When I first chose to embark on my Spanish adventure, I was determined to start in Valencia, city of delicious paella, sun, sand and oranges. But after life took its turns, I ended up falling so deeply in love with Madrid, that I wasn’t ready to abandon my newly found love after just two weeks.
As I had never been to Valencia before, curiosity finally took a hold of me, and thus one Tuesday morning, I found myself en route. Only 2 hours after departing from Madrid, I was welcomed by my Couchsurfing host at the Valencian train station. I already wrote about some reasons why I love Couchsurfing, but you’re about to find out more.
My host was a twenty-something flamenco-guitar playing bachelor from Cordoba, who lives by himself. He wears a ring in his ear, which I only noticed when he pushed back his messy jet-black curls, and his jeans seemed much tighter than mine. Hence, I was not surprised to find a modest and plain apartment, which smelt a little funny. However, it didn’t really matter, as it was all part of the experience, and I was happy to have a bed for the night.
After a large plate of paella, my host showed me around Valencia, an incredibly beautiful and authentic Spanish city. Coming from hectic Madrid, Valencia seemed to ooze tranquility. I was used to being pushed out of the way by Madrileños if I didn’t walk what they deemed fast enough. But here I had space to stroll and saunter.
After exploring the eatable treasures found at the central market, and filling my belly with amazing horchata and fartons (yes, I actually do like it a lot, and yes they are called fart..on), my host, friends of his and myself headed to a flamenco show.
I had never before seen a real flamenco dancer preform, and I was absolutely enthralled by the intensity of the performance. The female dancer unveiled strength and passion in such a feminine and hypnotizing way – I have never seen anything like it.
I love Couchsurfing so much because it gives you a small glimpse into other people’s lives. For a short moment, you can walk in their shoes, which puts your own life in perspective. Even though it all seemed strange and foreign, I savoured every minuted of it.
The huge difference between the modern Arts & Science city, the old town and the wonderful and massive garden struck me in Valencia. For such a small city, there seems to be a lot of variety. The city was not what I had expected, as I was not really sure what to expect. But it definitely was worth the trip.
After exploring more of the city’s charm, including all of the small cafes and boutiques hidden in the tiny colorful alleyways, and burning a little at the beach, I took a train back to Madrid, and reflected on the absurdity and delight of spending three entire days living and hanging out with complete strangers in a foreign city. Olé!