Layover in Madrid

At the tail end of our trip to Valencia and Malta we enjoyed a brief layover in Madrid. Although we were tired from our flight and sad to be on our way home, we took full advantage of our two days to see some great art and get a small taste of the huge city.

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Around Valletta

Valletta from the Sliema ferry

We’re staying in the heart of Valletta and it’s easy to walk to any point in the old city without too much exertion. Valletta holds the distinction of being both the smallest European capital (at 0.8 km2) and the southernmost European capital. The entire city has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980 and historic treasures are crammed together more densely than anywhere we’ve visited.

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Best Russafa Eating & Drinking

When we decided to stay in the Russafa neighbourhood of Valencia, we knew that it was home to many restaurants, cafes, and bars. But we didn’t realize the extent of the choices until we were there. During our three week visit we ate most of our meals in this compact area within walking distance of our apartment, yet we barely scratched the surface of potential places to eat.

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Mercado Central

We visited the Mercado Central in Valencia, one of the largest markets in Europe. It was built between 1914 and 1928 in the Art Nouveaux style, which gives it the stunning high ceilings and a light, airy atmosphere.

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El Cabanyal

On a warm and sunny Sunday we decided it was time to figure out the Valencian bus system and head to the El Cabanyal area of the city, about 20 minutes from the core. There we explored the beautiful Platja del Cabanyal beach and the historic fisherman’s quarter tucked in behind it.

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Around Russafa

Unfortunately we’ve both been quite sick since before we arrived in Valencia, and our lingering colds and flus are not letting go easily. That means that during our first week here we’ve been mostly sticking to our local neighborhood for lunches or dinners, and stocking up at the local Consum supermarket to cook at the apartment. Luckily none of this is a hardship as the neighbourhood is filled with nice places to eat, and the produce is great.

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Leith Walk Eats

Our Airbnb was on the Leith Walk, just a little bit outside the core of Edinburgh. This proved a good choice, far enough outside the Royal Mile area to avoid tourist traps, but gentrified enough to provide good options for visitors.

Sunset on Leith Walk
Sunset on Leith Walk

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Edinburgh Pubs

Edinburgh is home to a seemingly endless number of pubs. Most of them are nondescript neighbourhood corner spots serving mainly locals. Others are more touristy and claim long, elaborate histories. In every one we visited we found a warm welcome and unexpectedly good food.

<a href="https://www.belhavenpubs.co.uk/pubs/midlothian/white-hart/" target="_blank">White Hart</a>, Grassmarket
White Hart, Grassmarket

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Inveraray

We escaped the city for a day and took a bus tour to see a small portion of the Western Highlands. One of our stops was the small town of Inveraray (pop. 600) on Loch Fyne.

Gary on the BeachMuch of what remains of the town today was laid out in the late 1700’s as the first planned Georgian town in Scotland

Main Street and Parish Church
Main Street and Parish Church

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