Thank you to Sapna, owner of travelfoodnfitness who nominated me for the increasingly popular Liebster Award only four months after I decided to start blogging.  Her blog documents her wondrous journey for ‘fat to fit’, traveling solo and sampling local food. It’s a great follow for anyone interested in these areas. The ethical slant she adopts in her writing is my favourite aspect of the blog by far and I hope to see more of this in the next few months.  I’m sure you’ll find something you enjoying reading on her diverse site.  I’ve answered 10 questions asked by Sapna in accordance with the Liebster Award guidelines and you’ll find those towards the bottom of this post.

As it’s a valenciandoporlavida post, there’s a simple structure and a song reference in the title that you can guess if you so wish.  Simply scroll to the bottom of this post to see if you’re the musical genius Trivial Pursuit thinks you are!

I’ve always been one of those people who keeps a diary every now and then.  I used to write in my own English-French-Spanish-Italian mash-up mongrel language until two major life changes occurred.  The first of these was the introduction of Google Translate which meant that anyone wishing to decode my complex entries could probably do so.  The second was living in Spain and France for a while and completing my degree which meant that I could actually write a coherent diary in one sole foreign language.  Linguist goals and all that!

Any of my close friends or family will know that 2016 was, let’s say, an interesting year for me for a multitude of reasons and I actually began to keep my diary on the Penzu app with the main aim of ensuring that I would never let myself end up back in the same position again.

I’m a sucker for a lovely jotter, and the calligraphy set I have in my flat here in Spain pretty much sums up the kind of writer I am.  That said, diary-keeping online has many perks.  I’ve been able to add entries easily while travelling, add pictures and share the odd humorous comment with friends.  Reading the entries back is also somewhat easier as the layout is ridiculously user-friendly.  Indeed, the personal touch can get a little lost but if you’re wanting to avoid teardrops on the page or you want to write a little more objectively, an online diary is the way to go.  I found myself writing entries that resembled short poems and it’s actually really cool to go back and read them now.  The best thing about the whole process for me, is that I can remember how I felt, exactly why I made the changes I did when I did and, more importantly, the music I was listening to throughout the whole process.  It’s a bit more poppy and ‘girl-power’ heavy than my usual thing but all music is ok in the right context I guess.  Except Jedward.  That’s never acceptable.  Categorically.

Moreover, the website will forever hold little gems like this:

penzue diary.png

Now, back to the Liebster Award Nomination itself.  Sapna left these little questions for me.  These answers are about as personal as it will get on here so make the most of it.  Next week I’m looking at gender neutrality in gendered languages!

Q.1. Where was your first destination?

The first type of traveling that I would class as an adventure as opposed to a holiday was the summer as I spent as a 16-year old in Trebisacce, Calabria which is located on the Ionian see in the heel of Italy’s boot.  It’s my Puglia to your Tuscany or perhaps my Dundee to your Glasgow; it’s fantastic yet understated and somewhat overshadowed by its more popular, arguably trendier, neighbour.  I stayed with a host family with whom I’d chatted a couple of times on the 2001 version of Skype we used have on our ‘Tiny’ PC!  I guess it was organised very haphazardly through a contact at my secondary school and I’m lucky that my parents allowed me to go.  I spoke about 3 words of Italian when I arrived and two months, one ridiculous tan, two weddings and twenty-seven types of cake later, I could get the gist of most regular conversations. I returned the following year and it was just as fun!   This website features a lovely article about the unspoilt beaches of Calabria.
Q.2. What has inspired you to travel?

Languages, languages, languages!  All I want to do is learn new languages and practise ones I know already!  That’s a lie.  I also want to have ALL THE KNOWLEDGE about EVERYWHERE.  I really think that those who haven’t travelled are missing out massively.  I also wasn’t subjected to horrendous package holidays as a child. At time I somewhat resented the camping trips to Northern France, rural Scotland and the Lake District but now I’m so thankful that I wasn’t a Kids’ Club tot.  I think I may have run away never to be seen again! Hang on… I did that!
Q.3. Have you ever tried traveling solo, if yes, then where??

I went to Thailand on my own and it was great!
Q.4. Which one is your favorite travel destination and how many times you have visited there?

Barcelona. Three times so far and I plan on many more trips.  You have to experience it for yourself!
Q.5. What type of traveler you are- backpacker, luxury, destination, or any other?

A bit of both.  I like to backpack but stay in luxury hotels!  Sorry!  It great to occasionally challenge stereotypes.
Q.6. What is your travel bucket list for coming years?

