22 November 2015

Visiting Xàtiva

Today I went to visit a small town, or pueblo in Spanish, in the Valencian Community and not too far from Valencia. 
We left late morning from the Estación del Norte which looks amazing. If you are in Valencia and aren't travelling by train go to see it anyway because it's so beautiful! I like the external facade as well as the internal one which has mini mosaics on its walls, and the trains area reminded me of King's Cross in London. I am already feeling very festive so I also took a snap of a detail of the Christmas tree in the hall :)

 We got to Xàtiva in around 45 minutes. The city looked a bit dead (as most of Spain on a Sunday), but we didn't lose hope and started climbing up the road towards the castle. We brought packed lunch with us because we were told that there aren't many bars. There are actually two or three in the main town, but if you want to have food while walking towards the castle there are no places where you can stop and buy something. These were the views of our little self-made restaurant, so we really didn't mind!

Me climbing up after lunch! 

The indications towards the castle are non existent so we basically just followed our instict and somehow got to the top. It was very tiring but worth it because the views were stunning. 
We got our tickets to the castle and started exploring it. This isn't the kind of castle where you go around pompous-looking rooms, but rather the one where you walk around stone relics and empty halls. 

The Xàtiva castle was first occupied by different Moorish dynasties in the first and second centuries A.D.; then by the Christians, hence, the Spanish government-to-be, until the twentieth century, when it passed to privates and then to the municipality of Valencia. Before the unification in 1492, the castle was considered a fundamental fort of the Crown of Aragón; besides, being the natural entry point to the Kingdom of Castilla it was considered a key spot. (There is no guide at the castle, I was just interested and read about it!)

Before leaving to Valencia we sat down in a typical pastelería (=patissery) and had a hot and super creamy chocolate and an ensaimada, a round and sugary pastry to dig in. So yummy!

We had a lovely time in Xàtiva, I always like to go and visit small Spanish towns for their traditional atmosphere and surprises. Even in the smallest ones, you'll always find something artistic to visit, from the main church to a fort built around the town to protect it; Spanish history is amazing and this is definitely reflected today!

How to get to Xàtiva / my suggestions:
- Buy the tickets at the station. I checked the timetables online which only showed one trip per hour whereas there are a lot more. The ticket from Valencia is only around 5 euros.
- Bring your lunch.
- Climb to the castle during the day; a sunny view of the panorama is amazing and it would be a shame to get there in the dark.
- Stop in silence and enjoy the views!