I remember being on the streets of Valencia with a map in my hand and walking madly leaving my travel companions behind because I only had a few hours to explore the city’s old center before our bus left for Barcelona. I remember being edgy, sullen, and frustrated. Well, you can think of all the synonyms of ‘fuming’ and that’s exactly how I felt.

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I wanted to walk around in the old center of Valencia adored for its cobbled streets, Gothic churches, eclectic stores, and quaint cafes, while my travel companions wanted to sit someplace and kill the few hours left until the bus left. I would stop and watch any street musician performing while others didn’t notice their presence. To them, Valencia was no different than Barcelona.

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Valencia on the day of  ‘Las Fallas’, the festival of fire.What you see in this picture are huge ‘ninots’,which are stuffed with fireworks and set on fire at midnight.

It was maddening; all of us wanted different things. The end result was out shuffling feet and aimless wandering in the city. I felt they were ignorant and they felt I was crazy. Finally, I told my friend that I was off on my own.

Those few hours by myself were the best time I had in Valencia. For 1 euro you can have a hot cappuccino and a croissant, and you walk.

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You see the old cathedrals, pretty balconies, people with their dogs, some mind-blowing graffiti and countless things you could have missed had you been sulking in the company of your travel companions.

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A graffiti wall in Tarragona, on the way to Valencia

I visited a church which had been attracting a huge mass of people. The first time I laid my eyes on the intricate detailing inside, I was in awe and found myself a seat in the pew to take in the art around me. I didn’t realize where the time went by and ended up attending a sermon. On my way out, I found myself in a room where it was eerily quiet; people sat and looked reverently at something on the wall.

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Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Valencia

The wall had a cabinet which contained a chalice, but wait; it couldn’t be that chalice, could it ? Later I found out that the chalice in the church of Valencia was indeed the famous “Holy Grail”, a cup believed to have been used by Jesus Christ at the meal before his death.

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The Santo Caliz,the famous Holy Grail

It still gives me goosebumps when I think I stumbled upon such a huge history artifact by sheer chance, and I know for a fact it wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t escaped.

I think I digressed from the topic a little bit but this is one incident I wanted to share to just make people realize how important it is to choose your travel companions wisely. It’s not necessary to travel with your best friends. Instead, travel with someone who shares the same goal, who has the same items on his bucket list which you have.

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You will find such interesting creatures all over the city

It’s not  necessary to find out the right type of people, but if your interests are aligned you will probably have more fun. For instance, if  you are the party type, travel with those that are up for a good night out. If you are a lover of architecture, travel with someone who is fond of buildings and talks about structures like one talks of a lover. If you want a backpacking holiday while your friend wants to relax around a pool, see the flashing red sign and simply say “No”. In fact, learn to say no.

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                                                                                Streets of Valencia at night

It’s one thing to sit through that rotten movie you never wanted to watch in the first place but your colleagues made you. But it’s an entirely different thing to end up going on a trip and see it get ruined due to individual differences and polar opposite interests. So you end up sulking, reasoning and, imagining a hundred different ways you could torture the other person Ramsey Bolton style.

Ergo. Travel with someone whose mind is on the same frequency as yours. And that’s how my friend you avoid killing your travel companion.

By: Divya Negi