Tuesday, 23 July 2013

These are a few of my favourite things...

Gearing up to leave Valencia and begin a new adventure has me in a reflective mood.  I started to think about this post I wrote last August about the things that I was most excited to do when we first moved here.

I thought I´d look back and see if we did them all and whether anything else needed a mention as I look back on the year.

Living with Rich. It was brilliant and I am missing him now that we no longer do :(

Finding an apartment and making it our own. We found such a great apartment, and it´s sad to have to leave it.  As it´s right on the Riverbed, it´s great for getting out and enjoying the sunshine.

Learning Spanish. Well, that´s never really happened *embarrassed face*

Wandering through the Riverbed Park One of my favourite things about Valencia, we have spent many hours wandering and discovering new parts to it.

Getting to know my new class and colleagues.  My class were hard work to begin with, but my goodness they were fantastic children and I´m lucky to have worked with wonderful collegues this year too who I will definitely keep it touch with on Facebook.

Agua de Valencia (a mix of champagne, Cointreau, vodka and orange juice!)
I´ve had it a few times and it´s nice, but not one of my favourite drinks.

Paella, tapas and sangria. You know what? I´m not a big tapas fan, but my goodness do I love Valencian paella.  I could eat the stuff every day.  And, I only had sangria once all year but I am partial to it.

Trips to the beach
. Definitely one of my favourite places in this city.

Having our friends and family to stay and showing them round. Every trip has been amazing.

The Valencian fiesta, Fallas.
Words fail me but maybe these posts will help...

So that´s what I was most looking forward to, but what do I rate now, after a glorious 11 months here?

The Bioparc
Easily my favourite place in the city.  I haven´t kept count (but wish I had) and I think I´ve visited 11 times now, and getting great value for money out of my annual pass! I change my mind all the time about my favourite animals, but it´s usually between the giraffes, elephants, gorillas and the hippos for me.

The City of Arts and Sciences
We are so lucky to have lived across the road from these incredible buildings which I never get tired of seeing.  We´ve seen 2 movies at the Hemisferic IMAX cinema, visited the Science Museum and visited the Oceanorafic many times.  This is a must see area if you´re visiting Valencia.

Walking, running and cycling
An odd choice?  Well I know you can do this in lots of places, but a year here has made me far more active and healthy.  I love being outside in the year round sunshine, and we very rarely take the bus or Metro.  I will certainly miss this in Doha.

Cheap wine
It´s local, it costs 1 Euro a bottle. Amazing!

Sorsi e Morsi restaurant
 One of our absolute favourites, they know our order when we walk in now.  Great food, very reasonably priced.  We´ve eaten here, and at their sister restaurants, over 30 times! Eek!

It really has been an incredible year here in Valencia.  I´m sure that our next adventure, in Doha, will also be amazing and I´ll be setting a blog for that too! I´ll pop a link up here as soon as I set it up, so you can all see how we get on!

Monday, 15 July 2013

My Last Visitors

I had another weekend of visitors, fun and frolics.  A spontaneous decision was made that Kat (my brother´s lovely girlfriend) and her parents would come over before I leave Valencia.  As Kat was returning for the second time and had seen most things last time, we relaxed for the weekend but her parents did a great job of seeing plenty of the city in just 2 days.

I was exhausted by the end of the week but managed to shake off a migraine just in time to enjoy some delicious food, scrummy cocktails and fabulous relaxed days on the beach. Sometimes you just need a couple of girlie days to chat and chill.  This really is the life...

Enjoying our Agua de Valencia.

Anyone for salmon ice cream? Anchovies? Tortilla?   Me neither!

 Just chilling.


The Umbracle, on our way over to Sorci e Morsi.

Mmm, limoncella. Not Kat´s favourite!

1am traffic jam at the beach.

Kat´s parents´first paella went down well.

Just another weekend in paradise!  I´m hoping that packing and cleaning won´t take up all of my last weekend here, and that I can find a bit of time to head back down to the beach to carry on topping up my tan.  It won´t be the same without Kat to chat to though, I don´t think we stopped talking for more than 5 minutes all weekend- I was even talking to her in my sleep!

Thanks so much for coming over Kat, it was a great weekend!

Monday, 8 July 2013

Lucy and Olly´s visit

I absolutely love it when people visit us for the first time.  This city is stunning and visiting at this time of year means you get to see it all, including relaxing on the beach.  This trip has been a long time coming, as Lucy and Olly said they´d visit as soon as we announced we were moving over and I couldn´t wait, as anyone who follows me on Twitter will have seen!

This was a really well timed visit as Rich left for Doha on the Saturday morning and I was so glad of some company over the weekend. We fitted lots in.  Sorci e Morsi on Wednesday (again, I know!) with the Bioparc and Tommy Mel´s American Diner on Thursday and the beach on Friday night for Rich´s goodbye dinner (sniff).  The evening included champagne, lobster and many, many cocktails, awesome!

Saturday saw us saying bye to Rich before visiting the Oceanografic and having a siesta before heading out for tapas and gin at Doce, a gin club with 312 varieties of gin!  Sunday was a relaxed affair (well after or very hot run in the park it was) as we wandered round the Fallas museum, then jumped on a bus to the beach for a day of pure relaxation and a big paella lunch.  Just perfect.

I try and treat every set of visitors coming over as a little holiday and that tends to involve a few G&Ts and mojitos... Well, it´d be rude not to when it´s this hot!

Thanks so much for coming over guys, I had an amazing time!

Friday, 5 July 2013

A visit from Mum and Dad

I was desperate to see my parents by the time they arrived last Tuesday, as I hadn´t seen them since Easter. We managed to fit in quite a lot into their little visit, including some favourite restaurants as well as a new one. I´m sure I´ve moaned before how about how frustrating it can be to have visitors when I´m working- I jst want to go ot and do all the fun things as well, not go to work all day and come home exhausted!

And I really was exhausted last week. Summer school as begun and the first week knocked me for six so I apologise to my Mum and Dad for being as sleepy as I was.  Nonetheless we had a great time and for me the highlights were a gorgeous meal at Sorci e Morsi (our all time favourite Valencia restaurant) outside as nothing beats a relaxed meal in the open air for me, along with tapas in El Carmen, burgers at the beach and paella in the city.  All of my favourite things are food related but that´s very normal for me!

We had planned a day out on the Saturday but I was exhausted and so we chilled and wandered up to the park, into the city and home again instead.  Time to just relax with my parents and chat is more valuable than ever now and I really do cherish the lovely times we get together. When you live away like this, I think you have to create really special quality time together, or it becomes really hard.

So here´s some pictures from their visit. I can´t help but be impressed at how stunning my Mum is looking at the moment and seeing how happy and confident she now is made my week!