In the beginning of December, my roommate, Tim, and I made a weekend trip to Valencia, Spain. This is where our other roommate, Sara, is from. It was perfect; we had a longer weekend and we were also celebrating Tim’s 23rd Birthday (#TIMSCRZYBDAYWKND, was the official hashtag)! For the first few days of our trip, we stayed in Sara’s pueblo, located about an hour and a half outside of the city of Valencia. The drive up to her pueblo was, to say the least, difficult. Cortes de Pallás is located within the mountains. Yes, within the mountains. Actually, more like built around the twists and curves of the mountain. The hour drive up and through the large “hill” almost had me throwing up because the roads were extremely curved, winding, and very awkward. It didn’t help that most cars in Spain are manual, and I could feel every gear shift Sara was changing to. An exceptionally great combination, don’t you think?
But, after almost throwing up multiple times, asking Sara to stop for about five minutes so I could catch my breath, and the hour drive of twists, knots, and nausea, we made it to Cortes de Pallás! Sara lives at the very, very top of the pueblo. So, of course, when I thought all the curves and twists were over, we had about another 20 minutes driving up a very steep dirt road. The view, breathtaking – and very well worth the feeling of almost throwing up for an hour and a half!
The picture above, was taken from the rooftop of their house. We were completely surrounded by mountains in every direction, with a large lake of fresh water, leading to the ocean at the bottom of the pueblo. It was magical! The air was fresh, the water (directly from the faucet) was fresh, the scenery was as if I was in a movie. I couldn’t stop myself from exclaiming “Oh my gosh!” hundreds of times the first days we were there. Sara’s parents were phenomenal. Their house, which wasn’t the biggest, housed a total of 11 people that weekend! How did we do that? I have no idea. The feeling of family and welcomeness radiated in every action or sentiment that was exchanged! We received homecooked meals, homemade paella (Valencia is famous for their paella), and a tour up and down the mountain.
Sara’s dad took all of us up the mountain that is considered their “backyard”, in search of wood to burn in their fireplace, scenic views that overlooked all of their pueblo, and the opportunity to chase wild goats! We originally drove up the mountain with Sara, her boyfriend, her niece and nephew, and her dad; but, after walking a bit around the top of the mountain, her dad asked Tim and I if we dared to walk all the way down. At first, we thought he was joking, but alas, we accepted the challenge and walked down the entire mountain!! It took about an hour, included a few slips and falls (by me…), and at the end, we rewarded ourselves with beer, and had homemade paella waiting for us back at the house!
Cortes de Pallás is truly a hidden gem!