What Happened in Valencia: An Honest Account

This weekend was nothing short of a never-ending fiesta. While I generally try to include some iota of historic art or culture exploration into my travel itineraries, I genuinely can’t remember an hour on this trip where I wasn’t intoxicated (or severely hungover), and I think my photos from this trip accurately reflect that…

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That being said, my visit to this city was very much an enjoyable experience, especially since the trip was organized by the international students’ association at my university, and there were 110 lovely people on the trip from around the globe. I was lucky to meet some friends from Germany, who, throughout the trip, taught me some pretty hip and cool phrases.

Learn German: Volgazzz – [lit. “full of gas;”] I believe the English equivalent lies somewhere in between “crunk” and “schwasted”

In typical Spanish tradition, the bus ride, which was allegedly a three hour trip, turned out to be a six hour epic journey, culminating in loud reggeton being blasted through the bus speakers as our group leader called us individually to the front of the bus with a microphone to answer whether we were “con o sin novio(a)(s)” and with whom we would like to sleep in the hostel (to be interpreted as we wished).

Learn German: Ich liebe Haie. – I love sharks.

We were assigned bedrooms, and I lucked out, a room of 11 awesome gals and one (lucky? tortured?) guy, with whom we ate dinner our first night.

En route to dinner
En route to dinner

The rest of the night involved mojitos, sangria, and holding a botellón in front of one of Valencia’s largest nightclubs, whose name I can’t even remember because it was that good of a night. A few of us called it quits at around 4am and headed back to the hostel, only to discover that we were the first group back in our twelve person room. Okay, we promised ourselves, tomorrow we have to be the last ones back.

Sufficiently exhausted the next morning, it was the perfect day for a trip to the beach!

ESN students getting off the bus at the beach in Valencia
ESN students getting off the bus at the beach in Valencia

We took in the palm trees and the ocean air. It felt very tropical.

Palm trees on beach in Valencia
Heading to the beach

We spent the day lounging, reading, swimming. At one point, our friend Kim sighed and announced, “I am the happiest girl in the world!” If photography serves to preserve memories, this was a moment I needed to capture:

“I am the happiest girl in the world” #kim

We had cheap lunch near the beach, and genuinely enjoyed a nice few hours of relaxation before it was time to return to our hostel for the walking tour.

Enjoying a day at the beach in Valencia
Enjoying a day at the beach in Valencia

We saw some historic buildings, and even caught a glimpse of a few weddings, as well as a bachelor party. It is tradition, apparently, for the groom to dress in a lady bug dress and wig and march around town tailed by a live band, singing and shouting things. Needless to say, it made the walking tour far more interesting. We tasted horchata and learned myths of werwolves and beheadings that happened beneath our very feet.

Witnessing a wedding in Valencia
Witnessing a wedding in Valencia

The city has a vast, rich history, which again is something I can’t relate back to you because our mood was something along the lines of:

Great city, great friends!
Great city, great friends!

We found a great Greek restaurant for dinner and headed back to the hostel for a “sorpresa,” which was scheduled for 10pm. What could it be?? We were curious and excited. Again in typical Spanish tradition, it was sangria.

Getting ready for a night out
Getting ready for a night out

Sufficiently prepared for this night’s outing, we boarded the bus to yet another botellón, this time directly outside a nightclub on the boardwalk of the beach. Things got pretty real after a few hours of dancing and ingesting a substance called Vodka Redbull, which is a drink, I learned, that gives you the necessary activation energy to actually follow through on the brilliant ideas you’d come up with when drunk on plain vodka.

Thus, a few of us decided that swimming would be the ultimate way to end our great night. We headed for the water, leaving our things in a pile on the beach. It was beautiful, refreshing, 4am, and a very stupid decision, which we soon realized when we saw the shadow of two figures hovering over our belongings.

“HEY!” we might have shouted, if we weren’t intoxicated and had realized what was going on. Instead, we tried running towards them, through the water, bay-watch style, only the second we hit the sand we all toppled over, adding blood to dripping mascara and tears when we discovered that two of our purses had been stolen.

After a thorough search of nearby trash cans on the dark beach and boardwalk, we met some Quebecoise girls who had had their backpack stolen as well. We joined them as they headed to the police “comisería,” where we filed a “denuncio,” announcing our lost phones and wallets. We felt utter defeat on the way back home, but at least this time, a bit passed six in the morning, I believe I was the last one to sleep. #missionaccomplished

The next morning, we got to wake up at 9 to check out of the hostel and go to a science museum and aquarium. The general attitude of our group looked something like:


Overall an eventful and exhaustive weekend.

Learn German: Ich habe Angst vor Haie – I am afraid of sharks.

Annie Rubin

Annie proudly knows all the lyrics to Joni Mitchell's album Blue. When she's not writing, you can find her reading about intersectionality, drinking Lorelai-Gilmore-levels of coffee, and exploring the world.

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