16th July 2009 - Valencia (another walking tour)

Bali Hai
Neal Stow
Wed 16 Jul 2008 23:27
Today it was another day spent pounding the streets of another Spanish city.  No one had been to Valencia before but we had all heard good reports of the place.
We started by walking around the marina, from where we were moored to the inner basin and the home of last year's America's Cup.  All the photographs were obviously taken last year when the place was a hive of activity, bulging with superyachts and the rich and famous sipping cocktails at the Alinghi reception bar.  Now it is all sad and deserted, the berths are all empty, the team offices quiet and the bars have no customers.  As Jane remarked it was like visiting somewhere the day after a party.
There was however the noise of construction as Valencia is going to host its first F1 race next month (a street race) centred around the marina.  People were busy building crash barriers, grandstands and making walls of tyres.  Construction noise turned out to be quite a feature of the tour as it seems that Valencia is building something almost everywhere.
We were heading to the old town, about 4km inland from the marina.  Getting there is really interesting as a dry river bed that runs right through the city has been converted into a long snaking park.  At the Southern end are futuristic buildings comprising the Science Museum, Planetarium and Art Museum and as you walk north there are gardens, children's play areas and other museums all the way along.
Yvonne had clearly not walked much further than then end of her drive before and was struggling with the concept of a walking tour, but after a brief stop for refreshment we eventually made it to the old city.  By an amazing coincidence Steve's son was also in Valencia for a music festival and we arranged to meet up with him and his friend for lunch. We were expecting just the two of them but when seven showed up it turned into quite a party.  Needless to say, this crew's vow not to drink before seven at night was broken and several pitchers of beer and sangria were consumed, along with vast quantities of some really good tapas.
During lunch there was a brief moment of excitement when the skipper lost his sunglasses, only to have it pointed out that they were on top of his head.  After lunch some boring old farts wanted to go straight back to the boat for a snooze but as we had walked all this way to the old city I felt that we had to see some of it before we left and so, with some arm twisting, we did a couple of the short walking tours in the guide book.  Yvonne, needless to say, was not impressed and flagged down almost every passing taxi only for the driver to be disappointed as we marched past.
We eventually did take a taxi back and arrived home at 5:30, just as the heavens opened for a thunderstorm.  The most rain I have seen since leaving Plymouth.
After a brief rest, to sleep off the effects of the beer, we headed out to dinner at La Pepica where the paella lived up to its reputation, as did the rest of the meal, which was really excellent.