Have you ever wondered how locals immediately detect that you are a guiri*?
These fundamental tips will help you to be less of a foreigner by mingling in faster with the locals in Valencia.
1. Become more flexible with your plans in general (as most Valencianos are) – especially when it comes to informal leisure activities. Say you will come to a party or confirm you’ll attend some leisure event, but if anything changes – don’t worry, just say something like “se me ha complicado la cosa, no voy a poder ir, que lo pases bien”.** Being on time is not your priority either – as everything tends to start later than planned, it’s actually not convenient to arrive on time, and everybody knows that.
2. Drive like locals – don’t be too slow when driving and make sure you start driving just before the red light changes when stationary. Start rolling slowly while it’s still red so as not to miss your opportunity. If there’s a car in front of you that takes more than a second to start driving after it’s turned green – cheer the driver on with friendly beep. Also, at smaller intersections and when the traffic is not busy, jumping a red light is ok if you do it with common sense. Oh, and follow the mainstream – don’t use indicators when changing lanes.
3. Park like locals – better start learning the art of parking, as you will definitely need these skills in Valencia. The first step to integrate is to stop worrying about scratches on your car that will soon appear anyway when you leave it on the street (remember – cars are for moving around!). This is inevitable anyway – there isn’t much space left between cars, and if necessary it’s quite practical and acceptable to bump into other cars gently just to fit in. Also, double parking (doble fila) makes everything much more fun – it’s advisable to leave the gear stick in neutral so other drivers can push your car back and forth as necessary.
4. Have paella at the weekends – recommendable for Sunday lunch! If you order it for dinner or during the week, people will immediately know you’re not from here. Also, make sure you know the variations of paella (the main ingredients, if adding snails is traditional or not, etc.), and please do not mix paella up with something with rice (like arroz al horno)!
5. Forget about wine when going out for drinks. No one expects you to be a wine expert, but… you should have wine with lunch or dinner (or at least with some tapas), but when going out to have a drink – do not order wine! To blend in more effectively, choose beer or if it’s later at night or before going to a club – order a long drink (cubata).
6. Do not wear flip-flops until May 40th. I know – this is probably the hardest of them all, but if you don’t want to stick out among the locals, hold back and wear normal shoes. Valencians say “Hasta el 40 de mayo no te quites el sayo”, meaning that until June 10th you shouldn’t put your winter clothes away as the weather can change easily, so be like them – and wait till the real summer starts!
Do you agree with our list? Please let us know in the comment section bellow! And if you share this with your friends who are visiting Valencia, they might be forever grateful!
** Something has just happened and I won’t be able to attend, I hope you have fun