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Of all the cities I've visited over the years, none has surprised me more than Marseille. I spent an incredible five days in this glorious city and every single one of them was filled with wondrous activities, many of which I didn't even know existed. Since my semester abroad in college five years ago, Paris held the title of my favorite city in all of Europe, but this week my rankings have officially changed. Marseille now occupies the number one slot and ranks up there with Lisbon as my favorite city so far on this trip.
My time in Valencia was divided into two parts as a result of an exhausting side trip to the nearby island of Ibiza (Part I, II, III, and IV). The first few days in the city were my general touristy days, but when I returned there was a strange sense familiarity. It wasn’t until I arrived in Valencia that I dawned on me just how unaccustomed I’d become to the feeling, but it was remarkably soothing to be in a city I was already acquainted with. Since leaving the US, every single city I’ve visited so far is completely brand new to me and, while the novelty is exhilarating, I’d forgotten what it's like to have a home base. Many of the things people (including myself) take for granted when they live in one place for a while is the fact that they know where the grocery story, good restaurants, ATMs, bus stations, etc. are all located. For me however, every new place I visit requires I spend a few hours figuring out where everything is - but not this time around. This time I knew exactly where I was and how to get around without a map.
Valencia is the first city I’d consider my “home away from home." What was initially planned to be a short, four-day trip quickly became an extended two-week visit within a few days of my arrival. While it gave me plenty of time to see all the usual sights, what I enjoyed the most about the extra days was the chance to actually live in Valencia. So far on my travels, I typically spend three or four days in a given city and, while the breakneck pace was fine when I first started, I am beginning to feel its effects. Moving every few days means I am perpetually figuring out logistics for the next city, determining accommodations, and attempting to squeeze my visit into just a few days - which is next to impossible.