Sunday, 30 September 2012

Wandering around Carmen

Carmen, the central barrio, is pretty stunning.  I fancied a wandering around sort of Sunday so we headed to the centre of the old town, where we had been last night for dinner and drinks to explore a little more.

We had quite a lot of rain on Friday, culminating in an electrical storm on Friday night and Saturday was cool and overcast.  Luckily the good weather returned today and here are the photos to prove it...

La Catedral Santa Maria in Plaza de la Reina. 

I loved how precarious the top floor of the red building looks.  Also the restaurant on the left (La Papadelle) is where we went last night.  We will return and I will post about it properly soon.

That's more like it. 

Plaza de la Virgen, just behind the catedral. 

A quick sit down at the Jardin de las Hesperides to admire the fruit trees.

And my nails.  Well, I'm still a beauty blogger at heart!

It was a lovely, warm, chilled out Sunday to round off a lovely, chilled out weekend.  I had a long and tiring week so this was just what I needed to do before we welcome our first visitors on Wednesday.

I'm sure to have lots of new posts by this time next week as we will have had 4 days with Rich's parents, and we're so excited!  Roll on Wednesday! 

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Oktoberfest in Valencia

Known for taking place in Munich I can confirm that Oktoberfest has branched out and there is also a beer festival in Valencia.  It ended today which was a shame because we had such a great time last night that we would happily have gone again.  At least once more.

I'm not a beer drinker so I didn't think this would be my sort of thing, but I obviously did OK given that I ended up dancing on the tables...

It was a nice opportunity to visit the bull ring given that I wouldn't be interested in going for an actual bull fight.

I actually enjoyed this beer which is a first for me. 

I'm not sure what happened to my top but I was having too much fun to care it seems.

From what I gather online, the Oktoberfest is a biannual event in Valencia so roll on April when it should return! 

Days Out- The Oceanografic

The Oceanografic is one of the stunning futuristic  looking parts of the City of Arts of Sciences (La Ciudad De La Artes Y Ciencias if we're being all Spanish) and one part that I was eager to go to.  A handy 2 for 1 voucher from Carrefour with our shopping meant we popped down on Saturday afternoon and it was well worth the visit.

It's usually €27.90 per adult which is a reasonable price given the standard of everything at the park, but it was quite ridiculously good value with the voucher.

The park is spilt into different areas of marine habitat- the Mediterranean, Red Sea, Arctic, Antarctic, Wetlands, Temperate Climate, Oceans, Tropical Seas and the Dolphinarium.  We took about 3 hours to get around, not stopping to eat, but you could spend longer especially if you caught more shows depending on the timings of your day.  It was very quiet yesterday and easy to get around despite the fact it was a Saturday afternoon and glorious weather which always makes this sort of thing a bit more enjoyable.

I loved the Arctic area with walruses and seals as well as the tropical seas with the bright corals and fish.  Everything is translated into English which meant that it's possible to learn a lot as well as see the exhibits.

The dolphin show was good and another highlight for me.  I'm sure we'll go back again with visitors especially after they see the pictures of what we have 10 minutes walk from our door...

Walking down to the Oceangrafic through this stunning structure outside the Science Museum.

Part of a series of sculptures of sweets with various flags by Laurence Jenkell. 

This is another attraction (as with the Biopark) where I'm considering getting an annual pass.  It's on our doorstep so I can see me getting good value for money from it as it's only €60.90.

The Oceanografic is open from 10am to 8pm for most of the year and from 10am to midnight in the summer when I think it would just be stunning.  For more information head to their website.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Restaurants- Lemongrass

We had wandered past Lemongrass on last Saturday stroll round the city centre and noticed both the cheap prices and the fact that it was packed out.  Both good signs in my book.

Friday evening rolled around and it seemed the perfect time to give Lemongrass a try.  I was starving, the lunch at school having produced a particularly revolting lunch.

The menu is simple.  You choose your base; noodles, rice etc (at around €5) and then what you would like with it such as chicken, tofu, vegetables, squid, the list goes on.  You'll pay no more than €2 for each topping.  Finally you add your sauce which is free of charge.  There's something for everyone- curry, sweet and sour, teriyaki, lemon sauce.  They also do pad thai and chicken tempura which is what we went for.

The portions were huge, the chicken tempura delicious and the sweet and sour sauce I choose was perfectly sticky and sweet without being overpowering.  The egg fried rice was plentiful as you can see and I didn't come close to getting through it all. I tried a little of Rich's pad thai (not something I've had before) and loved it.  The service was friendly enough (not something I've seen much of here yet) and very fast too. 

It's a cheap place to eat (our bill came in at €20 including drinks) and it's central location on Calle Ribera means it's busy and buzzing on a Friday night by 10pm.  They open until midnight Sunday to Thursday and 1am on a Friday and Saturday.  It's safe to say we will return. 

Monday, 17 September 2012

Lazing At The Beach

It was a lazy day at the beach for us yesterday to make the most of the hot temperatures and the end of the weekend.

A simple picnic, a good book and a game of bat and ball were just what I needed after lots of exercise on Saturday.  We did hire Valenbisi bikes to get to the beach, and I must post about them soon.  They're so easy to use and my new favourite way of getting around.

Early night for me tonight after a long, frustrating and tiring day. Aren't new jobs just the best?

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Feria de la Tapa - Valencia's Tapas Fair

We are always on the look out for things to do that we can't do at home, so that we make the most of our time in Valencia, however long that might be.  So when we saw large green buses roaming around the city plastered in details about the Feria de la Tapa, I knew that we had to make a trip to the port.

The event is in its thrird year and was certainly popular.  We arrived at around 10.15pm and queued with hundreds of people to be let in.  Luckily the queue moved quickly and we only waited around 5 minutes.  This would probably be the busiest time as Spanish people tend to eat between 10pm and midnight before going out but I wanted to go when it was busy.  It had a great buzz, the music was loud and made you want to dance and the views over the marina were great.

On arriving you exchange cash for tokens which you then exchange for beer and tapas.  Each token cost just €1.20 and each tapa and beer was  token so an absolute bargain.  There were 24 restaurants from Valencia and the surrounding area offering a wide variety of tapas; each restaurant had 3 on a mini menu.

It was packed and difficult to choose but we were very impressed with all of our selections.  I meant to take more photos of the food but you know how it is when you're hungry!

Helpfully each restaurant was clearly marked and it also said where it was.  We have a good handle to hunt down now and go for a full meal.

So many people!  It was a good sign that so many Spanish people were there eating, there were obviously some very popular restaurants represented there based on the queues!

My favourite tapa- a brushetta of brown read with goats cheese and onion relish.

I had to queue for ages so they remade these melt in the middle chocolate puddings but OH. MY. GOD. so worth it.

WE found ourselves thoroughly stuffed and watered for only 12 tokens between us, costing €14.40.  Not bad for a Saturday night dinner.

The Feria de la Tapa is on until tonight and I am genuinely wondering if Rich will be up for a lunchtime visit today.

For more information, pop over here.