I met Dani in Montreal when the weather was around -20°C degrees. While freezing together we were wondering why we chose to live so far from our dear warm cities (Dani is originally from Valencia). When we met, Dani was working for the University of Montreal and was very curious to know more about Canadian life! Dani is always, always, always smiling! I was always happy to see his positive attitude, especially when the sun was far away for several months. Dani is very open-minded while trying hard to keep his Spanish lifestyle and roots. He continued to party during snowstorms, ate dinner at 9PM… You need a Spanish friend when you’re traveling, always up for going somewhere and trying new activities!
How would you describe Valencia to someone who has never been?
From nice beaches to mountain peaks, Valencia is an great mix of ancient (founded as a Roman colony in 138 BC) and modern. According to the classic song written by “Maestro Padilla”: Valencia is the land of the flowers, the light and love. This city enjoys a really nice weather with constant sun and soft winters.
What is your favorite boutique?
I don’t have a particular favorite boutique. But here in Valencia you can enjoy the “low cost” Spanish fashion shops: Zara, Pull and Bear, Mango, etc.
Your favorite museum?
My favorite museum is The Fine Arts Museum San Pio V, which is located in a Baroque building. This museum is renowned for its collections of Valencian painters, although there are also paintings by El Greco, Velázquez, Murillo and Goya.
The best place for an easy day trip from Valencia ?
Lying to the south of the city, the Albufera freshwater lagoon is one of the most important nature areas in near Valencia. It is a corner of nature in which you can find local flora and fauna in its wildest state thanks to the strict protection. The natural life coexists in harmony with traces of agricultural, fishing and culinary traditions!
What’s unique about Valencia? The food ?!
Of course: paella!! White rice, white and green beans, meat (chicken and rabbit), and seasoning such as saffron and rosemary. You’ll love it!
Where do you like to exercise?
I really like to go to run to the Turia river bed gardens. Valencia was founded besides the Turia river. However, the river was always prone to floods and in 1957 the flood was particularly bad: a fair few people lost their lives and much of the city was devastated. So the government decided to divert the course of the river and the fertile soil of the riverbed quickly gave life to a lush garden. The “empty” river bed is always full of people, there is something for everyone: “Palau de la Musica”, the City of Arts and Science, numerous playgrounds, sports areas, etc.
Somewhere super touristy you still like to visit?
I have to confess that I’ve never been at the top of “El Miguelete”. The cathedral bell tower ’ »El Miguelete” is a gothic style construction made in the XIV century and finished in the XV. Inside there is an enormous spiral staircase with 207 steps up to the summit from where you can enjoy amazing views of the city and even the sea!
What’s the best way to get around? Bike, bus, car…
One of the good things about Valencia is that is big enough to have everything (museums, theaters, nice restaurants, etc.) but small enough to be able to walk everywhere. Valencia is a really cool city to bike (flat and great weather) and also has public bikes.
What is your city’s philosophy?
Going somewhere: If walking takes less than 30 minutes, just walk.
Describe an ideal day in Valencia:
– Waking up late.
– Spanish omelette bocadillo as “almuerzo”.
– A walk near the sea.
– Siesta (of course).
– And during the night getting out in Ruzafa neighborhood.
Cécile lives in Chicago though is originally from southern France. She’s an avid traveler and is always excited by new adventures. After living in Ireland, Australia and Canada, Cécile is an advocate of having a routine but not staying comfortable for too long.