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…

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