Valencia to Menorca to Sitges to Barcelona...
We arrived in this large city at lunchtime - just time for Cesar to take me on the guided tour of the city centre reminising about his days studying here. We used the city bikes to get us around stopping at Calatrava's stunning Cuidad de las Artes y de las Ciencias - a truly iconic district of awesome contemporary architecture. Later we returned to the the heart of the old town stopping at the Mercat de Colon - a wonderfully converted old market and serving one of my most favourite drinks ever - a juice combo that I had to go back and sample numerous times whilst we were in the city.
A long walk today along the seafront north to Port Saplaya - an interesting recent marina development with a very different character to the city close by. The extent of the beautiful sandy beach reminds that Valencia is a true beach city, offering the beat of both worlds.
On the return to the city, I stayed in Place de la Mare de Deu for a sketch before dinner. Whilst I was sketching, there was a very moving gathering of people in support of Ukraine that created a very reflective mood in this historic space as the sun set.
After breakfast and a sketch in the old city, we embarked on a beautiful Sunday walk along the Turia, a linear park (and former riverbed) that meanders through the historic city and becomes the recreational heart of Valencia - a place to play sport, a place to meet, a place to relax and chill - a truly fabulous space.
I couldn't resist cycling back to the Calatrava masterpieces for a sketch - the weather was so hot but sitting in the shade with my feet dangling in the pool was a very pleasant place to sketch some of these beautiful structures.
Our long weekend in Valencia was coming to an end and after a final sketch and brunch, we returned to the airport for our flight to Menorca.
On arrival, we picked up our cheeky Mini Convertible and made our way to the capital, Mahon, and our hotel. We took some wine up to the rooftop pool and I got the watercolours out to try to represent the dramatic view of the city with the harbour in the background - one of the largest natural harbours in the world.
We drove across the island to the west to Ciutadella, a historic port city and one of the many highlights of the island - a city full of charm.
After a wonderful morning wandering around the port, we continued on to a series of beautiful rocky coves and beaches where we chilled and bathed - this is my first visit to Menorca and I was discovering why people fall for it!
We travelled south to Binibequer, a truly quirky and delightful development that takes its cues from a reinterpretation of traditional fishing village. Managing not to be pastiche however, the narrow pedestrian streets are a delight and beautiful - no wonder it has become an instagram must!
After a sketch in an adjacent beach club, we continued our tour of amazing coves and beaches ending up as the sun started to set in Cala Galdana.
Today we travelled north to the delightful Fornells, a pretty fishing village before having lunch back in Ciutadella. I managed to sketch in both places over a coffee, enjoying the lovely climate and beautiful scenery.
Then more stunning beaches in the afternoon and a lively night back in Mahon as they celebrated their annual fiesta.
For the final weekend, we returned to the mainland and to Sitges (my first time since the pandemic). Sitges is very cool, gay, pretty, lively but unpretentious - a place I always want to visit.
After checking in to the delightful Hotel Capri, we walked to the promenade a short distance away. I stopped and drew some of the delightful architecture along the seafront before having dinner in the lively centre as the sun set.
A day chilling on the beaches, soaking in the old town and shops and a quick watercolour sketch of the colourful beach life along Platja dels Balmins.
Another relaxing day - this time around the cute pool. The hotel is intriguing and quirky being made up a series of old villas - the trip advisor rating is well deserved. I had to get the watercolours out as we sunbathed.
After lunch in town, we spent the afternoon on the main beach enjoying more sangria - perfect on a sunny day!
Barcelona is only a half hour or so by train from Sitges and I had booked our final night in this vibrant city, revisiting some of my favourite places. It was so nice to meet up with one of Cesar's former colleagues who is now based here. After catching up in a fabulous city centre rooftop bar with wonderful views, we were taken to a delightful local district for dinner away from the tours areas. A great way to experience authentic contemporary Barcelona.
Our final day, but I managed to get up early to sketch the skyline of the city visible from the Axel Hotel rooftop. Then a rush to catch the bus and then home to autumn in the Uk.