When I checked into my AirBnb in Valencia I was met with the most lovely welcome from my hosts. ‘Hannah! WELCOME! Come in, come in!’. They draw me in to a hug, a kiss on one cheek then a kiss on the other. ‘We kiss on both cheeks here!’ they told me, already teaching me about their city. After hastily placing my bags in my room, they excitedly showed me around their beautiful, impeccably styled apartment and sat me down in their kitchen armed with a tourist map, a pen and a wide grin.
As he explained all of the ‘main tourist places’, circling the buildings I needed to see, and leaving out the buildings they thought were overrated, his excitement for his city made me love it even before I ventured into the town centre. One of the things I loved most about this solo trip to Valencia, was staying at an Air Bnb with locals (and no it wasn’t just the endless hours playing with their little kitten, Otto!) and hearing their recommendations of their favourite spots, which were more valuable to me than any Trip Advisor Rating- and they were also faultless!
Something I would never have learned from staying at a hotel or hostel was the two ‘cooler’ barrio’s Russafa and El Carmen in which my hosts raved about the trendy bars, clubs and kitchy indy spots (clearly these guys were far cooler than I could ever hope to be). However, one thing that especially stood out to me throughout their excited ramblings was that the El Carmen area had a lot of ‘nice graffiti! You like Hannah?’. Of course I do.
So one of the first areas I set out to explore was El Carmen (it was literally the other side of Valencia to my hosts’ apartment).
I was not disappointed.
Some of my favourites that I found could rival that of Banksy in London.
I loved rounding a corner and not knowing what you were going to see or if there was something special that might be down a seemingly so-so looking street.
In this part of Valencia, and I think in any travelling experience, it is important to Always. Look. Up. This area of El Carmen had some extremely large pieces of street art that made me look extremely ‘cliche tourist’ as I spotted one, half squealed then realised I was alone, took about 10 photos and stood their gaping at it (and also took a few selfies of course..).
If you want to meet my amazing hosts Carlos & Miguel and stay in their beautiful apartment (walking distance to everything, pretty, clean, little terrace – am I selling it for you?) you can find their place here. Make sure to give Otto a little pat for me!