Latin America, Japan, Vietnam and Malaysia for a start!
Q.7. What is your favorite mode of transportation to travel and why?

Tuktuk. They’re absolutely hilarious!  I would have written scooter but I fell off mine when trying to turn around!  Currently trying to pluck up the courage to get a scooter in Valencia!
Q.8. A place you always wanted to go and whether able to go there or not?

Bhutan.  Just click here.
Q.9. If you could live elsewhere, where would you live? Why?

I live in Valencia and I love it.  I’d like to be able to move to new cities more frequently hence why I’m building up my client base on Converse with Chloe quite nicely. 🙂
Q.10. What is your most memorable trip that you’ve had?

It’s so difficult to choose but I would probably say that it was a little jaunt to Wales with my boyfriend not long after we first met.  Just a casual date tackling the longest zipline in the world… See my insta for pics without blue spots @valenciandoporlavida or here.

Wales Zipline (2)_LI.jpg


No Rivers in your Mouth:  Funny things about Valencia

Before you start reading, try to guess the song reference in the title.  If you need a few more clues then I’ll say a few Small Things to Promise not to ruin it for you.  This rather charming Diamond of an artist is UK-born, has dueted with the amazing Daughter and is Keeping his Head Up in These Waters.  Keep reading and see if you get it before you reach the end!

There is no water in the river.  During your first few days here if someone asks you to meet up for a run in the river, they mean that they want to meet you in the riverbed which is now a beautiful park running right through the heart of the city, connecting the East with the West.  In 1957 ‘la gran riada’, the great flood occurred causing scores of deaths and considerable material damage in Valencia city.  After this, the river Turia was redirected south of the city.  Something which is rather ‘curioso’ is that the site around the cathedral was unaffected by the flood, literally totally water-free.  Depending upon your religious beliefs or lack thereof, this potentially demonstrates divine intervention or the correctness of the Roman site.  Those Romans knew how to build!

While we’re on the topic of water, ‘Agua de Valencia’ is not, in fact, water and will probably give you a hangover. It’s a cocktail made from cava, orange juice, vodka and/or gin. Loads of Vit C in there so go on, treat yourself!  See for more information and recipes.

The City of Arts and Sciences is not a city at all. It’s a place of Star Wars-esque beauty.  Just look at the header image above!

Paella originates from Valencia. Paella valenciana, contrary to popular belief, does not contain seafood. It’s pollo y conejo.  Yes, that’s chicken and rabbit.  If you mention chorizo in paella prepare to be mocked endlessly.  Yes, WAITROSE, that includes you. Paella vegetal is also quite popular here and is delicious!  This is definitely my preferred option!  Once you’ve decided on the type of paella, you now have to figure out whether to buy the special spoon or not!  Also, should you eat straight from the paella dish with your personal spoon as many Spanish people urge us extranjeros to do?  Whatever you do, don’t miss paella Sunday if invited…unless you want to highly offend.

There are two music halls that have similar names and are in similar locations. How do I know this?   Well, my boyfriend and I had tickets to see Tardor, went to the wrong venue, were told to just go ‘upstairs’ and ended up effectively breaking in to the Palau de les Arts at the City of Arts & Sciences, which is known for its classical shows, not its pop concerts.  Three barriers, sore legs and a whole host of laughs later we had missed the show which was actually at the Palau de la Música (below).


real palau.jpeg

Valencian chavs, or charvas as known in the North East of England, aren’t the socks-over-jogging-bottom-Vicky-Pollard type that may come to mind but, by British standards at least, appear far more sophisticated. You may find them strumming a folk or flamenco tune on a carefully-graffitied guitar.

People want to learn languages, well English at least. That’s it. I’m happy!


And the song is…

If You Want To Be Learned, Stop RaMOANing and Do Something!

Just a little advert here for my online classes.  I have, of course, included a little music pun in the title!  Have a go.

Check out my other blog posts for more puns and anecdotes! advert dec 17.png








Did you guess it?  Of course you did.  You’re not the type who wear Ramones t-shirts obliviously are you now?

“I Don’t Wanna Be Learned/ I Don’t Wanna Be Tamed”

And I don’t wanna be learned
And I don’t wanna be tamed
And I don’t wanna be learned
And I don’t wanna be tamed
And I don’t wanna be learned
And I don’t wanna be tamed
And I don’t wanna be learned
And I don’t wanna be tamed