SFO ➡️ JFK - flight 1 of 3 *notes to self: babe lash serum really works next time get a seat that’s not next to the lavatory I’m excited to eat my sandwich
My flight was delayed arriving from JFK so they rebooked me. I was supposed to leave for Valencia 10am and arrive at 1:55pm. So I now have a whole extra day of airports ahead of me with another flight and a now near midnight arrival. The plus side: I ordered oysters and i get a pit stop in Portugal.
It was really fun walking around Valencia and taking it all in. I went down every random side street I could find. The old buildings and alleyways are all very unique. The weather is great, prob low to mid 60’s. I was fine in jeans, a long sleeve and a sweater. Noticed the fashion here: lots of wide leg pants, or long skirts and everyone I swear is wearing platform converse or platform boots and puffy jackets or pea coats.
This market was so amazing! Like a gigantic indoor farmers market with everything from hams and jams, cheeses, fruits and vegetables, olives, wine, bread, paella seasons stands, and horchata stands. Also very inexpensive. I saw a sign for a ham sandwich and a glass of wine or beer for 5 euros (about $7). I wasn’t hungry and didn’t want to carry things on my walk back, just taking it all in, plus the breakfast buffet at my hotel is like a charcuterie, cheese plate, yogurt bar, bread bath wet dream so I was quite satiated. But I happily sat with an americano at a cafe patio in the plaza in front of the market. I will likely go back here again though it was a 45 minute walk from my hotel.
Oh my god! Wait not sure if I can say that about a chapel. But seriously this was like nothing I’ve ever seen! These pictures do not depict the beauty and immaculate detail from the “Sistine chapel of Valencia”. I paid for entry and an recorded audio tour. Upon entry, I just sat in a pew and surrendered. It was breathtaking. Even though there were many tourists, I felt like I was the only one there. It seriously was a bit of a divine experience. Every inch of the place was covered in paintings of saints or cherubs or Jesus and gold, tons of gold. As I walked around I saw many saints including Nicolas and Rafael. And lots of Jesus including the baby to full grown adult in a deathbed. I found that interesting because I’ve always only seen him on the cross and here he was laying down in a glass coffin. I didn’t take a picture, didn’t feel right. He wasn’t on a cross. But anyway, honestly this was one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited and it was first on my list. I woke up, had breakfast, and walked directly to this cathedral. Highly recommend!!
Ah Valencia! This place is gorgeous. Old buildings, Palm and orange trees everywhere, art, food, culture - it’s like a European Oakland or Philadelphia. It’s a city but has a town vibe, people are friendly, it’s lively and inspiring and tapas and cafes everywhere! Only complaint is while I was sipping my americano, a guy was singing “Stand By Me” and accompanying himself of guitar and harmonica. Why was he playing the guitar is the right key and the harmonica in a completely different key that absolutely did not work?
I had the hotel call me a cab to go to a flamenco show at Café del Duende - Supposedly the best in town. They opened at 10 and I showed up at 10:10 and bouncer said “No! No room. Come back mañana!” I was kind of in a neighborhood off the beaten path and didn’t want to walk anywhere (I walked for 4 hours earlier). Asked him where I could get food, he points me around the corner and there’s a busy restaurant that is not my vibe. Across the street is a quiet, cute, unassuming wine and tapas bar. The owner speaks some English and I ordered white wine, mussels and a cheese plate. I took my time and just hung out. They helped me call a cab back to the hotel. Had a great time with Angel my cab driver and google translate. Haha! He asked me if I was going to fiesta - and I said no, solamente siesta esta noche. But he did tell me another flamenco place I could go. So maybe I’ll try again mañana. I’m pretty sure most people are not in bed by midnight on Saturdays in Valencia. But I will make the most of the day tomorrow as I continue adjusting to this time change. Buenas noches!
Well I just wrote a whole description and the app closed on me. Here goes again…
This is the Museu de Les Sciences at La Cuitât de Les Arts I Les Sciences (the center for Arts & Sciences) about a 5 minute walk from my hotel and a Valencia must see! It’s a lot like the exploratorium but with many specific exhibits inside that rotate throughout the year.
First is the arched arboretum Les Jardins de Real that you walk through to get there. It was beautifully lined with rosemary plants, orange trees and palm trees. There was a newly wedded couple taking photos and it made me miss the wedding biz for about 30 seconds until I realized that I’m in Spain and then i didn’t miss it anymore.
