I am kicking off this new section with a bang, first port of call: Valencia. I feel that this is a fitting place to start as it is here where the story began, it is here where this new travel project was concocted and brought to life. On the 30th of August P had an appointment to see a head surgeon in one of the hospitals in Valencia. Having been told by the surgical team in the hospital he has been treated in to date that they were unable to operate on him, as it was too risky and he was not in fit condition for such an operation, Ps oncologist decided to seek a second opinion and sought out an appointment with one of the most advanced surgical teams in Spain.
Having gone along with everything the oncologist has ordered up to this point P felt it was fitting to take on the three-hour journey to Valencia and see what this surgeon had to offer him. As expected the surgeon was of the same opinion as the other surgical team, P was in no fit condition for such a dangerous operation. Obviously, no matter how strong you are, no matter how positive a person you are news like this is not the sort of news you want to hear. You can prepare yourself for the worst, but hearing it is something completely different.
So slightly deflated and disappointed with the outcome we headed back to the hotel in quite a zombie like manner, each person trying to remain positive and upbeat but struggling to hold back the disappointment and the emotion. After awhile J, as she will be refered to for the purpose of this blog, came up with an idea, a genius idea if I must say so myself, she decided that, instead of sitting in the hotel room dwelling on the news, she would go to the reception and find out if it would be possible to rent a wheelchair and, as I´m sure you can guess, the answer was yes! So, seeing as it was late, we decided to set off to the shops and get P some comfortable clothes, have something to eat, head to bed early and set off and explore the city the following day, Ps birthday.
We woke well rested, the news from the previous day had taken it´s toll and we all slept like babies the night before, ready to take on the city – only downside; we only had half a day to do it in. Hmmm mission impossible suddenly comes to mind! Ha! Right, time to put our thinking caps on, what is the fastest way to see the most of what this city has to offer? Bingo, I´ve got it, a hop on hop off tourist bus, genius…or so it seemed!
We asked at our hotel where the nearest tourist bus stop was and the lady explained to us that if we went to the city of arts and sciences we would find a bus stop there, brilliant, off we went on our mission. We set sail, with our shiny new set of wheels, for the city of arts and sciences and o what a city it is. I have to say, once I stepped foot in this so-called city of arts and sciences something very strange happened to me: I was left speechless. What a site to behold, a picturesque garden set against a backdrop of modern dome like buildings, one a deep blue shade, another a long glass dome and finally, at the very furthest point, a stone dome covered in the most colourful flowers you could ever set your eyes on. Beautiful, much more so than my words give it credit for!
After a little wander through the grounds of the city of arts and sciences we decided to head for the bus stop. We had been told that there were two bus routes available, one to take you around the section of the city of arts and sciences and the other to take you around Valencia. Feeling confident in our decision we decided that we wanted to take the tour of Valencia and hopped on the bus designated for the route we were informed about. We settled ourselves down in the seats ready to explore the city, suddenly panic set in. Why are we leaving the city? Where are we going? The city is the other direction. F**K, we´re going up the mountains!
After a brief moment of panic, seeing as this was half twelve and we needed to be back at the hotel for three, I went and asked the bus driver how long this trip was going to take. He informed me that the boat trip, yes you read it correctly BOAT TRIP, takes around forty minutes and the journey back to Valencia takes roughly 20 minutes, so all in all we would be back in Valencia in roughly an hour. Ah relief. But how the hell are we going to go on the boat trip with a wheelchair and a man who feels cold even in 40º weather? Hmmmm, interesting.
P, being the great sport that he is, decided to tackle this change of events head on, we left the wheelchair in the cabin located beside the boat and headed off on our unexpected yet highly entertaining boat trip. Apparently the main attraction of this trip is the fact that you can spot rare wild birds along the river. Our tour guide was a character, filled with anecdotes and was very helpful when it came to pointing out the birds. How did he know where they were? Amazing. Suddenly, after about the fourth bird sighting, P an J began to laugh. Puzzled I asked them what was wrong, they asked me had I noticed anything about the birds and I said not really as I couldn´t see them very well from where I was. Guess what? The birds were plastic! Only in Spain haha! After they pointed this out to me I began to pay attention to these so-called birds the man was pointing out and sure enough not one of them moved, they all had the same position, same colour and all the other creatures and birds around them scattered with the sound of the boat, but no, not these “rare” plastic birds! Priceless. Even the photographers on our trip put away their cameras half way through!
Nonetheless we enjoyed the trip, we were a little disappointed, it wasn´t what we had hoped for – a trip around Valencia – but it was highly entertaining and the scenery was beautiful. Take a look for yourself:
After this excitement it was time to head back to the hotel. We ate, collected our bags and headed for the train station. Finally, we got to see a bit of the city. The train station, The Nord, is a magnificent building located in the centre of the city, beside the bullring. So once the taxi dropped us off I went and printed our tickets from the machine and left P and J at the station and quickly went and explored the area. Got to make the most of the time you have after all! I was gone roughly ten minutes in total, that´s all the time I had to spare sadly but I must say Valencia appears to be a beautiful city. It´s contrast between the modern architecture found on the outskirts of the city and the old buildings in the city centre is breath-taking.
All in all it was an emotional trip, a trip of highs and lows, but most definitely a memorable trip filled with as much laughs as sadness, if not more laughs! I would definitely recommend a trip to Valencia but one word of advice, if you decide to take the tourist bus make sure you chose the right one. Otherwise you might have some “rare” birdwatching on your hands!
I´ll leave you now with a slideshow of some of the magnificent photos I managed to take on the trip. Enjoy!
Hope you enjoyed reading about our trip to Valencia and learning about how this travel idea came into play.
Hope you are having a fantastic day wherever you are.
As always, thank you for reading.
Until the next time, take it one day at a time….