Alicia Vilanova Quilis, Operations & Product Executive Valencia
Why are you a Valencia Local?
I’m 100% local; I speak the language and know the city, farms, outskirts, Las Fallas history and how to make a real Paella (pie-eh-ya). My entire family is from Valencia – I was born here and raised according to Valencian traditions and culture. I know every corner of this city and the surrounding countryside and now live in Ayora, which feels like a real Valencian “barrio” (neighborhood).
What are your first memories of Valencia?
I have a very clear picture of myself walking with my grandparents along the beach promenade. Just that memory makes me smile. I also remember going with my father to Plaza Redonda, a very peculiar commercial square with plenty of small stalls selling everything you can imagine, from fashion to food of all kinds.
What do you love about Valencia?
The Mediterranean weather is wonderful, with sun almost the entire year and very little rain – even in the winter it feels like a sunny spring day. We are also well positioned, with beautiful beaches on the Mediterranean Sea and mountains just a short journey from the city. The relatively small size of Valencia creates a unique contrast, with architecture from the 16th & 17th centuries just minutes from the City of Arts & Sciences, a unique modern complex devoted to scientific and cultural education.
Do you know any local legends?
The farmers from the countryside are local legends, like my grandparents. One of them had his tomato field almost on the beach – something that today is unimaginable – while another used to ride his horse through the center of Valencia selling his homegrown vegetables.
What will you smell, see and hear in Valencia?
During spring you’ll smell the almond trees in blossom, a sweet and fresh aroma swept into the city by the sea breeze. As autumn arrives, inhale the citrus smell of the orange season – we locals say that Valencia is the color of an orange, especially at sunset. For a real rush of the senses you have to be in Valencia during Las Fallas, a traditional celebration of Saint Joseph that brings the population out into the streets amidst the smell of gunpowder and thunderous sound of firecrackers – it is just unforgettable and you will be addicted to the experience!
Tell us about your role at Intercruises…
I started in a part time staff role and instantly loved the regular contact with people and multicultural surrounding. I also like that dynamic feeling in my daily job; whether at the pier or in the office, every day is different. I previously worked onboard, so understand the challenges the shorex team faces and this motivates me to make things as smooth and easy as possible for them, whilst providing a personal and caring touch for our guests – there is no better reward than satisfied guests after their visit to Valencia. Also, it is the challenges you overcome – despite what I say about Valencia weather, last year we had three days of heavy rain and our office got flooded during high season……and cruise ships can’t wait, so we had some long days at the pier and office!
Any new experiences to offer guests in Valencia?
I’m constantly looking for new things to do and bring guests closer to our traditions, “behind the scenes”, or show them the hidden corners of my city. Recently we developed a new Las Fallas excursion, where guests meet a Fallas artist at his atelier, access the city hall balcony (usually restricted to politicians), and witness how a Fallera (the Fallas queens) gets ready the special week of Las Fallas.
What is the future?
Never say never, but I am quite sure that I’ll be living where I do currently – actually that’s what I want; I have everything I need around me. Tourism is increasing in the city every year through the constant appeal of nice weather and great food – I want to continue my involvement in this area, creating WOW-experiences for guests in my city.
For more information on Intercruises operations
in Valencia, contact Alicia: firstname.lastname@example.org