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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Long weekend in Valencia

Already last year my friend Stephie told me that she was planning something big for her next birthday...this would include a trip. True to her word Stephie sent a mail during the first week of January where she informed us that this year she would be celebrating her b'day on June 9th in Valencia, Spain.
Of course it was several months in advance, but considering the nature of the cheap airlines, this was ideal...the earlier you book the cheaper it is! I have to admit that I only booked my flight a couple of months ago but I managed to get a pretty good deal and I was ready to join Stephie for her birthday!!!
In the end we were 22 persons flying over to Valencia from the Netherlands, Italy, London and Canada and she rented 3 houses where we all stayed. So all was ready for a really nice and fun weekend!

I took Friday off so first thing in the morning I met Aissa on Schiphol airport and we were both SUPER ready to go! All summery dressed with only summery clothes and sandals in our suitcases!

First things first: the beach!
We were one of the first to arrive, once there we met JB (Belgian friend who lives in Amsterdam), Stephie of course and 2 Canadian friends of hers. And of course the first thing we did is get ready and head towards the beach in Malvarrosa! The weather was great (30 degrees), the water was wonderful and blue, the beach was not too crowded....it was just paradise to lay on my towel and think how great it is to hop on a plane for 2 hours and be lying on the beach in Spain ;-) (it even made me happier to know that when I had left Amsterdam I left a very big thunder storm- sorry for the Amsterdammers ;-) )

In general I was at the beach the 3 days that I was there, at different times of the day. I really enjoyed the sun and obviously the beautiful Mediterranean sea. The water was rather warm- at least for me used to the Pacific Ocean close to Lima that is rather cold- and refreshing. There were some small waves...it was just perfect! And of course now I have a wonderful tan! :)

The house
Aissa and me stayed in the house 3 blocks away from the beach! We were sharing with other 6 girls: 4 Italians, one Kiwi and one German. I have to say that even though I thought it was going to be a nightmare to share only one bathroom among 8 girls we managed beautiful and it was nice to wake up in the morning to the smell of freshly brewed Italian coffee (the Italians were from Naples and of course they brought with them their Italian coffee machine ;-) ).

America's Cup
The America's Cup is the most famous and most prestigious regatta in the sport of sailing, and the oldest active trophy in international sport predating the Modern Olympics by 45 years. The sport attracts top sailors and yacht designers because of its long history and prestige as the "Holy Grail" of yachting.
And we were lucky enough that this year it is being held in Valencia! (the first time in over 150 years that the cup is being held in Europe). The names of the teams are actually the sponsors (big EXPENSIVE brands) who "sponsor" a country. At the moment the "Emirates" team (New Zealand) won the challenger's series and will meet Alinghi (Switzerland) later this month.

The harbour in Valencia has been totally re-newed and re-designed to host the top amazing yachts and all the big sponsors had their own buildings. A really modern and beautiful pier had been also built for the occasion. After going through security you could get into this really great place that had all kinds of restaurants, bars, entertainment, discos. And that's where Stephie's b'day party was held!

The Party
Saturday evening all of us eventually managed to gather in "Estrella Damm" the hot club in the harbour. You could tell it was "the place to be" ;-) There were several Spaniards but there were also several foreigners that were in Valencia for the America's cup.

We had a really fun night, having some chats, observing the different people, dancing to the music, making people guess where we were from ;-) and drinking...Stephie got a little carried away buying Vodka bottles ;-)

The party finished at 3am so we all went to "Dockas" a really massive night club where somehow all those Italian people made us jump a queue of about 100 persons ;-) The club was really rather impressive, it was HUUUUGE....I'm sometimes really bad al calculating but there must have been about 3000 people in that place!

The Dutch people were impressed because the placed closes at 7am....if they only knew how it's in Peru ;-) In the end Aissa, JB, Sander and me were the last ones to stay and we left a little after 5am.

I have to say that I was REALLY impressed with Valencia. It's not that I was not expecting much, I just didn't know what to expect...and I found a really beautiful city. A mixture of old with modern, a really nice centre, well kept gardens, beautiful fountains, stunning churches, pictoresque squares...I could recognise the Spanish architecture from parts in the centre of Lima. Definitely a city to put in your "to go" list...and if you live in Europe it's not that far, several carriers fly there and cheaper than the further northern cities!

The Food
The food was DELICIOUS. A mixture of really nice sea food and fish. Tasteful jamones and quesos. Tasty different kind of paellas. Really good wine...AND so much cheaper than this part of Europe. Enough said! When you'll check the photos later you'll see that I photographed some of the dishes.

Corpus Christi
Last Sunday was the Catholic celebration of the Corpus Christi and in Valencia they started celebrating last Friday evening. We were lucky enough to see some typical Valencian dances and songs that started the Christian festivity in an old traditional way, preparing themselves for the big procession on Sunday. You can view a small video of this from last Friday by clicking here.

In general as you can deduce from all this, a really fun and nice weekend. A beautiful city, some really cool people, great food, wonderful weather...and some photos for you to catch a small glimpse of my weekend!

I took an early flight on Monday morning and I was behind my desk before 12:30. In conclusion, I think I have to go to Spain more often ;-)

And a big thanks to Stephie for organising such a great weekend :) sei stata bravissima!!!

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