The water installation with the hemisphere building is really spectacular and you can rent standing paddle boards, row boats, and bicycle boats to go around.
Upon entry, I stopped at the cafeteria for an americano and a bocadillo de chorizo - a small baguette and chorizo sandwich since I missed the hotel breakfast.
First exhibit was “Music & Science.” Clearly, they knew I was coming. Ha! Did you know Einstein was a prolific violinist before discovering science? When you first walked in there was a circular monitor to display sound waves as they played samples of different kinds of music. There were many sound displays and even real preserved vocal cords - creepy. Instruments from different time periods were displayed - everything from none xylophones to music boxes and phonographs.
Next I saw bugs, cockroaches, spiders and baby chicks that had just hatched! I was so enamored I forgot to take a picture.
The exhibit about the human body was fascinating. Learning that each specific chromosome is directly correlated to certain behaviors or physical traits. Information about the heart, lungs, genes, etc was all really interesting.
Contagion was a scary exhibit about germs and viruses and mutations. What a rude relevant reminder! Interestingly enough, there were different drawers you could open to learn things about how our hands spread the most germs. Was this some weird ironic test? I passed on that. This is where I saw the post about rumors and why people commonly spread negative rumors.
The exhibit about Mars was meh. I don’t understand why we need to explore the idea of taking over another planet when we can’t take care of this one.
My favorite was the exhibit about memory - How and where our brains store different types of memories. I loved that one.
This was another building the Caixaforum where there are cultural events like shows, concerts, seminars and lectures. There was a Pharoah exhibit but I was kind of museumed out at this point. The wooden seating was cool and the indoor restaurant looked awesome with the living wall.
This is when I learned that almost everything is closed on Sundays. I had missed eating lunch yesterday because I got hungry while everyone was on their siesta break. There weren’t any tapas places near me open and I stumbled on this Greek kebab spot. It was delicious and so cheap!
I took the bus! 1.50€
venturing into Cabanyal - kind of the Brooklyn/Oakland of Valencia
walking to my new friend Gillian’s house
community gardens. people can pay a monthly fee to grow veggies much like in the bay
Alex who owns the gardens offers a communal meal each day. people can pay a minimal fee and they can come and eat with their families and other people. it nurtures community and saves energy
inside the kitchen
a fancy spa at a fancy hotel. I was just getting a quick tour with my friend while she was making an appointment for herself. only 28€ (about $45) for two hours of sauna, hot tub, cold plunge, etc
the port on the Mediterranean Sea. I can’t upload videos on here but I got to dip my toes in the ocean.
Day 1 of the Global Career Summit at Berklee’s Valencia campus. It is held at the Science Museum.
Today was awesome. I met a lovely girl Berta from Barcelona (my mom used to go by that!) and we became quick friends. She is into musical theater and has written three musicals. She is attending the Global Entertainment & Music Business program here. Smart as a whip and extremely thoughtful - I will share more later on that.
Attended panels by various music executives including Jonas Weber formerly of Universal Music Group, founder of COLORS x STUDIOS - a universal music video platform launching artists from all over the world.
A panel with Rupert Vereker - founder of DIY magazine, Ro Rowan - renowned cellist, and Opeyemi Iredumare - entertainment lawyer. They all gave some incredible tips and advice.
And an IP & Creative Rights (intellectual property) Workshop - An Entrepreneurs Guide to Protecting Your Ideas. All about copyrighting, patents, trademarks and various legalities with those. I learned a lot of this in college but it was a good refresher and some things have changed as well. The instructor is an attorney who knew all the laws and rules for different countries as well as various cases around some of these. Lots of legal jargon but I really enjoyed it. Apparently AI and computers are helping people write songs now! (What?)
Had lunch at the mall at a Thai spot. It had an elephant as the logo which is why I chose that place. The other options were McDonald’s, KFC, Subway and a few others lol.
Met another cool girl Mariah who is also in the business program. She’s from Thailand and is a singer who wants to be an artist manager and help Thai artists get their music into the world. V inspiring stuff. And she helped me get into the Berklee campus so I could check it out.
