paella.


Day 3: Barcelona

Our last day in Barcelona we spent hanging around La Rambla area, which has great shopping, and toured the Palau de la Musicaa Catalana . Because the building is privately owned, we weren’t allowed to take photos, but it is a very lovely building with a beautiful interior. It would have been terrific to see a performance!

Unfortunately, we caught the train before that evening’s show. The AVE high speed train requires a baggage security check because of terrorist bombs a while back, but on the train they showed a movie! Like an airplane would! Okay, I thought it was awesome, even if it was an American movie dubbed in Spanish. 😛

In Madrid, we found our room was upgraded to a suite. Even though the rooms needed serious updating, I found it very nice nonetheless.

Day 4: Madrid

Our busy day in Madrid was a dreary one. We went to the Temple of Debod, a gift from Egypt to Spain for helping rescue temples in the flooding plain of a dam.

Temple of Debod.

We backtracked to the Renia Sophia to admire some artwork including several Picassos including the Guernica, although I found some line drawings a few rooms down to be much more interesting.

We made it to the National Library in time to run through their Paper in History exhibit (several of their most priceless books on display!), and then ran around the block to the Archaeological Museum (it literally abuts the library) before the museums closed.

National Library.

It was nearly 3 p.m. when we ate at the Hard Rock. With nearly replenished energy and happier feet, we found the entrance to Parque Retiro just as it started to rain. In the middle of the park is the Crystal Palace, a large open floor glass building.

We were soaked when we made it to the hotel (which may have been why our colds lingered for some time…), then we caught our flight the next morning. I would like to return to Spain when the weather is warmer to see Valencia. 😀