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I could have titled this post something pithy like “Travel and Error”, but I decided to focus on the delightful rather than the stressful. On Tuesday, we were in the cold, cloudy mountains of Segovia. Yesterday and today, we were on the Mediterranean beach in Valencia. Things worked out in the end.

But they didn’t start that way.

On Tuesday, we went to see a palace affectionately known as ‘Little Versailles’ not far from Segovia. The weather that morning promised sunshine all day. We received clouds all day. I do sometimes wonder if the meteorologists even try…

But it was a pretty house.  Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures of the opulent, gilded rooms, glorious ceilings, and lovely paintings and sculptures.  We were practically stalked by the security people whose sworn duty, it would seem, is to keep tourists from getting away with anything.  The very nerve.

But we were free to photograph the grounds.

I confess, it would have been nice if all the fountains had been turned on and the trees had had leaves.  But it was still pretty in its own cold, mountainous way.

The nasty bit came when we attempted to find our bus back.  Every bus that had Segovia written on it ended up being, somehow, not a bus to Segovia.  Two hours of waiting finally brought us to the right bus.  However, we missed our train to Madrid and had to wait two more hours at the station for the next one.  As a result, we missed our train to Valencia and had to wait yet two more hours for the late train which got us to Valencia at the charming hour of eleven o’clock at night.

I think we were justified in taking a taxi to the hotel.

We slept in out of sheer exhaustion (and me recovering from a stress-induced migraine) and then decided to spend the day relaxing.  Where to relax?  Why, the beach, of course!  We made our way to the Playa de la Malvarrosa on the Mediterranean.

I soaked in every ray of sunshine and warmth.  After so much cold and cloudiness, I was in love with Valencia.

Also, a sandcastle!

We decided to eat first and wander the sandy shores afterwards.  Mussels still in the shells, seafood paella with little sea critters (eyes and antennae still intact), and some tasty cakes made for an excellent midday meal.

Of course, it was just my luck that the sun disappeared while we were eating and it became cloudy.  Rachel tried to cheer me up, but I mostly glared at the sky, waiting for the blue and sunshine to return.

It did, and I was happy once again.  We walked to soft, warm seashore and dipped our toes in the sea.  Rachel enjoyed it immensely.

I was less thrilled.  After so much cold, I didn’t much enjoy the icy water on my feet.  Silly Mediterranean, why aren’t you warmer?

We headed back with vague notions of walking through the old part of the city, but ended up getting turned around and walking in the exact opposite direction.  This just goes to show why getting lost can be such a treat.  We found a park.

Almost as soon as we entered, we were intoxicated by a delicious perfume in the air, which we later discovered was from the orange blossoms.  We promptly found a spot to relax for the afternoon.

Because it was a day of recuperation and relaxation, when we finally headed back to the city center, we searched out a place to sit and chat and eat something sweet.  In the Plaza de la Reina, we discovered a place called Valor Chocolate.  The entire menu featured chocolate items.  We were in love.

We finally decided on rich little cups of thick, chocolaty goodness (mine flavored with cinnamon and Rachel’s with orange) and ordered churros to dip in the chocolate.  I think we could have survived on just those for the rest of the week.  Heavenly!

This may not have been much of a day for touring, but relaxing in the sunshine, walking the Mediterranean beach, breathing in the scent of orange blossoms, and sipping rich, decadent chocolate in a pretty plaza as the sun went down certainly made up for Tuesday’s’s difficulties.

Today, we bid Valencia a lingering farewell and headed to Toledo.  More on that soon!