Breaking Up with Valencia

After a break up with a boyfriend, I would do my best to focus only on the things that didn’t work between us. Because if I remembered all the good times, all the things that were so perfect about our relationship, I might never recover.

And so it is with my relationship with Valencia. When it was good, it was good. If not great. But now that the end is near, I will do my best to focus on our reasons for leaving.

Thus, I’m writing them here. Not just for you who are wondering why we are leaving this amazing city, but so that in the future, I, too, can remember.

—-

I won’t look back and think, “Oh, but we had such a great apartment! We never should have left!”

It is true that we have a great apartment. The huge terrace. The top floor. Two bathrooms (one for each of us). A great location–just a five minute walk from the largest park in the city, 30 seconds to more restaurants that we could ever try, buses to all over, and a recently opened metro stop just minutes from our door.

However, Michael and I, after living together in our xx-square foot apartment, realize it’s not only about “location, location, location” as they say in the real estate world.

We have come to realize that this space is too small for two people who work from home. Our offices are too close to each other. And when we want to get out of our offices and relax, there is only one place to do that: the living room.

Which wouldn’t be a problem except that I like to wind down by reading quietly or talking on the phone. Michael’s preferred method of decompressing involves watching television or listening to music. Ideally with an incredible sound system.

Invariably, one or both of us have to wear headphones. Or go into the bedroom.

But what about that lovely terrace, you ask. Ah, our lovely terrace. It is lovely. In the right moments. In August, in Valencia? Not so much. November through April when there’s no sun on it after 9am? Not so much.

But lack of sun I could handle. But oh, the noise!

When Michael and I moved here it was August–the national vacation month across Spain and much of Europe. New friends said, “It will be much noisier in September when everyone goes back to work and school.” And I found this to be true. But easily tolerable.

But as our time here progressed, as COVID disappeared, as people started leaving their homes to go to work again, as construction began again, as curfews were lifted, all the sounds of the city seemed to land on our terrace. The relaxation I enjoyed out there was no longer.

Real estate agents are quick to point out new double-paned windows in apartments here in Valencia. And they are right–they do indeed knock out a lot of the sounds of the city. But what about those of us who like fresh air?

And did I mention the narrow streets? That people stop in the middle of them to drop something off, pick something up. And the people behind them? Impaciente. They express their frustration by laying on their horns. For the entire neighborhood to enjoy.

So sure, we could move to a different apartment in a quieter location in the city. But sometimes we want to get out of the city. Into the verdant countryside.

Except “verdant” is not a word one would use to describe the Valencian countryside. “Dry,” “Arid,” “desert,” — yes, those words work.

And so, when Michael and I realized we’d need to move to a bigger space, we wondered if it was time to end our relationship with this amazing city. And our hunt for our next home began . . .

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