Be careful with independent ticket sellers
If you wanna visit the "City of Arts and Sciences", buy your tickets at official ticket places. The best is at the place's ticket boxes.
Around the place there are sometimes those touts that try to sell you "tickets they are not using and would have to throw away" or so at a "reduced price".
You can also reserve tickets by phone. Look at their webpage:
- Museum Visits
When we arrived at Valencia and we took a taxi
from the airport to the hotel...it is amazing
what you'll get to see. A little warning is at
it's place. The surroundings of Valencia
are among the ugliest I've ever seen.
It is an area of big industrial activity and
the landscape isn't much appealing.
We got a saying in Belgium
'1 zwaluw maakt de lente niet'.
One swallow doesn't make it spring.
What I mean by that is that Valencia has got
a couple of very modern and attractive
buildings. But they aren't representative for
the rest of the city. Most of the buildings
outside the beautiful center are ugly ,
colorless apartment buildings.
It isn't yet the mecca of modern architecture.
Lower your expectations is the message.
Tourists and Valencia
It is a bit like Valencia isn't completely ready
for tourists. Your welcome for sure...
We went to the tourist office at the
'plaza de la reina'. The lady in the little
stall was very friendly and among the few
people we met who spoke English very well.
I was asking for information...and I got a little
map with the museums and places of interest.
>She pointed out a walking route and how
we could get to the marine parc.
I told her we were staying 5 days. 5 days , she
asked? yes , 5. So , I asked her for a restaurant
guide. That didn't exist. I asked her where the
zoo was... she knew where it was but pointed
out the entrance completely wrong ,
while it was only one km from this place.
Information on the busses?
You can find it on the bus stop.
The first really handy tourist guide still
has to be written and I hope it will contain
some more information on the museums
then the 5 words on the map.
(ps most tourist visit from Benidorm just for
one day with a local tour operator)
La Llonja de la Seda.
Lots of VTers will disagree with me...I didn't find interesting this very old building.
This was the stock silk exchange. It was built between 1482 and 1533. It is made of three rooms almost empty and a beautiful small garden.
Unique Suggestions: You can spend your time in the small garden reading a newspaper or a book.
- Historical Travel
- Castles and Palaces
Buñuelos, churros and chocolate during Fallas
There are many street stalls that sell "buñuelos" and "churros". Don't buy them there, those street stalls (or tents, I don't know how to say) move all along the country on every fiesta, and the taste is not as if you go to a traditional valencian horchateria. Two of the best places for chocolate, buñuelos, churros and horchata in the city of Valencia are:
- El collado: in the Plaza del Collado, just rear La Lonja, in front of the market.
- Santa Catalina: just next to Santa Catalina Church, in Plaza de la Reina (50m away from the cathedral).
You can go to Daniel in Alboraia village too. It's very easy to get there by Metro. Check out my tips about food.
Unique Suggestions: Just don't go there. Go to the good places.
Fun Alternatives: Well, I have already explained everything.
- Historical Travel
- Food and Dining
Great from the outside
The 'Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias' is a huge and beautiful piece of architecture. You should go and admire it. http://www.cac.es/
But do not spend the 7 Euros (August 2004) to enter the 'Museu de las Ciencias'-building.
Unless you are an 8 year old. Not for adults.
Differences in names of public locations.
Be careful of the differences in names of public locations due to the local language, Valencian (very similar to Catalan, many people say it's a Catalan dialect).
However inside the city of Valencia, this language is not as common as in the suburbs and surrounding towns or the rest of the region, it has presence in all administrative statements, and a strong presence in commercial activities.
But the handicap for tourists is that is used for toponyms and place names such as streets and squares and they may appear either with their Castilian name or the Valencian (or both). So tourists might get lost or they mightn't find a place.
Unique Suggestions: These are some common differences between Castilian and Valencian:
Square - Plaza - Plaça
Street - Calle - Carrer
Avenue - Avenida - Avinguda
Market - Mercado - Mercat
City - Ciudad - Ciutat
City Hall - Ayuntamiento - Ajuntament
Embassy - Embajada - Ambaixada
Consulate - Consulado - Consulat
Police Station - Comisaría de policía - Comissaria de policia
Chemist's, drugstore - Farmacia - Farmàcia
Shop, store - Tienda - tenda
Go shopping - Ir de compras - Anar de compres
Bakery - Horno, pastelería - Forn, pastisseria
Fishmonger - Pescadería - Peixcateria
Delicatessen - Ultramarinos, charcutería - ultramarins, xarcuteria
Hairdresser's - Peluquería - Perruqueria
Bookstore - Librería - Llibreria
Library - Biblioteca - Biblioteca
Ice-cream parlor - Heladería, horchatería - Gelateria, Orxateria
Restroom, toilet - Servicios, aseo - Servici, servei.
