Walked up to the United ticket kiosk at Newark on Saturday to be informed that #1, my flight was not available to be checked in, and #2 I had no flight at all, please speak with a United representative. Disculpe/Excuse me? Did I somehow book my flight for Sunday and not Saturday? Did I miss an important cancellation email? Did I book my flight for 2017??? <– that’s most likely. Turns out, my connecting flight in Geneva decided it would depart before I even arrived. Which is helpful. So, a layover in Zurich instead and I was on my way to Valencia! (Side note that Spaniards have a lil lisp going on, so it’s pronounced Valenthia by some folks. Imagine a Spanish Mike Tyson).
Met up with the amazing RY staff and was escorted to some sort of PRINCESS flat in Rusaffa, which is a hipster neighborhood in Valenthia. Residential with plenty of bars and restaurants and walking distance to the main downtown (but know that everything under an hour is considered walking distance to me). Our coworking space is approx 20-25 mins depending on how lost I get in transit.
Met the gang and the roomie, hugs and double cheek kisses. Everyone had the same crazy, exhausted, need-a-cerveza look in their eye, so we accomplished that as a first priority.
Fast forward a bit and I’ve done a graffiti scavenger hunt, had a group workout in a park, organized a weekend beach trip, attempted to speak some Spanish, and managed to make cool friends who figured out Game of Thrones streaming while playing the card game called Kings. Side note that Irish rules are a tad more complex than American. You’ve been warned.
Some NEED TO KNOW Valencia and Spanish tips, should you ever decide to visit (and you really should. I say that after three days so I really mean it):
- Agua de Valencia. Get it. Drink it. Live it. Love it. Fresh squeezed orange juice, champagne, vodka, and gin. Heaven.
- No take-away coffee. Enjoy with breakfast and bake in an extra 30 minutes before you need to get to work.
- Speaking of breakfast, this city would do a hobbit proud. Second breakfast is known as almuerzo, and you have that around 11, which is helpful when lunch is at 1:30 or 2pm.
- Speaking of lunch, they are normally 2 hours, and often 3 courses. Enjoy. Don’t leave early, which may be considered rude.
- Siesta! It’s true! Always thought this was a myth, or at least an exaggeration. But restaurants and shops close up after lunch and don’t open again until dinner.
- Speaking of dinner, hope you’re not hungry. Because dinner is served at 9 or 10pm. Which isn’t so bad because the sun stays out until about that time anyway.
- Speaking of FOOD because that’s all that’s been on my mind, everything has been delicious. Pick anything on the menu and you’re golden. Still need to get some paella though!!!
- Coworking spaces are THE BOMB. I know that’s not unique to Valencia but it’s the first time I’m truly experiencing it. I’m currently sitting at Wayco, which is a funky building with eclectic tables and chairs, has some outdoor space, conference rooms, and a cafe. You’re sitting next to a videographer and a web developer and they are your new coworkers. How awesome is that?
Everything’s seemed alarmingly normal so far. No big deal, walking around past towers, cathedrals, and statues, with strangers who are now friends. I think to sign up for this trip and to actually go through with it, many of us have similar values. You need to have a strong work ethic to work remotely without distraction. You have budgeting skills to get you here. You have a love of exploration and adventure. You have faith in yourself. Still, this is a vastly diverse group from all parts of the world. Everyone has something to teach each other – I am so looking forward to that part.