Horchatas and a bike tour through Valencia

posted in: Blog, travel, Valencia | 2

After a very hot first day in Valencia I wanted to try out a typical Valencian breakfast. We went to one of the most famous horchaterias in Valencia, the Horchateria de Santa Catalina. It’s also one of the oldest horchaterias in town! I already knew that the Spanish people preferred a sweet breakfast. So I was already expecting our breakfast to be sweet, but I didn’t expect it to be like this!

A typical Valencian breakfast consists of a horchata de chufa, which is a milky looking drink made from nuts or seeds, and a fartón, a sweet pastry which is additionally covered in powdered sugar.

My boyfriend hat a “normal” Spanish breakfast, some churros and a hot chocolate.

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Now as a German person, if we order hot chocolate we would usually expect hot milk with cocoa powder in it. What he got was liquid chocolate. Like, half a Nutella jar.

Oh my goodness, I didn’t handle the sugar well at all! I had an instant headache!

Biking through Valencia

Recently I’ve read in a magazine that biking tours were really popular in Valencia and that it was pretty easy and affordable to rent a bike there.

So we got ourselves two bikes at Passion Bike (which btw I can really recommend, they are very friendly and helpful!) and went off to the Jardines del Túria, a long stretch of a park. It used to be a big river which was turned into a long park when it dried. It was amazing to see what they have built in and around the river bed! Very beautiful.

We were making our way to the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, which is a collection of buildings for arts and sciences. It is also a world-known landmark of Valencia. I would love to actually pay a proper visit to them but we didn’t want to spend a beautiful and sunny day inside a building.

I really liked the architecture, somehow for me it seemed like it had a nautical theme. One building especially looked to me like the head of a great blue whale emerging from the water. Another building kind of looked like the bones of a rib cage of a dead whale to me… Too much imagination I guess.

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Needless to say the buildings were pretty impressive. I liked the open atmosphere about that place.

Ten more minutes took us to the beachfront of Valencia. Beautiful, beautiful day to go to the beach! It was still quite hot, fortunately not as hot as the day before. Nevertheless we were always wearing our hats and of course sunscreen! Yes, even me, although I wouldn’t get a sunburn that easily, but sun protection is not just about avoiding sunburns but also skin cancer!

At the beach promenade were quite a lot of restaurants offering lunch menus for 15 € including appetizers, main dish, dessert, coffee and sometimes one beverage as well. We settled to have lunch at one of the first that we found, the Atuaire. Mainly because I was already really hungry (and it wouldn’t be wise to go any further without getting me any food) but also because I really liked the interior design as well. A little bit bohemian and open to the beach, very hip and cool.

While having our first paella here I noticed that there were a lot of other German tourists here. Like, A LOT. I had forgotten that this week was a vacation week in many areas in Germany, including a public holiday on Thursday, which explained why half of Germany was traveling this week.

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The food at Atuaire was ok, not too bad, but not too special either. We spent a relaxing lunch there, reading newspapers or books while enjoying the sunshine.

After lunch we slowly made our way back to the park with the aim to reach the other end of the park, since it was only early afternoon and we had rented the bikes until 8 pm. But I was already quite grumpy because my bike wasn’t very good, the saddle was very uncomfortable and the back tire was bent. This didn’t make riding the bike any more comfortable.

Still, we wanted to enjoy more of the park, so we went back, visited a playground which was designed after Gulliver (from the novel Gulliver’s Travels), had ice cream there and finally settled for a shady spot somewhere to read some more and (in my case) doze for a bit in the warmth.

We did manage (with a lot of complaining on my side) to bike to the end of the park. At the end there is another park with a big lake and it is a very quiet place, which I quite enjoyed. They also had very very large koi carps in the lake, seriously, they were HUGE. Amazing!

We returned our bikes to the nice girl at the bike shop and then went back to our apartment to take a quick shower (much needed!) before dinner. I had picked a restaurant named La Cigrona which was famous for its paellas and had very good reviews on foursquare.

The restaurant had just opened its doors when we arrived, we were pretty much the first visitors there. The friendly waiter seated us at once and we ordered some sepia tapas (yummy!) and one paella for two. The paella was so big, I knew we wouldn’t be able to finish it, so I actually used a little trick.

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I had just finished reading my book (The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August– by Claire North), which was very very interesting, and decided to tell my boyfriend about the story, since I knew he wouldn’t read it anyway (he only reads non-fiction). This way, I wouldn’t be able to eat much because I was talking the entire time and he ate most of the paella. Clever me!

The paella however was excellent, really great, and did its good reviews justice.

So do you have any special recommendations for Valencia? I would love to know!

 

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