Googled in Valencia

Googled in Valencia!

the Cathedral of Santa Maria, the Basílica de la Virgen de los Desamparados, and the Palace of the Generalitat, Valencia, Spain, Europe
There comes a day in your life when waiting anymore feels like a waste of time. Euro Trip was just that for me. There came a time when I decided to take the plunge all by myself. Sounds like m talking about getting married or some bigger decision in my life? It was big to me. Introvert by birth, in this trip, I was like a panda trying to learn kungfu. But just like in the movie, I started to enjoy every minute of it.
Now that I had decided to fly solo, I decided to put myself in self created experiment by not only travelling alone but also making sure that I am surrounded by more and more strangers – instead of cozy hotels, I decided to crash at hostels sharing room with other travelers and I purposely did not carry any internet or phone with me when I was out on roads.
How did it feel? On the first day, it felt like I was a self torture trip but as days passed by, I became more comfortable with choosing my own path, deciding my own routes, and dealing with last minute gate changes at airport, finding my way around the cities while taking directions from strangers, and meeting some great people on the way. All in all, the trip changed my opinion about myself. I, quite literally, surprised myself.
After spending some amazing time at Granda for 3 days, I and my childhood friend, Noopur, took a night bus to Valencia. It was not a sleeper bus but was comfortable enough.
When we woke up, we were in Valencia and bus dropped us not far from our hostel, so we decided to walk till there and enjoy early morning views of this beautiful city. We crossed a small market, a peaceful park and entered our hostel building only to find no one at the reception. A note on desk said that it will open at 2pm and gave a number to call, if required. It was only 8am and we had a long wait time. That was the moment we realized that our Spanish sim cards only allowed us internet and no balance to make any calls. We still noted down that number, just in case.
spiral columns and rib-vaulted ceiling at La Lonja Valencia, Spain, Europe
We again came out on the streets and started to think what could be our next option – we decided find an open shop and request them to make a call for us. And we did just that at a chemist. There were two females at the counter, and to add to our struggle, both of them did not speak any English and we didn’t speak any Spanish. Now we made use of our phone data to open Google translate app and speak through it. God bless Google to make conversations easy while travelling.
Plaza de la Virgen, Valencia, Spain
“Hola, can you please make a call for us?” I said to my phone screen, up came a Spanish translation “Hola, puede por favor hacer una llamada por nosotros?”
Women on the counter read this text and gestured to say yes but started speaking in Spanish again. We used Google Translate again to tell her to speak to our phone instead so that we can get the translation. Apparently she was asking about what we wanted to know from that call.
“We booked Valencia Lounge Hostel and have just reached to find no one at the reception. Reception has a number to call but we don’t have balance on our phones.” Noopur spoke to phone screen again.
One of the women at the counter knew Valencia lounge hostel and said no one comes to reception before 2pm. At this time we checked our booking confirmation email and realized that we missed it completely. But she came out of the counter and started walking out of the shop and gestured us to follow her. We were quite surprised but followed her anyway.
Art Installation at De La Tapineria, Valencia, Spain
She went inside a bakery. We thought she might know someone from the hostel and is going to fetch someone for us. When she came out, she was accompanied by 2 policemen. Coming from India we grew up watching movies showing policemen to be mostly corrupt and negative characters. We started talking in hindi among ourselves.
“Abey ye kya samajh rahi hai humein, andar to nahi karvayegi” Noopur said to me. (what is she doing, is she handing us over to the police or something?)
“Mujhe kya pata, chal pehle baat to karte hain phir jo hoga dekha jayega.” (I don’t know, let’s talk to these men and see what happens)
We used Google Translate again to explain the story to the policemen, they too didn’t speak English. One of them asked us for the hostel number and dialed it from their phones.
“Yar inka call gaya to hostel hamari booking cancel na karde” I said to Noopur (yar, what if hostel cancels our booking as police is calling them because of us)
“Arey aise thodi hoga, lets see” She replied (No, No its not like that, lets see)
“No answer” Policeman said after he disconnected the call.
We thanked him for his help and said that we will figure something out and got out of the situation as soon as we could. Contrary to what we felt initially, police in Valencia was very helping and not at all like in bollywood movies. Although it was unnerving at first, but we did feel that we were worried for nothing.

La Malvarrosa Beach, Valencia, Spain, Europe
I knew that we can keep our luggage in the locker room of a railway station for some charges. We searched on Google again if there is one nearby. Good for us, there was. We went their kept our luggage safely in the locker and had our first coffee of the day at a small café at railway station. With some fuel inside our belly, we started to look for things to do in Valencia on our phone and decided to hit the beach with some sangria and chips.
We had to change couple of buses and the last once dropped us right at La Malvarrosa Beach where chips and sangria made our breakfast, my scarf became our beach lounger and long walk and conversation became our first things we did in Valencia. Once the clock hit 1pm we decided to have something for lunch and hit the road again to reach Valencia Lounge Hostel.
La Malvarrosa Beach, Valencia, Spain, Europe

When we reached, this time the reception wasn’t empty. Once we took a quick tour of the hostel, we shoved our bags in our room, which came with super comfy double bed, and went for nice long hot shower.

Valencia Lounge Hostel, Valencia, Spain, Europe

We spent 3 days 2 nights in Valencia and it was a wonderful stay and Valencia Lounge Hostel was great too. We cooked some pasta in hostel kitchen for dinner that night, a small grocery store nearby had all the ingredients. Well, I cooked pasta while Noopur did the dishes. We met few more travelers in the kitchen.

Free Tour Valencia, Spain, Europe
Next Morning, we took a walking tour of Valencia with Free Tour Valencia, which is a tip based walking tour company. Our guide was amazing; she took us around the city and told us all about its history and architecture. I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone visiting Valencia. As most guides earn only through these walking tours, please be a little generous in tipping if you like your tours as much as we did.
All in all it was amazing a memorable trip. With perfect blend of new and old, Valencia is like no other city in Spain. With invention of paella, Valencia has given Spain its most popular food which is now available in variety of forms across the country.  All I can say – Valencia is Charming.
Here come morals of this story:
  1. ALWAYS read the fine prints in your booking documents. And if something has to go wrong, it definitely will. You will realize that you missed something, specially the part you should have read anyway
  2. Keep Calm, and think of plan B for such situations
  3. Policemen are not generally bad people, like they show in movies
  4. Last but not the least, thank Google for making travel and communication so convenient

If you want to know more about Valencia or want some help planning your trip, send me an email or drop in a comment here and I will definitely respond.

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