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Adventures of a short vet

Welcome to Valencia

SPAIN | Saturday, 9 October 2010 | Views [354]

Ah, slept in luxury! No drunken people coming home in the wee hours of the morning or rifling through their bags when packing to catch their flights at 5am. Pottered down to the train station and managed to navigate my way to the right train to Valencia. Though I did have a mild panic attack when the train suddenly reversed direction, thinking that I had missed the announcement to change trains, only to find it was just stopping at a little inland station before heading back down the coast. It also took longer than I had anticipated, prompting a little more nervousness when I didn’t recognize any more town names after Peniscola, but finally we pulled into Valencia and I found my way to the Home Backpackers Hostel with a little help from a couple of random strangers and my stuttering Spanish.

It was down a couple of dodgy looking streets but quite close to the centre of the city, and the set-up wasn’t bad – 3 floors but only 3 bunks per room, and a nice open-plan kitchen as well as a terrace on the roof. While waiting to check in I read a pamphlet about the festival marking Valencia’s freedom from the Moors. The Day of the Valencian Community (Día de la Comunidad Valenciana) marks the anniversary of King James I of Aragon's capture of the city of Valencia from Moorish forces in 1238. It is also the Day of Saint Dionysius, a traditional festival for lovers. I’d noticed a few people dressing in costumes as I made my way to the hostel so thought I’d head into town for dinner and to see what was happening, assuming I’d already missed the parades. Turned out I hadn’t, and spent the next 3 hours watching a MASSIVE parade with hundreds of drummers, bands, people dressed in all sorts of amazing warrior/knight/Moor costumes and costumed horse-riders galloping up and down the street and performing some pretty impressive tricks. Not a bad welcome to the city!

Tags: parades, valencia

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