When we began to plan our anniversary trip to València, I bought a book on The Best Day Hikes in Spain and insisted we have a Saturday in València to take the regional bus to Calles to hike the Chelva loop dayhike.
What ensued were a few transportation plan mishaps and then, by some miracle or sheer grit and determination, we ultimately hiked the loop.
Back in Seattle, Michael rented a Fiat500 for Friday. it would have been a nice day trip, being on our own timeline we would have more time to explore. Two things happened. We realized that an international driver’s license would most likely (definitely?!) be required to pick up our Fiat. It rained floods on Friday. We scrapped the plan to go pick up our car and instead went to the aquarium and the operetta. We’d go with our original plan to take the bus.
Saturday morning came and we left the apartment at 9:17, the very last minute allowable to leave and catch the subway to the bus stop across town. The subway was delayed due to water on the tracks from the torrential rains and flooding. we both spent a quarter hour blaming each other and sharing our disappointment at missing our connection to catch the bus. We both really wanted to go on this hike. The pressure was high. I was really raking my brain. Finally we reached the ability to think from a solution-oriented perspective. My urban training emerged and we switched on my phone plans $10/day international roaming charge, updated the Uber app with passport information and current payment, and called up a taxi. For £90 took us up to Calles. We had about 4 hours to complete the hike the guidebook called a 3 1/2 hour loop. So we kept a steady pace, panicking near the end. We picked up the pace to a run, enjoying the feeling of running along the river but ending up with 45 minutes to spare and very sweaty at the supposed bus stop by the side of the road. We were very relieved when a local woman also appeared to catch the bus as well. We were really out there in the mountains and had the distinct impression there were no taxi drivers available without pre-reservation. Our train to Barcelona left in the morning so we were very motivated to get back to València, although we did entertain if we needed to sleep rough by the river we probably would live to tell the tail.
Michael surprised us with a revelation about Spain, that it and especially the third largest city in Spain—València—were worth checking out and perhaps even moving to. So with the generosity of my parents to take up the helm at our household watch the kiddos together with Linnéa, and generally hold down the fort (they strengthened it), we jetted off to the Mediterranean for the first half of November.
València did not disappoint. Such a beautiful and varied city. We found it balmy, friendly, walkable, brimming with arts and culture and we were even able to find an authentic vegetarian paella. Our urban Airbnb apartment provided the perfect home base to explore and sleep off our jet lagged mornings. We loved the ocean, the castles and the fresh squeezed oranges. We saw an operetta at the opera house, and several “foreign films” at the cinema across the street from our flat. Two were shot in and around València so it was a wonderful cultural experience and good for practicing our Spanish and Catalonian.