Home Thought From A Broad: Walking Tours in Valencia

In her second column, Virginian lady Kealani Nanz discovers the best way to experience the city is from the ground via a guided walking tour…

On the first guided walking tour of the city, we met up with some student coordinators around 10AM. Excited to begin my outfit journey, I put on my platform sandals that my mom strongly disapproves of for walking. (I’ve done Paris in far more unsuitable shoes. So I was looking forward to impressing my cohort with my walking-in-heels prowess.) In addition I wore my denim maxi skirt, a chunky leather belt, and a simple black tube top. All thrifted in addition to a chunky pearl necklace from my aunt. She picked that up at some point among her many world travels.

The city square – Plaza de Auntamiento – in the centre of Valencia feels like a humble, gentler version of Times Square in New York City. It’s a unique collage of centuries past along the Mediterranean coast. On the ground, grey cobblestone meets cream and red marble that becomes slippery in the rain. All connected by skinny pavement-roads on which bikers bravely escape cars and buses driving at speeds that would receive traffic violations in a heartbeat if in the States.

Along the square, buildings come together creating a coastal connotation with the aesthetic of Parisian artistry. During the tour we stopped by what looked like a boutique version of the iconic Roman Colosseum. It’s a traditional bull fighting ring, and I learned that bull fights take place there a couple times a year. I do not wish to enter into the rights and wrongs of bullfighting. It’s an important part of Spanish cutlure and history, though. For that reason, I shall see if I have the stomach to attend an event.

Another memorable stop we made was at the Torres de Serranos. What was once one of several towers guarding the city now guards a small strip of artisan shops. The remains of a moat surrounds it. In the year 2024, I think about the countless lives that have encountered the Towers throughout the centuries.

The constant energy of human nature touched by the gothic towers linking humans together across empires. We, with electric scooters, high speed internet and a fast-food chain in almost every city, are somehow connected to those mysterious masses of people. We are all interconnected at a point in our lives through a human achievement as complex and yet as simple as a pile of bricks.

We ended the night with a welcome tapas dinner at a quiet restaurant tucked away among the narrow sidewalks of the old town in Valencia. The inside lacked grandiosity that many use in attempt to change customers perspective on its value and spend more money.

The only spectacle in that place were the lewdness of the murals on the walls. One wall was full of nude or leather-clad bodies of men and women wearing animal masks and fiercely posed. Another was similar but with the addition of a swimming pool. Not something people expect to see at a restaurant. It was surely unforgettable. Perhaps not in the way of seeing the great pyramids or witnessing an eclipse is. But unforgettable in its own way.

That night, our dinner started with a chicken salad-like appetiser, and there followed different types of sausage. A delicious bowl of mussels which had a broth so good I valiantly fought the urge to chug it down like water in front of people I had known for only a couple of days. Spanish-style potatoes with garlic aioli sauce – patatas bravas – and fried chicken. I love trying new foods and I feel sad for people who experience adversity when met with new flavours and textures.

Another goal I have here is to successfully encourage my chicken tender-enthusiast roommate to taste new foods, which has already proven successful. Despite the bribe of a free drink to try a mussel over tapas, without negotiation, she tried a piece of egg and zucchini pancake and flan at our last dinner. Now that is progress. The Valencia effect, I guess…

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