Valencia was one of my favorite ports on this trip. We saw sooo much in just one day that it is going to be tough to cram it all into this post. But before we get to the pictures and the descriptions, let’s talk about the name Valencia. I learned that the ‘c’ in the word is pronounced as ‘th’, so the name is pronounced Valenthia. We have a daughter named Alicia and we should have been calling her Alithia for the last 36 yeas. Who knew?
The featured image is of the planetarium built in the park that used to be the river Turia. The river was diverted after the great flood in October of 1957 and a green space was created though the center of the city. The water in front of the planetarium is not the river, but a reflecting pool. When the water is calm and you look from directly in front of the building, everything is reflected perfectly, and the planetarium building looks like a human eye with the planetarium itself being iris. Here is the picture:
If you want to see a reflected image, try this link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_Arts_and_Sciences#/media/File:El_Hemisf%C3%A9rico,_Ciudad_de_las_Artes_y_las_Ciencias,_Valencia,_Espa%C3%B1a,_2014-06-29,_DD_71.JPG It is absolutely stunning!
Right next door is the science museum pictured below:
On the other side of the planetarium is the Opera house pictured below. It is called Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia:
From this awesome start we went to Museu Faller (the Museum of Fire) where the winning statues from each years festival of fire are recreated. Every March, the city builds dozens and dozens of papier-mâché statues that are carried around the city, and on the last night they are all burned in Las Fallas (the fires). Each year, one statue is selected as the best of that year, and a smaller recreation is stored in this museum. Many of the statues are political in nature and the people love to burn them to symbolically get rid of the politicians and the politics. Here are a few examples of the winners from the museum:
Below is a photo of a poster from the 1945 festival that helps grasp the intent of this annual festival:
On our way to our next stop, Metropolitan Cathedral–Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady of Valencia, we went past the Valencia Coliseum that was built in the mid 1800’s to resemble the coliseum in Rome. It was built to house the Valencia bull fights. I snapped a quick picture from the bus that did not turn out too bad:
Here are a few shots from the Cathedral:
This was the home of the House of Borgia from where the “Borja’s” moved on to be popes in Rome. Here is a picture of one of the Borgia Popes from the right hand side of the entrance:
Inside the church is housed what some Catholics think is the actual holy grail. It was too difficult to photograph in the low lighting from a significant distance away. The chalice was last used in a service by Pope Benedict the XVI in July of 2009.
Here are a few pictures from inside the church:
I apologize for these low light, long exposure, hand held shots. We were not allowed to use a flash (although many in the group ignored these instructions – quite maddening).
I want to back up just a little. We actually went to the Central Market in Valencia before the cathedral. This covered market in the heart of old town Valencia was just unbelievable. The fresh produce, meats, nuts, cheeses, coffee stands, and fish market were like living in a dream. I wish we had this market nearby. Here are just a few shots:
Here is a picture of the dome high over the center of the market:
Just outside of the central market is the Silk Market, built in the 15th century at the height of Valencia’s trading power in the Mediterranean. Here is the front of the building, which looks like a gothic castle:
Next is a view from the “Courtyard of Orange Trees” at the heart of the building:
Above the steps leading up on the left of the picture above is a gargoyle of a sinful lady. The point of the gargoyles is to keep evil out of the building. We will see some additional gargoyles on subsequent days.
Those steps lead into the Consulate of the Sea (Consulado del Mar) which held the famous Trades Tribunal:
I hope I am not wearing you out with all of this content. As I said, it was quite a tour. I cannot leave you, however, without showing you some artwork painted on the side of a building outside of the silk market. It is quite striking:
Famous cabaret actress Rosita Amores is standing in a pan used to cook Valencia’s famous Paella. The painting must be thirty feet high and forty feet wide on the blank side of a small building.
Finally, here is a picture of the gate on the north side of the city facing toward the heart of Spain. It was part of the wall protecting the city from being sacked:
All comments are welcome. Let me know if this is too much for one blog entry or if I can fill in any additional information about each city as we go through this travel blog. In any case, I hope you enjoyed Day 2 of our Cruise around Spain.