September 27, 2005


We´ve decided to stay two nights in Valencia, which turns out to be one of the pleasantly surprising cities of our visit. It´s a big, modern city, proud of its first-rate modern architecture but also maintaining its old buildings in grandm clean style. We drove into it yesterday with, as usual, an inadequate map and the most minimal of road signs, and by our usual dumb luck, when we found a chance parking spot and dove into it out of exhaustion, it turned out to be just around the corner from one of the main plazas, where the town hall is. There´s a big circular three-tiered fountain which we can see from our hotel room balcony and from the breakfast room. The triangular plaza is busy with businesslike pedestrians, and there´s a wide open section for skaters and skateboarders and such. And that free parking space will last us for our entire stay here.

Last night I ate paella for two, since they won´t cook it for less than that number. (Valencia is the home of paella.) It was chicken paella, all they had, and for the first time in my experience it was a paella in which the crunchy orange rice outshone the more prestigious ingredients -- which is as it should be. (But I still like Susan´s paella better.)

Surprisingly, the nightlife closed down before midnight -- very unusual for this country. But the guidebook says Valencia is known for its nightlife, so I think we´ll have to explore other neighborhoods, perhaps near the university.

This hotel gives guests fifteen minutes of free internet time, so I´ve got to go!