A day in the bold and beautiful Valencia
Valencia, almost forgotten sister amongst the shine of Barcelona and Madrid, provides a harmoniously combination of the remnants of its farthest past, with the most innovative and experimenting structure from the current era. It is a sort of laid back city which offers a Roman past harboured in its down-town area and the advanced massive architectural project called The City of Arts and Sciences.
This city was in the midst of my travel and I used it to relax and while I explored this city. It was easy to visit the down-town area as I had already purchased the unlimited metro and bus pass. My host helped me with the areas to visit and how to reach there. Home stay was certainly proving to be a good choice. The down-town area boasts of the Gothic architectural buildings and cathedrals with a lot to discover by walking or cycling. It is easy to rent a cycle and roam around in city, but I preferred to walk. There was the famous Valencia Cathedral, The Barri del Carme neighbourhood, The Mercat Central and a labyrinth of streets all displaying Spanish-style buildings with large balconies and windows.
There were a good number of restaurants where I enjoyed mouth-watering cuisines when I got a bit tired of walking. It was a good way to relax and engage in a chat with locals and other tourists while I enjoyed the beauty of Valencia. Certainly, Spain was proving to be an amazing place when it comes to food and I could easily find lot of vegetarian options in the country. I'll cover it separatly in another post on how to find good vegetarian options in Spain.
After roaming and admiring the gothic buildings and cathedrals a bit, I decided to make my way to the City of Arts and Science. There was always something different to explore at every place I visited as I made my way to the City of Arts and Science. It was a marvel to see the massive structures in this place. One will find a Science Museum, a Planetarium, an IMAX cinema, an Aquarium and, the Arts Museum. It was more than I could ask for as my next 4 - 5 hours went in to explore and enjoy all that lay ahead of me.
The best parts about the entire project were an IMAX Cinema, planetarium and laserium which resemble a giant eye. The design resembles an eyelid that opens to the surrounding water pool. Other amazing areas in the project involved a landscaped walk with plant species indigenous to Valencia, a covered plaza for concerts and sporting events, an opera house and performing arts center, an interactive museum of science that resembles the skeleton of a whale. There was a small café and sitting area where a stage was set for some performance near the pool. Walking inside the city surrounded by the glass façade buildings with unique structure made me feel as if I have travelled to a future city.
But what I enjoyed a lot was an open-air Europe’s largest oceanographic park. Every building inside the structure represents different aquatic environments. There was so much to explore and learn about the habitat of different marine species including dolphins, belugas, sawfish, jellyfish, starfish etc.
Later, I sat near one of the pools, interacted with locals, took pictures of them and enjoyed the beauty of this place.
Before I left Valencia, I had a nice talk with my host and we discussed a lot about the culture in India and that in Valencia, about people and their perception about studies, the job scenario etc. Our interaction made me realize that there is a lot that the world doesn't know about India and a lot we don't know about the world as he explained me the way of living and working scenario there. I soon bid them farewell as I reached the train station for my next destination.
It was a short visit to Valencia as there is so much to see in this beautiful city. I couldn’t cover La Tomatina which is held in the neighboring Bunol and I vowed to come back for this. As I was waiting for my train, I watched people who had come to see off their loved ones and not ready to let them go. I also wished if someone could stop me to this city to spend some more time but I did not have that luxury. But the thought of train travel and my next destination kept my spirits high.