Amanda's travelsHealth and Wellness Coach, Foodie Adventurer, Photographer & Professional Chef
Travelling on a shoestring
Over the next two months my husband, my daughter and myself have decided to travel Spain while continuing with our normal work life. Covid lockdown and the UK winter have taken their toll and when my daughter decided she wanted to perfect her Spanish, having finished school and taking some time out from studying, we hopped on for the ride. This post and the next few to come will be all about our adventures on a shoestring.
Life is too short to wait until the bank accounts are happy. Travelling cheaply is possible and gets you out of your comfort zone. We haven’t really planned our trip apart from the first 2 weeks in Valencia while my daughter completes her language course.
Let the adventures commence!
Valencia is an amazing city with it’s excellent public transport systems and endless bicycle paths, travel is cheap and there is no need to hire a car. A bus journey anywhere costs €1.50 no matter the distance. Bicycle hire costs €13.30 per week and then as long as your journey’s are 30 minutes, it is free. So we check our bikes in every 30 minutes and carry on with another bike – cheat the system. There are so many bike stations everywhere and the mobile app for the bike hire is fantastic.
2000 Year old Valencia, is one of the oldest cities in Spain and the 3rd largest after Madrid and Barcelona. It was founded by retiring Roman soldiers who were given land by Ceasar for their bravery. It is famous for is weather and for being less touristy. Despite being a large city, it has amazing beaches which are surprisingly undeveloped. The sea is always warm and on most days of the year you can wear a t-shirt.
The many beautiful squares surrounding the centre piece fountains with their churches and cafes make for a peaceful wander around the historical parts of the city with the original gates still standing and offering a glimpse into an era past.
Running through the centre of town is a green park which stretches the whole length of the city. It is a lush green recreational zone with the trees providing a respite from the heat. People spend their time from early in the morning doing yoga, running, meditating, dancing, playing music and many other pursuits. You could spend all day joining in or simply watching from the sides. A pure delight to cycle through this area on your way to work or to a meeting.
What we have been eating at our airbnb accommodation
With very few kitchen tools and only olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, chilli and herbs to use, we have been eating very simply. I usually butterfly the fish from the market (sustainably sourced) so they cook quickly and crisp up beautifully in a pan on the stove top. A sprinkle of chopped garlic, salt and pepper and it tastes amazing. I served this with a rice salad filled with crisp red peppers and herbs or a potato and artichoke salad. The squid and calamari were so fresh and all locally fished, only require a quick flash through the pan, served with a rocket salad on the side makes a wonderful fresh meal.
What we have been treating ourselves to when we eat out?
Valencians take their food seriously and so they should, with magnificent produce available from the wonderfully fertile (thank you Roman irrigation) surrounding lands. Home of the paella and the local drink Horchata, made from tiger nuts, a tuber with wonderful health benefits. They’re rich in a variety of nutrients and have been linked to several health benefits — ranging from better digestion to a reduced risk of heart disease. It is served ice cold and is delicious. The fresh fruit and vegetables are everywhere so shopping in the local markets is a daily adventure.
We have eaten delicious paella’s including a vegetarian version for my daughter. Other food delicacies we have enjoyed are plantain crumpets with beef stew, guacamole and goats cheese; fresh calamari, mussels and fish from the most indistinguishable little cafe; and we found a gluten free restaurant serving only gluten free food where myself and my daughter were able to have a good old hamburger with desserts (FYI my daughter and myself are gluten intolerant) What a naughty treat!
Amanda's Tips & Tricks For Traveling Cheap
My top tip is keep it simple. It is little like a delicious dish, less is more. We stay in very simple cheap airbnb’s, making sure they have good wifi and air conditioning. We cook all our weekday meals only eating out on weekends. We walk, cycle and catch busses. I bought a small portable blender and packed a few bags of protein powder to boost our diets. Being able to make protein smoothies and fruit smoothies for breakfast keeps us going. As we are on a working trip, our days are filled with work which leaves evenings and weekends to explore.
A few pictures of Valencia to help capture the ambiance and relaxed atmosphere, despite there being a pandemic going on. Blue skies, warm ocean, delicious food and lots of new experiences.