bike rental

valencia, spain

valencia, spain

For the last leg of our train trip (see our first stop in Zaragoza here and the middle - and longest bit - in Barcelona here) we made a day and a half long stop in Valencia, Spain's third largest city.  Now, I have to say that I wasn't all that sure what to expect for our time in Valencia.  A few (Spaniards) had given me dismal reviews of the city ("It's like the Jersey Shore of Spain - I hate it!") but foreigners we knew who had visited seemed to really like it.  Nevertheless, I tried to keep an open mind because I have a thing for places along the sea and I was also particularly stoked to visit the City of Arts & Sciences.  So, without further ado...another riveting blow by blow of how we spent our time in yet another pretty European city!

barcelona, spain

barcelona, spain

After not having visited Barcelona (while living in Spain) long enough for it to get embarrassing, we finally made it there!  It was getting to the point where at least two people said something to me along the lines of, "You know, Barcelona is somewhere you really should visit...it's kind of a big deal to Spain...and the world...it would be a shame to miss out seeing how close you are in Madrid...etc etc," and other people just raised their eyebrows and thought it when we told them how long we'd been here AND hadn't made it to B-Town.  So, like I mentioned in our Zaragoza post (see it here!), we snagged some fancy Black Friday train deals and made our way to Madrid's more-visited, more-laidback stepsister, Barcelona.  

porto, portugal

porto, portugal

We spent our first weekend out of Spain in Porto (or, as the Spaniards say, Oporto), Portugal.  We were eager to try out Ryanair and explore a new country and it came down to choosing between Tangier and Porto when we had picked the weekend we wanted to go, and Tangier was only about $20 cheaper.  So, Porto won out because I felt more comfortable telling our parents we were going to Portugal than Morocco.  I know.  True story.  Many people we know here have been to Morocco and have had great experiences, so it is on our list, but I think that Porto was a good choice for our first trip.