Another week came to a quick close after a fun-filled weekend. At this point the city has become more familiar, getting around has becoming easier, and everyone who lives here still stares at me as if I’m of a different species (still not sure why American’s are so fascinating to look at). After-class adventures included going to the beach with friends, walking around and souvenir shopping in Old-Valencia (the downtown and historic part of the city).
Friday (June 3rd) I got to visit the largest aquarium in all of Europe and probably the coolest aquarium I have ever been to. The large outdoor aquarium is perfect for spending time outside and cooling off underground with the sharks. At the Oceanografic, our group watched a dolphin show that was amazing to a bunch of 20+ year olds (aka aquariums are not just for children so there is no need to push people of the way so your child can see the fish too).
On Saturday (June 4th) our group took an hour bus ride through the country-side to the beautiful beach of Gandia. Here we learned how to windsurf (failed), paddle board (Sadie and I were the fastest), kayaked (we were just hungry at this point), and sailed on a catamaran (between the water and wind from how fast we were going, I was cold). We spent the rest of the afternoon laying in the sun, eating our packed lunches, and walking down to the beach bar for a Tinto de Verano. I gloated that I was one of the few to make it through the day without any signs of sunburn…little did I know that the sunburn on my back just didn’t want to show until after I showered that afternoon. Sunday was another relaxing day people watching on the beach in Valencia and finding a cafe for lunch on a near side street. Next weekend: Barcelona!
So it has been a full week since our bus pulled up to the Mestalla Soccer Stadium in Valencia and I would say I’ve moved in nicely. I have class Mondays-Thursdays from 9am-1:45pm (with a small break in between). Afterwards I usually eat lunch with friends and spend the afternoon walking around the near streets and laying in the sun until my friends are done with class and we can explore the city more.
On Friday (May 27th) our program group went to the Albufera, a near by lake next to many farms. Here we took a relaxing boat ride and viewed the city in the distance. Afterwards we went to Barraca Toni Montoliu which is a restaurant and farm owned by the same family for over 70 years. We watched Toni make Paella (a typical dish in Valencia), looked at the animals and plants on the farm, took a horse and buggy ride to the orange tree fields (where we stopped to pick oranges) and finally viewed a traditional Valencian house.
Saturday (May 28th) we took a walking and biking tour of the city. We walked around the old city and even climbed the tower of the original gate into the city before the walls were torn down. After walking, the large group of us rented bikes and biked the whole Rio (click the link to read more about the history of the old river bed), approximately 14 in total. Although we were tired and sweaty a few of us decided to check out the much talked about mall in the southern part of the city. Hannah, Allie, Sadie and I (pictured below) decided to all buy new shoes because why not! When in Valencia!
Sunday (May 29th) Sadie and I FINALLY slept in for the first time in a few weeks, did our homework, and headed off to the beach for the rest of the day. Tip: When in Valencia, put on your sunscreen at home and let it completely dry before going to the beach. It is VERY windy and the sand will stick to every part of your body, and when you try to wipe it off you get a nice exfoliation to the skin and a dirty shower at the end of the day.
Other places I got the chance to visit throughout the week (mostly after class or after dinner) included the center of Valencia where there are many nice shops and stores, a few restaurants and bars around the city and beach, and the crazy night life on the weekends continues to blow my mind.
When trying to come up with an idea of how to create a video for my CAP 105 class, I was puzzled. I didn’t know if I should try to make up a tutorial or shoot a movie of some sort. I was pretty stumped until I thought about some of the videos that were taken over a cruise I had recently been on over the week of the New Year. After getting permission to use the “old footage” I quickly went back to watch the videos that I had. After coming up with a rough sketch of a story board on paper, I download a free trial of Final Cut Pro onto my MacBook Air and started making my first video.
Our group of 14 climbed Duns River Falls and went bobsledding in Jamaica, swimming with sting rays in Cayman Islands, and relaxed on the beach on Mexico (no video footage). After sailing out of Miami, FL the Carnival Breeze took us all out of the frigid state of Michigan for a week in the sun. Enjoy my final video, I hope it can inspire you to travel, try new things, and make you feel like you are in the Caribbean yourself!