Exit - Salida - Eixida
Warning!, Caution! - Atención!, Peligro! - Atenció!, Perill!
Beach - Playa - Platja (plur. platges)
Bridge - Puente - Pont
River - Río - Riu
Palace - Palacio - Palau
Castle - Castillo - Castell
Fireworks - (Castillo de) fuegos artificiales - (Castell de) focs artificials
Parade - Procesión, pasacalle - Provessó, processó, passacarrer.
6 vacancies (lodging, parking) - 6 libres - 6 lliures
no vacancies - completo - complet
to Order (meal) - Pedir - Demanar
to Want - Querer - Voler
to Go - Ir - Anar
to Come - Venir - Vindre
Some places (cast.-val.):
Lonja - Llotja
Miguelete - Micalet
Dehesa - Devesa
La Alameda - L'Albereda
Jardines del Real - Jardins del Reial
El Cabañal - El Cabanyal
Good morning - Buenos días - Bon dia
Good Afternoon/Evening - Buenas tardes - Bona Vesprada (vesprà)
Good Evening/Night - Buenas Noches - Bona Nit
Thank you - Gracias - Gràcies
Bye - Adiós - Adéu
Fun Alternatives: I hope this list is useful for you. As you can check, the important differences appear in some cases, but in toponyms the differences are not significative, so if you don't find on the map the location name you're searching for, look up if there's a similar name (usually where the other should appear), and it surely will be the place you want to go.
Anyway, I think you won't have major problems and you'll find easily those places you want to visit. It's not so difficult.
Visiting the Cathedral
Whenever you arrive there you are looked up and sorted out. Local people (who ussually go in for worshipping) go left; tourists go right. Of course this means contributing to the Cathedral's upkeeping! or in some other way "tourist milking". Being a Valencian my best tip to come out that small trap is just to enter as a Christian (or someone who would like to pray...).
For your information, Masses there are always held at the round hours (8.00, 9.00, 10.00 and so on).
Also the poor at the Cathedral's main entrance door are mainly eastern-Europe inmigrees, who pose as hungry folk and moan. Do not believe them. They are ussually fed by Christian Charities, like Charity Hall at Paseo de Pexina; they need no food: Begging is their way of life.
Unique Suggestions: Well, it is not a big deal: pay your entrance; or if you please give alms to the Rumanian women.
Fun Alternatives: The climate and some weak immigration policies have attracted many immigrants. Spain is the first point they meet in Europe (many come from Africa). Only those who are ready to learn just so-so Spanish and not to move further within Europe remain in Spain. As a result we have a huge Do-little population, drinking away night and day and messing the parks.
An alternative could be to ensure a good local guide (I know a few) to visit the city, to be able to enjoy the most with the least waste of time.
Just to mention a few:
- Anthony the Gipsy, professor in hallways (+34662254324)
- The ever busy Valencian Guide Association (+34963524708)
- Martha Cicerone, excellent professional (+34625963494)
Saint Vincent's Little Well
Saint Vincent Ferrer, a native of Valence in the XIV century, is one of the most venerated saints in the Catholic church. His brithhouse, which now hosts a small tile covered chapel is located on Sea Street, near Tetuan Square.
As the legend goes, when Saint Vincent left Valence, he told his fellow citizens he would leave a small well behind that would never get dry and would provide relief for all Valencians.
And that was true. Even in the middle of the worst droughts that the city had to endure, when all the other fountains went dry, the little well of Saint Vincent never ceased to provide water for the citizens.
But this miraculous source of water sadly came to an end: the construction of modern buildings around the house in the XX century diverted the underground water courses and the well's water supply was cut. Nowadays, the little well is served by the city's drinking water network.
Unique Suggestions: The local religious authorities claim that this tape water is still blessed by Saint Vincent, but it cannot be but a pale fake copy of the genuine waters of the little well, I believe.
- Family Travel
Give me the film back!
I arrived in Valencia in an afternoon, in my way to Mallorca, after buying my first camcorder in Andorra, and already with the film ot two weeks spent in Salou and Altea.
