Valencia is a city that one should visit at least once in a lifetime.
While we won’t necessarily be going for the beaches or the gentle warmth of the Catalan sun – they will be welcome, nonetheless.
Indeed, the locals say that Valencia is a ‘little piece of heaven, fallen to earth’, and who are we to argue as we take in the palm fringed squares, fountains, pools and dazzling modern architecture.
We have been lured to Valencia by the compelling juxtaposition of the Old Town - buzzing with street art, pavement cafes and captivating charm - and the ultra-modern architecture of the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (The City of Arts and Sciences) .
Valencia's Mercado Central is the largest market in Europe. Covering over 8,000 square metres with almost 1,500 food stalls. This is a place to head to discover a genuinely local Valencia, to mingle with the locals, enjoy the bustle of everyday life and immerse ourselves fully in the local culture.
After all the walking, perhaps we stop to indulge in a second breakfast of a portion of churros. Or the Valencian equivalent - ‘Horchata’ at Santa Catalina’s two hundred year old café in the Plaza de la Reina. Accompanied - of course - by hot chocolate.
It is said that hot chocolate in Spain is like tea in England - an institution. Make no mistake - this will be hot chocolate the likes of which we do not generally encounter in the UK. Thick enough to cling to the sugared ridged of our churros with a richness to match. As with all Bailey Chinnery workshops, we have arranged for these treats to be completely calorie free.
A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT......
Most cities have riverbanks to stroll along; Valencia has a whole river. The Jardín del Túria stretches for 9km through the city. When the river Túria flooded it was diverted south. The former riverbed is now a landscaped parkland walk with swathe of greenery, trees, sculptures and water features, crisscrossed by 18 bridges – some designed by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava.
Being Spain, we will be sure to take time out to enjoy La Buena Vida (which admittedly doesn't sound as poetic as La Dolce Vita). Spaniards themselves never tire of saying: "En España, se vive muy bien." (In Spain, one lives very well.)