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Hemisphere in foreground & Opera house behind

Valencia 2005

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We enjoyed our short visit to Valencia on the Spanish coast. As usual we booked everything on line & it all went without a hitch due to luck? I had wanted to visit Valencia for sometime after seeing a program about the architecture of Santiago Calatrava. What Gaudi did for Barcelona Calatrava does for Valencia? See L'Hemisphere, & opera house above. Worth a look after dark also as it's lit up & you see reflections in the water. You will see these buildings in the back ground in many car and fashion shoots.

We flew into Valencia airport on a Monday evening & took the "Aerobús" into town. We got off at the main train station & decided to walk to our hotel the Silken Puerta which is near the City of Arts & Sciences. The hotel is only a couple of years old & was fine. J did think that a 4 star hotel should have a gym, but other than that you could not fault them. We had booked B&B & the breakfast buffet was good.

L'UmbracleScience museumTuesday morning we set off on foot for the City of Arts & Sciences. After looking around & being impressed by the architecture of the L'Hemisphere (see picture at top of page), Opera house (ditto), "L'Umbracle", science museum... We went into the science museum where we spent a couple of interesting hours having a go at loads of hands on stuff. We then went to the nearby L'Oceanografic or oceanarium for the rest of the afternoon. Highlight of which was the dolphin show. Not sure why they play music into the grounds? Hearing Sting's "Englishman in New York" several times in a couple of hours seamed a bit odd in a Spanish oceanarium. BTW It is also possibly my least favourite Sting or Police song. On the left are pictures of the "L'Umbracle" & inside the science museum.

Wednesday began with a walk along the Turia gardens to the fine art museum. It has a good collection mainly of old religious art. We then went to the IVAM or modern art museum. Some of the works here we enjoyed although some of it was not to our taste as is often the case with modern "art." We did enjoy the frogmen on the outside of the building. We finished the day with a visit to the nearby Botanic garden. Not much was in flower but it was still a pleasant place to visit.

Plaza RedondaColón marketThursday morning we checked out of the hotel & walked to the train station where we left our bags for the day. On the way we found the Colón market (see picture near right) which has been restored like a mini Covent garden. The train station is well worth a look. The outside is nice but the interior is very eye catching. We then headed to the central market where the usual mouth watering Mediterranean foods were on offer. Across the road we visited La Lonja or the 16th century silk exchange with it's spiral columns. We visited a number of squares including an unusual round one I.E. Plaza Redonda (see picture on right) which contains various shops selling clothes, ceramics, work ware, needlecraft supplies... We visited several churches & the cathedral. We rambled through the old town sometimes with a goal in mind & sometimes just waiting to see what was around the next corner. We then collected our bags from the station & caught the Aerobús back to the airport for our journey home.

All in all I recommend Valencia for a short break. It has several smaller museums we didn't have the time or perhaps the interest to visit. It has a fine football team & a couple of beaches only a short tram or taxi ride away. In 2007 they are hosting the 32nd America's Cup yacht races. There's a race track that hosts MotoGP not far away... If like us you have already "done" Barcelona & enjoyed it then you will like Valencia.

I've loaded a few more photo's here.


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Links

I can't be responsible for the content of these sites

We flew with easyJet

We left our car with Pink Elephant at London Stansted Airport

We went to the City of Arts & Sciences

Official Valencia website

Un-official but quite good Valencia guide

Simply Valencia guide

Renfe the Spanish railway network runs to Estación del Norde

Public transport, buses, trams, metro... The Aerobús was 2.5 euros each each way (in 2005.) Follow the blue & white arrows on the floor of the terminal building to find it & you pay the driver. We didn't try any of the other buses, trams, or the metro but I think you can pay by journey or for a day, 2 or 3 days unlimited transport?

Valencia or Manises Airport is the same place

Hotel Silken Puerta which we booked through the easyJet website but the booking came through from Hotelopia

Colón market

Central market

Fine Art Museum

IVAM Valencian Institute of Modern Art

Botanic garden

Santiago Calatrava website

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