For security reasons, I had booked a hotel with garage, to leave the car while we would be out, and, for the same reasons we went to diner early in the day, parking close to the restaurant. Five minutes were enough to the restaurant's manager tell me that my car was assaulted and the camera... gone. I never felt so revolted. Not because the camera itself, but for the memories of my kids happiness in their first holidays abroad.
And so, Valencia became a trauma. Please, don't tell me it really exists!
(Fortunately, my wife took some photos, and the smiles were not totally lost. Maybe one day I'll recover from the trauma, and decide to check if Valencia does really exist.)
Unique Suggestions: The trauma is gone. I made friends in Valencia. I will soon put it back in the map.
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
Paella is NOT a typical spanish dish, it is JUST valencian. So, never never never never eat it if you are not in the Community of Valencia (Castellón, Alicante and Valencia) because you are not going to eat paella at all (I remember a restaurant in Barcelona that they sold curry rice as paella).I know many people that said me "I don't like paella" because they tried in Madrid, but they loved later in Valencia. Even worse NEVER never never try something called "Paellador " (you'll go directly to hell). It's like precooked Paella that put in the oven or microwave, and they have even Mexican Paella!!! (puaj). Be careful, because even in Valencia there are these Paellador cheap things, avoid them!!! (it's like going to Italy and have pizza in Pizza Hut, that's not real italian pizza!).
Unique Suggestions: Never have paella in a place that they don't cook themselves.
Fun Alternatives: Go to tradicitonal restaurants. The best places are where they ask you to reserve with a couple of hours (it means that they will cook the paella just for you, because it takes a couple of hours to cook).
Spanish schedules are different from N. Europe.
If you come to Valencia, just try to adapt yourself to the Spanish schedules, or you may find places still closed or empty.
From Monday to Wednesday people uses to have lunch from 13'30 to 15'30, and dinner from 20'30 to 22. But on Thursday and weekend, Valencia's people uses to go out for meals, because we're people who love street life, and both lunch and dinner normally delays (14 to 15'30, and 21'30 to 23 respectively).
Which hours to go to a music bar, club or discotheque?:
Music bars: they're open from 23 or before, but begin amusing from midnight up to 3 am (they close at 3'30 to 4).
Music clubs and discos: they start filling up from 2 to 4 am, and when inside the city they're open 'til 7 or 8 in the morning. Outside the city it depends, some at 8 am, others even at noon.
After-hours: there are lots of little and discreet after clubs. They use to open from 6 am to (?). But you can guess how that people still stand those hours.
From Sunday to wednesday nights, nightlife is much weaker, and people who go out do it earlier and go to bed earlier too.
People who play with a lil ball and 3 dice cups.
Their name are "trileros". They're swindlers. They encourage tourists to play with them and bet money, but tourists will always lose.
Why? It's a rip-off, they make tricks so as to win.
Unique Suggestions: Don't trust them. No!, better ignore them. They always have an accomplice who is the bait. He acts as if he was another naive citizen, but you'll se that he always wins. So people dare to play.
They generally are gypsies. Their tools usually are a cardboard box or something like a little table, three dice cups upside down with something like little balls inside them. They play them by dragging them and exchanging their positions.
They use to position their "game" on strategic places crowded with many people around, and some of them stay at the corners watching over police guards.
When they notice the police nearby and getting closer, they quickly dismantle their stand and runaway fast.
Fun Alternatives: The only and easy way not to be fooled by them: ignore them and don't watch them playing.
You'll even avoid them cheating other people if you tell a police guard close by.
Their common name: "trilero", and more generally "timador" or "estafador".
Fortunately this kind of people is not as common as some years ago.
Playa de Malvarosa
This is the fancy area of restaurnats and night-clubs in Valencia. I'd rather say it is a place whwre speciual care is needed and not a danger in itslef.
As always where there are concentration of restaurants in a place that is supposed to be a pictoresque or turistically atttractive location... you must take care and be ready to select the offer. I use not to go there, unless I'm accompanied by a reliable local friend: I'd rather take the reisk of exploring different places tahn fall in the trap of unusefully expensive and fancy places.
Try not to rely on the metro after about ten at night- the tickets boothes aren't open, it's not well planned out and it closes early.
Fun Alternatives: Get the taxis- not as bad as in Madrid and the drivers speak english and are very friendly
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