The day has at last arrived, cards in bed followed by breakfast. Unfortunately due to COVID we had to queue, 2 x 2 and the numbers going into the restaurant were controlled by the speed of the two girls behind a line of tables handing you whatever you wanted onto a tray. Starting with orange juice and bread rolls, through the pastries and cold meats then onto the scrambled eggs and bacon, and lastly tea/coffee. It was the most inefficient system I think I have ever seen but I suppose it did what it was designed to do, regulate the numbers in the restaurant.
ChristIne booked this particular hotel as it was the nearest she could find to the centre of the historic district, but it was still just under 2kms, so into a taxi we jumped, which was just as well as it seemed to take for ages to get there.
We were dropped by the central market, a magnificent building, built on the site of the original market which started in 1839. Todays building, started in 1914 and finally completed in 1928 covers over 8,000 sq meters and is supposedly the largest indoor market in Europe. It has an unusual outside roof made up of domes and sloping sections at different heights. Inside, the roof has panels letting in light and large coloured glass window at the ends. This light and airy building was bustling with activity, and apart from a wet fish stall, everything else in the food line one could imagine was catered for.
After strolling around for a bit we stumbled upon an old, well preserved building open to the public. This was Valencia’s Merchants Exchange, in Spanish “ Llotja de la Seda” built between 1482 – 1533 and is one of Valencia’s top tourist attraction. Inside it has an amazing hand carved ceiling and the roof is held up with extraordinary twisted Pillars. This building has been a world heritage site1996. They run a film with English sub titles which gave the remarkable background to both this hall and the prosperity of Valencia during the Middle Ages, it was well worth watching.
We’ve never been to Valencia before, but have now come to realise there is so much to see and do that it is more like a week needed than a couple of days! In fact the earliest town here was set up by the Romans in 138-BC, and from that date to more recent times Valencia has been involved in something or other, and it was here that “El CID” defended against the Moors towards the end of the eleventh century.
Wandering around the historic area, we were “accosted” by a fellow standing outside a restaurant drumming up business, looking casually inside from the street, it looked intriguing but we were still digesting our breakfast. Naturally as custom dictates, we walked into one of the 9 or 10 churches that are in this small area, only to interrupt a christening, but we were quiet and left immediately, oops!!!
OK it was time for a beer, we sat at a table in a square watching the proceedings of a wedding that was taking place, in fact many of the wedding guests were also drinking beers waiting for the ‘photos to be taken. We would have stayed for another but the waiter was miserable, couldn’t give a fig about us and lost trade because of his attitude. Had he’d been more accommodating, I have no doubt we would have stayed, enjoying the ambience and the sun, 32-degrees! But because of his intransigence we drank up and left.
By now it was after 1400hrs and the prospect of lunch started to dawn on us. As I was being treated I plumped for a late lunch that we could linger over rather than an evening meal. We then stumbled across another lovely “round square” surrounded by restaurants, but after exhaustive enquiries, everything was pre-booked, so we couldn’t get a table.
After some deliberation we decided to return to the place where we were “accosted” outside a restaurant, the one where the inside intrigued us. Fortunately we found it and went in but first we had to gel our hands under supervision before having our temperature taken, all good thank goodness, only then were we taken to our table.
The inside of the restaurant really surprised us, it sounds odd but all the walls and roof had been sprayed with concrete giving it a “cave” look and it didn’t end there. There was a mezzanine floor and a lower area and the barriers depicting the edges was sprayed concrete and the ropes between the pillars were also from this concrete. The floor was covered in small mosaic type tiles and put together, it was amazing, and that’s before we have even seen the menu! This place is called “Restaurante Bacco Valencia” and advertised as a“Mediterranean Restaurant in Valencia”
Like everywhere now all menus are by QR Reader but unfortunately my phone decided to run out of data allowance this weekend, something that’s never happened before, but very inconvenient so the waitress lent us her ‘phone. Today we went of the à la carte menu, special treat by ChristIne. We were having a little trouble ordering, my accent was obviously crap, I wasn’t used to the Valencias Dialect and all I was trying to get across was that I wanted my steak “rare”; anyway eventually the chef arrived and blow me he was English, came from Leicester, his name was Josh but the problem was he was a Leicester Tigers Supporter, and as he said, we “could” have been friends!!! Still everything we had, and it was a lot, was cooked to perfection. Their wine list was small but well selected which complemented an excellent birthday meal washed down with a couple of bottles. The problem was the Brandies afterwards. We asked if they had a Carlos 1, no she said but did have something better, “Gran Duque D Alba”, never heard of it but ordered two, it was a limited bottling, came from Jerez and it was magnificent, but that was not all, when that time came to pay, she brought the bottle back and gave us two more!!! How we found our way to the taxi rank and managed to get the driver to know where we wanted to go was surprising. Our problem is that during lockdown we haven’t drunk much as we haven’t participated in parties etc.
We got back to our room and that’s where we stayed, probably comatose ‘till 0900hrs Sunday!
What a great day, sorry, what a great birthday week, thank you