The Huffington Post: Valencia Beyond Calatrava

Happy Labor Day!  You can see my piece on "Valencia Beyond Calatrava" here on The Huffington Post.  My late June trip to Spain was wonderful, with a week in Valencia and two days in Madrid at the Hotel Ritz Madrid (my post on the hotel is here). 

Starchitect Santiago Calatrava's masterpiece of design, the City of Arts & Sciences, has dominated the Valencia cityscape for more than a decade. While the city's pride in the work of its most famous son is well-deserved, Valencia has many other cultural highlights.

I arrived in Valencia on one of the sleek, high-speed trains that now connect the city with Madrid and Barcelona. The ride was such a pleasant experience that I wanted it to last longer.

I wandered around town and ate manchego and tomato sandwiches, which are sold everywhere like mozzarella and tomato in America. I drank glasses of fresh juice from Valencia oranges. (In a nod to local flavor, every Starbucks has an orange squeezing machine.) I craved crunchy bits of paella every day. I tasted the overly sweet local beverage Orxata, made of water, sugar and tigernuts and sold on street corners.

A tour of the City of Arts & Sciences is not to be missed for its space-age, jaw-dropping size, scope and design, but, on a closer look, the gleaming white exteriors show dirt in the cracks, like it needs a giant hose to wash it down. On every visitor's list is the Oceanografic Aquarium and the cool displays at the Museo de Las Ciencias (Science Museum), both equally appealing to both kids and adults.

Beyond Calatrava, here are 10 things I loved about Valencia.

Read more here


Travel + Leisure Post: Valencia's Best Paella

Click here to view my latest post on Travel + Leisure's Carry On blog on Valencia's best paella.

"In Valencia, the city that gave paella to the world, greedy forks scrape the bottom of the pan for the best bites of crunchy rice, or socarrat. No surprise when the Formula 1 European Grand Prix roared into Valencia last month, the city’s restaurants were buzzing with racing fanatics—all of whom took a break from their fast-paced itineraries for a leisurely lunch of paella at one of these top spots:"



Top 11 New Travel Blogs

I just returned from a wonderful week in Spain and while I was exploring my room at the Hotel Ritz Madrid (with a VIEW of the Prado Museum!), I found out that Christopher Elliott, National Geographic's consumer advocate and all-around awesome guy, named my little blog one of the Top 11 New Travel Blogs for 2011

It is still amazing to me that I am building a career on something that I borderline obsess about.  Chris nailed it when he said "If the hotel is the destination for you, you'll want to bookmark her blog."  It makes such a huge difference where you stay and it doesn't have to cost a fortune.  I travel so much for work and love posting about the hotels I visit and stay at.  Thank you, Chris, for the mention.

And now I must continue sorting through the hundreds of photos I took, including this one of Santiago Calatrava's STUNNING City of Arts & Sciences in Valencia.