My usual citybreak in Spain is Barcelona, further down the coast lies Valencia the setting for my latest sojourn outside the UK.

You can scour the streets but don’t even recognise what could be a bar or a restaurant as shutters are down, heavy ornate doors are closed, it is only when the clock strikes that these doors are thrust open, tables spill out into the street and the city awakens.

I arrive late morning and hop on the metro into the city centre, a mere 20 minute journey.  I estimate a 10 minute walk to my apartment and have the route etched into my memory from analysing maps, I hate walking around a city with a guide-book so use my photographic memory to its fullest.

Apartment Balcony

Valencia is a city for walking, which is inevitable since the metro does not go into the old town, every corner you turn reveals a stunning building or a hidden square.  People hang political messages from their balconies, here’s one I saw whereby they publicly announce their hatred of scissors.  Damned scissors.

We circumnavigated the city to get our bearings and stopped for the occasional cerveza and tapas.  We found a cafe/bar which my friends queried if it was gay.  I drew their attention to the Audrey Hepburn posters adorning the walls as evidence it was, along with the dressed headless mannequin and a camp lampshade.

There was someone in this bin:

I pressed the shutter too late as she leapt back out

Some mannequins look like Freddie Mercury.

The next day we stumbled upon a cafe which looked cute, we stopped for a drink.  My friends queries if this was a lesbian cafe, I drew their attention to the posters advertising yoga for confirmation it was.

A guitar player arrived to regale us with a Spanish flamenco tune until his guitar strung snapped cutting his act prematurely.  It was pleasant while it lasted.

We decided to eat here, what followed was some of the best Spanish food I have ever eaten.

Succulent hot, spicy chorizo with fresh bread to soak up its picant juices.  Fresh, crisp calamari, and a refreshing and well-flavoured salad.  Grilled toasts topped with tomato and anchovies, plump croquettas bursting with chicken in a creamy bechamel, all delicious.

Not sure my friends wanted their photos on here so I changed them to Statler and Waldorf:


Another Building

This is their post office…

This is the train station..

This is the bull ring…

…it was hosting Oktoberfest, in April, in Spain

There was a small fight going on, I told him to act like a bull.  Let me ask you – what kind of bull has it’s horms floating around in mid air?  Idiot.

The street art was interesting…

I liked the cars crashing onto my friends head…

It’s better than stone cladding…

I’d go back, it’s a great city.

Leave a comment


  1. ‘Oktoberfest, OLE’ . Something seems wrong with that statement!
    And ‘ La autentica fiesta de la cerveza’- the real festival of beer. As opposed to the un-real festival of beer, I suppose?

    Beautiful pics- especially the boys :o)

  2. Looks like a great city to hang out in.
    Do you speak fluent Spanish, or did you have to find people who spoke English?

    • Nah, I can order beer and say my please and thank you’s Most people spoke English, a few didn’t but my friend is Peruvian so did all the talking, but even in Spain he struggled sometimes as they speak Vallencano Spanish instead of the standard Castellano. Barcelona is different again, Catalan, looks more similar to French. Why they can’t pick a dialect and go with it 🙂

      Then I suppose it’s no different to me going North of England when I can’t make out what they’re saying, mainly because they are slurring from being a bunch of drunks.

      What part of America gets most criticism for the way they speak?

      • Every part catches hell from every other part for their accents.
        Boston is distinctive, as are New York City, and Texas and the Deep South have their drawls
        Upper middle states have a weird sort of formal thing going on. Check out the movie Fargo for that.

        As you go from one state to another, in some cases, it’s like moving across national borders.

        • Love Fargo! I don’t think my plans involve that area. I think I have to see Texas, sounds like an eye opener

  3. Beautiful, and sounds like you had fun! I liked the fight. Street art was interesting. I don’t like their art as much as their architecture. I love how you determine whether or not a place is gay. Okay, so what was the best part? Oh, and what is up with the no scissors?

    • No one has spotted it yet, the sign meant No to Government cuts. I just kept saying they hated hairdressers.

      It wasn’t hard to spot the gay place. They have limited iconography, it’ll be Hepburn, Garland, Streisand or Madonna 🙂 They should broaden their horizons. That will be on future post, why I am a bad gay.

      It worked though, the classis carhictecture and then the street art, nothing looked out of place. I loved the whole weekend, I hadn’t a trip just to see a city for years and I used to do all over Europe many moons ago, I’ve missed doing that.

  4. Looks awesome. That’s one of the things that sucks about living in the U.S. I have the choice of going to Mexico…where the gangs rule and you can’t drink the water…or driving 24 hours to Canada…where it’s cold and bears rule. I need some culture in my life!

    • You just can’t resist a dig against Canada, can you Nuk? Don’t listen to him Joe, we have beautiful summers here & we’re not all interstates from horizon to horizon

      • it’s like the rivalry between North and south England. And then there’s Scotland. Everyone else apart from Londoners hate London

  5. What a wonderful place. Makes me want to visit!

  6. Lucky traveling varmint! Rubbing our faces in it. Whatever. Hope you have fun with your ‘horny’ friend ‘el torro’ even if his horns are in the wrong place… but I’m not jealous…

  7. Thank you for the armchair trip. Your photos were very revealing and the narrative was great. I am wondering what you at at the little place you found?

    • The food was so good…back to Spain for two weeks next month, but I will be making a day trip back to Valencia as I’ll be an hour away.

  8. I went out with a girl from Valencia once – really is a great city. It’s where I first came across Bidets (in the Terry and June sense) and courgettes. Memories! Thanks for bringing them back.

  9. All absolutely fabulous photos, it looks gorgeous. Your friends the muppets was my fave by far. You are hysterical, Joe.

    As for which part of the country gets hell for their accents? Maine. That would be Maine, ayuh. Ya cahn’t get thar from heyah.

    • you don’t have that accent though? At least I couldn’t detect it from your vlog?

      • Not much on my vlogs, no. Probably because I know I’m taping so I try to keep it in check. But if I’m with my family, the accent comes back.

  10. Thanks for the tour Joe, very interesting. My first husband was Spanish but I didn’t learn any Spanish when I was marred to him. I learned a little when we went to Cuba a few years ago & now I’m trying to learn more because our eldest daughter married a Mexican fella! I too can ask for the bathroom, a beer, say hello/goodbye, please/thanks, how do you do, etc. Still learning . . .

    • I’m back a bit further south in Spain for a 2 week holiday in a months time, I’ll pop back to Valencia for a day trip, I really should learn the language properly. It’s so much harder when we’re older, they should have done more at school when we were like sponges

  11. All this AND an afternoon nap each and every day! The Spanish have it all figured out.

    • It sounds good but they go back to work afterwards, I think that would be too much after unwinding

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