Valencia has always been a place that we've wondered whether it could eventually be a permanent base for us (the current top two choices are Seville and Palma de Mallorca). Because, the city ticks many of the boxes that we have for our ideal home:
1. Unlike Seville, it's on the sea, and the city has spent a fortune in the last couple of decades in refurbishing its once neglected seafront.
2. There's lots of history here – the city was a major player in the trading world of the Middle Ages, and so there's plenty of impressive Gothic buildings as a legacy of this. We did a tour of the graceful Silk Exchange (La Lonja de la Seda) – there's not many better examples of civic Gothic architecture than this.
3. It has an incredibly lively atmosphere – this is a city of fiestas and late night revelry. On Sunday, it seemed like the entire population of the city was out exploring its streets and parks.
4. The city has some of the most amazing modern architecture in the world – the City of Arts and Sciences, designed by Santiago Calatrava, has an array of architecture that needs to be seen to be believed. The futuristic white buildings look like something out of a science fiction, blending space-age designs with organic shapes and sinuous curves.
5. The property market is presenting a few bargains, as the bubble has well and truly burst post Credit-Crunch. Could this be a good time to invest?
On a clear, sunny day, there's not many places that look more photogenic than this. And yet......
For some reason, we didn't quite feel the same charm and vitality as in Seville, or the same easy-going atmosphere as Palma. I really enjoy spending time here in Valencia, but I don't think it's going to be where I put down my roots.
That's unless the property market really crashes!