My trip started in the stunning Spanish capital, Madrid, where I stayed at Hospes Puerta de Alcala. Once the residence of a wealthy Spanish family, as its name suggests, the beautiful 19th century building, recently renovated, overlooks this impressive former gate to the city. The hotel is close walking distance to all the wonderful sights and sounds of Madrid that you should visit; Cathedral Almudena, Plaza Mayor, El Retiro Park; and located in the refined Barrio Salamanca. The wide leafy streets here are flanked by beautiful shuttered Spanish buildings, elegant restaurants spilling out onto quiet tree lined avenues and quite honestly the best Spanish tapas restaurant I have ever been to (I highly recommend you check out Quintin when you visit!).
Spain’s efficient high-speed railway whizzed me 360km in only 1.5hrs to Valencia where the sun shines for over 300 days a year! It is such an outdoor city buzzing with cafes, restaurants, art, culture, and shopping! The Hospes Palau de la Mar is perfectly located with only a 10mins walk from the historic old city centre in one direction, and 20 minutes stroll to the impressive City of Arts and Sciences in the other – or hire a bike and whizz along one of the many wide cycle routes, through the parks between the two attractions, and even on down to the marina and beach for Valencia’s well known typical dish, the famous paella. Buenisimo!