Ahhhhh! This place was amazing! Remember my new friend Berta? She said she had reservations at a place that is hard to get into and she was planning on taking one of the panelists there to pick their brains but wasn’t sure what time her mentorship meeting would end (we can sign up for a 30 minute mentor slot with one of the panelists as part of the conference). She had reservations at two spots and wasn’t sure which one she would attend so she told me to go here for dinner and take her reservation. It was SO cool!
It was setup like a speakeasy. A secret door for entry, then a Time travel light up hallway straight into Manhattan in the 1920’s. There was live jazz, a magazine menu and amazing food. Plus I got a tiramisu that came out smoking and Berta ended up stopping by at the end. We hung out and talked and had a great time before I headed back to the hotel for a zoom interview with a journalist in the bay for a show I have coming up. What a jam packed day!!
Day 2 of the conference. Our first speaker was Ebonie Smith who is an incredible producer and audio engineer and started her own nonprofit to help women in the audio engineering world. She was really inspiring and insightful.
The second slide is random from the social media marketing class.
I stayed in this evening and ordered room service. Not too shabby. Though I miss fruits and vegetables. I feel like all I’ve eaten is bread and cheese and meat and bread and cheese and meat. Anyway this plate is delicious because I could have a little then save the rest in the mini fridge and it lasts a few days for breakfast and snacks.
Today I was mostly in the conference so I didn’t take many pics. Patrice Rushen was our first speaker and she opened by playing “All Blues” on the keyboard. She’s my new hero. She is one of the most gracious, accomplished, smart, humble and talented women I have ever met. I was really looking forward to this one.
I was also sitting next to a man who complemented my leopard coat, Jorden Smith. He is partially paralyzed from a brain injury and is confined to a wheelchair. He’s studying to get his masters at Berklee and is a guitarist. He plays guitar with one hand. He started an educational organization in Colorado called Positive Note teaching music to kids with disabilities. It was really interesting to hear his about his experience at Berklee and in this city dealing with his disabilities and the logistics here. It was very eye opening since most of the other students seem to be young and pretty well off, not having to worry about much. That’s the general vibe at this campus. It kind of put me in a certain headspace the rest of the day hearing his story.
I wanted to go out to eat dinner at a certain place but they were closed. It’s been pretty cold at night and i don’t want to try to find my way around without a specific destination in the evenings so i ended up at El Reno (the deer) cuz it was close and it was open. It was a meat house that I stumbled on near my hotel. It was pretty expensive and not really what I was craving but it ended up being really good! Papas bravas and grilled pulpo plus homemade bread and a cheesecake dessert. I left fat and happy and slept like a baby.
Today was my favorite day this week. I sat in on a studio session with Patrice from 10am-4:30pm. She took a student’s song and coached the students through the studio session recording live band, background vocals and lead vocals. It was so amazing to be in her presence and watch how she gently but firmly commands the room. She is so knowledgeable with everything and I learned a lot about managing time in the studio, special grids to help the producer and engineer and certain sound design. I got to talk with her after and she gave me her email to send her my music. I almost died. What a sweet lady!!
Later that night there was a Berklee showcase. Ahhhh I remember the days. It was a trip right back to my Berklee days. Several students performed at a really cool club called the Jerusalem Club which used to be a movie theater in the 1940’s. I was going to go back to my hotel when I noticed a very familiar looking small man. I approached him and asked his name and he said “Victor Mendoza.” I knew it!! He was a teacher when I attended Berklee and in fact from my high school days when I attended the Berklee in LA summer program. He is a phenomenal vibraphone player and we needed up talking for a while. Turns out he recently retired, but was one of the founding faculty members for the Valencia campus. He then introduced me to the owner of Jazztone Records, a great recording studio here in Valencia and I also met his girlfriend, a music teacher for primary school. They were all so nice I asked if I could tag along with them. Then we went to meet with the Berklee DJ instructor who was spinning for the after party at Club Oven. I suddenly was VIP and on the guest list. Didn’t have to wait in line or pay. This nightclub was the epitome of everything I don’t do. Late night, electronic music, laser beams, smoke machine. I was like - who am I right now? But it’s the only night I’ve really gone out with people. By the way the club didn’t open until midnight! We hung out for a while until it got too crowded then we went upstairs and on the stairwell I ran into my new BFF Berta! I ended up staying and hanging out with her until about 2:30am when we shared a cab back to our places. What a great night ✨
I woke up tired as hell because I didn’t go to sleep until about 4am after I finally winded down from the club. But my friend Gillian had invited me to join her at her Pole Dancing class in Cabanyal. So I rallied and took the bus at 11am and got to the class. It was two classes actually. The first was kind of a combination of stretching and yoga very related to pole dancing moves. Then we did an hour of Exotic with patent platform high heels and knee pads and yes I tried pole dancing for the first time. Good god it was hard!! I did ok for my first time. It reminded me of when I took my first piano lesson. In my mind I was going to sit down at the piano and play like Liberace. Alas I became frustrated when I had to play a few notes that didn’t sound like a song at all. After the lesson I just played all over the piano and in my mind I WAS Liberace. Today was very much like that. I thought I would get on that pole and be able to lift myself up and spin around and look all glamorous and sexy. Instead I looked extremely awkward and kept getting stuck when I tried to spin. The instructor was so amazing! She made it look so easy and then there was me. Haha. But in my mind I just said - you’re doing it! You’re amazing! Wow look at you go! The mirror did not reflect what I wanted my body to do, but I did it and I’m sore and I might try to do it again sometime.
