Monday, April 14, 2014

Valencia- an overview

So after just 4 days here in Valencia, we believe we have found a city we could live in- much like Portland, Oregon!  It has everything: great buildings, great food, great people, great museums, great public spaces.  So here is an overview for your viewing pleasure:

Valencia has the Mercado Central- Central Market.  Much like the Boqueria in Barcelona, only bigger, better, and less crowded.  You need cookies, vegetables, meat, fish, flowers, it is here!  We came here a couple times to buy rolls, ham and cheese and fruit for lunch...and of course pastries:-)
 (above) Rich in the middle of the marker
(below) Nothing says a family dinner like roast pig head and broasted hooves! 

Valencia built the MOST amazing Art and Science complex we have ever seen!  It is truly an architectural marvel you have to see to believe.  I am only posting a couple photos because you could have hundreds and it still not capture how awesome it is.  Plus, the art is incredible, we understand the science center is great- we did not go into it.  It also has an aquarium, which we did go into, and an Imax theater, which we saw a documentary on the search for the origin of the Nile- it was amazing! The complex itself is incredibly huge!  It covers a couple city blocks.
 This is a covered walkway for the entire complex- both a walkway and park, with benches for sitting to rest or to enjoy the absolute beauty!
 Rich at one of the many large ponds.  On the left is the science complex, and in the background is a large auditorium.  The ponds are so large, you can rent boats or those giant balloons children get into and roll around water in.
 The Aquarium- it is really a large area and has Baluga Whales, walrus, a Mediterranean Sea complex, a tropical complex, and a California Coast complex, oddly enough.  It also has the longest aquarium tunnel- where you walk thru an entire aquarium, with fish swimming all around you.  The only thing: do NOT go to the dolphin show.  Whoever put that boring-ass thing together should be shot.  I was so bored, I pictured the dolphins turning into zombies and eating the trainers!
 This giant sea monster jumped out of the aquarium and almost ate Rich!!!  Good thing I have him well-insured!

Valencia has a great, long beach!  It is far larger than we thought- both in length, and depth.  And the water is really blue.  We spent today walking it.  The sand is fine, like flour!  Perfect for walking along and collecting shells.
 Of course we got hungry and HAD to eat paella, which was started here in Valencia!  So we had Paella Valenciano, made with chicken and rabbit (I know, its sad because rabbits are so cute, but that wascally wabbit was delicious!!).  The only issue- they tossed in a couple snails!  UGH!  I took those things out as fast as I could!
And of course I had to try a Red Martini- made with vermouth.  As recommended by my Camino Amigo Ivan from Asturias (Spain).  Very good!

As I had written in a Facebook post, many years ago, Valencia got tired of the river flooding the old town, so they re-routed it.  Yes, re-routed it,meaning they changed its course.  Amazing, isn't it!  Of course they then had this dry river bed with lots of great bridges.  And of course the rock walls that all European cities built to contain their rivers.  So what could they do?  Why- they have this awesome park that runs the length of their city!!!!  The park has tons of trees, running and walking and biking trails, soccer fields, play grounds, restaurants, picnic areas, and it is beautiful!  And in much of it you can see the old town.  Truly, it is a great public space.  On one end, the zoo, on the other end, the art and science complex.  No real pictures, because no one wants to see a picture of a park, but: 
 As we were walking, we looked up and saw this great view of roof tops.  Just thought is was beautiful!
Here is another picture from the walking trail.

But of course, the night belongs to Valencia!  One thing we noticed when we climbed the bell tower was that roof tops we often domes of tiles that shimmered different colors in the sunlight.  But- the city really does belong to the night- they way the city lights the monuments and buildings and squares is just amazing!  Plus all the interesting building tops prove a dramatic night time scene!
 Rich in the Plaza de la Ajuntamiento (city square) with city hall in the background!
 The science and art center at sunset!
 The original city gates at sundown!
The cathedral late in the evening, the public square is well lit, and flood lights on the buildings illuminate their beauty!

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