This line has taken me so far in the last two days that I have been in Valencia! When I arrived here on Sunday, the whole city was closed. It was ghost-town personified. Not a soul on the street. The apartment I booked happens to be in quite a remote area of the city, where mostly old people live with their dogs. Not exactly in fiesta mode, like profoundly read about.
Anyway, 2 days down - 67 ¿´No habla español´s´ and 41 ´habla pocito español´s´later, I have a local phone number, new cables for my laptop, a bank account; have tasted horchata (an extremely sweet milky drink made of almonds or tiger nuts) drank sangria and eaten pig blood sausages with yellow rice.
I know how to get around town by foot, bus and tram AND have caught a glimpse of hot hispanic chicos ;) (No, I haven´t met any yet)
My first impression of Valencia is that it is a large town - as opposed to a city. No highways. No high-rises. Wide roads distributing into smaller lanes, that further lead into tiny alleyways. The plazas, churches and cathedrals around the city contribute largely to the artsy ambiance, and strongly reflect Spains historical and cultural significance. (which I am get to understand!).
The public transport system is excellent with the buses and tram. There is a metro - but I´m not sure here what that means yet. I am impressed at the navigation systems the taxis have (should you be able to find one!). A map of your location appears on the screen accompanied by audio directions. Having said that, Valencia isn´t as tech-savvy as imagined. I haven´t been able to find one wireless "hot spot" yet, and it took me the whole morning to figure out how I may be able to access the Internet, wireless at home.
The general attitude seems rather laid back. The business and money oriented rat race that can be felt in big city hubs is non existent. People seem to live a rather simple and happy life, and are very friendly. The air is fresh, the streets are clean and everyone seems to be doing what they want to do.
I have already had about 10 hours of Spanish lessons at don Quijote. It´s quite intense and I have homework. I hope to be fluent in 6 months, and the way it´s going - if I´m serious enough and actually do my homework , that shouldn´t be a problem at all.
There is a donar kebab shop underneath my building, run by a Pakistani family. Think I will go there for dinner! :)
Will post some pictures soon.
Hasta la vista!