After Gillian and I stopped at a cute Brazilian cafe and had some coffee and pan de queso (Brazilian cheese bread). It was delicious!! I walked back to the hotel about 40 mins and I’m dead.
Sadly my posts are now just food. I guess travelling solo is giving me the ability to be present and take it all in without thinking of taking pictures of everything. But this one’s important! Haha.
Don’t get me wrong, I love bread and charcuterie - it’s seriously like one of my favorite things. But I’ve had that almost everyday here and it’s kind of hard to find veggies and farmers market stuff here like I’m used to in Oakland. Living out of a hotel I have to go out for every meal and bocadillos (little sandwiches of bread and ham) are everywhere and are cheap and easy. I’ve also had some bad luck with food here, mostly every time i go to eat it’s siesta time and things are closed or they are supposed to be open and they’re not and i end up at some bougie place when i really just wanted some cheap tapas. I still haven’t tried the paella here! So…It was so cold and windy, howling wind, that I was tempted to stay in. But I went to this cute restaurant right next to my hotel called Elbar. I couldn’t believe it - they had salmon with quinoa and veggies! I know I know, so Bay Area of me. It was great and it was so windy the windows were clamoring and making noise the whole time. But I was happy. Also, people were sitting down at 10:45pm to have dinner - with their babies!!! Typical schedule here is breakfast around 10 or 11 am, lunch at 2, siesta 3:30-6 dinner at 10pm.
I guess I wasn’t that tired of cheese because I got a cheesecake to go. It was delicious. And I’m not sorry.
Last day here! I still hadn’t had paella yet and it’s from Valencia. So I met up with my friend Gillian for Paella at the Mercat de Colon. This was such a cool spot. In a giant old train station, there are restaurants and cafes and kiosks like a flea market. The paella was amazing and the sangria was delicious.
Walked Gillian to the train station. One of the most beautiful buildings! Gorgeous details of oranges and flowers like what you would see on a cake. You can see to the left is the bull fighting area. Yes, real bullfights still take place here. We got authentic churros and chocolate. They were so yummy! Light and crispy not rolled in a bunch of sugar like in the states.
Checked out this cool spot with Berta on my last night in Valencia. It reminded me a lot of some Oakland places. It’s was great!
Woke up to a flight cancellation. Dealing with British Airways was a nightmare this am. I was trying to fix my flight on the website, website said I had to contact them, I call and the line is closed, I chat with an AI bot - trying to figure this out all while I’m waiting to board my flight out of Valencia. They tell me my flight is not cancelled. I show them the email. They say talk to the desk when you get to Barcelona. Do you see the empty desk?? There was NO one who could help me. After 4 hours of running around the airport, back and forth, everyone telling me different things, waiting at different places while they looked things up on the computer to tell me “your flight was cancelled” like I KNOW that’s why I’m asking you for help.
Finally Anna with Iberian Air, my guardian angel, helped me with everything. There was not one representative from British airway even though they have desks there. She couldn’t access my flight and couldn’t get through to them either. I ended up buying a flight on Turkish airlines at the very moment Anna was able to rebook me. So cancelled that one and BA sent me to a hotel with meal vouchers and I am rebooked tomorrow. At least I am comfortable, safe, and not dragging around my suitcase anymore.