Did you know that……..
Paella’s origin is in Valencia? Just like, the origin of pizza is in Naples . Just like Catalunya, Valencia also has Autonomy status. Meaning that Valencia has its own parliament, flag and ministries. It is also home for the famous Spanish Tomato fight. People of Valencia speak a Valencian language which is known as the Catalan language in Catalonia.
OUR ARRIVAL AND A STRESSFUL DAY
We have arrived in Valencia North station by train from Barcelona to spend 2 days, and explore the city of Valencia. The train ride took 5 hours from Barcelona Where we had a rush start with running back to the hotel to recover our forgotten deposit of 20 euros for the TV remote control. Then a long 30 minutes walk to Barcelona station. And trouble to find the correct platform for Valencia. Although the train ride was for 5 hours, we had no choice but waiting for about 1.5 hours to find decent seats. The train was almost packed.
The troubles didn’t just stop there. Upon arrival at valencia north station, we went to the customs office to book our Madrid and Seville train seats. Because it was Saturday, the service was not available. And we were told to go either to the other main station of Valencia or to come back on Monday. Darn! So we did return on Monday to make the reservations. More on that later.
After all these dramatic situations, we now had to search for our apartment. And of course, the troubles followed us. We were obliged to make a detour, to receive our apartment keys from the agency office. Then had to walk another 10 minutes to reach our apartment. Where the apartment seemed to be not ready at all. The housekeeper was still there and barely started anything. To be fair, our check-in was at 4 pm. We were there at 3.30 pm. That’s because we were told by the agency that we could go because the apartment was ready. Which was clearly not. To let her finish her job, we decided to drop our baggage and do our groceries. We walked almost halfway through just to realize that our wallet was not with us. We returned, walked back, did our groceries and the apartment was ready when we arrived. Not a bad apartment though. Well occupied. Our only problem was the bed. It was not strong in the middle. Anyway, this was our arrival day. Fun times (NOT!!!)
OUR FIRST FULL DAY IN VALENCIA
Our first full day in Valencia had started with a sunny day with a little bit of foggy ambience. After an ear breakfast at around 9 am, we left our apartment. The neighbourhood was not bad. Although, it had a Ghetto like characters. Narrow streets, graffiti etc.
Our First day in Valencia in Photos (GALLERY).
Our first stop was The Turia Garden or Los Jardines del Turia in Spanish. If you look in the map, the Garden will resemble like a River, but green. One might wonder, why? Because it is used to be a River. Called Turia river. Which was diverted in 1957 after serious flooding. After that, the bed of the river was transformed into a Garden. It is 9 kilometres long. Because of its shape, the Turia Garden is a great place for running, cycling and many other activities. Also, a fantastic place to just relax and to turn your “Zen Mode” on.
We went to the Turia Garden Via Iglesia Del Temple. Which seems like a Church. We were not aware of too many details about it.
Other side of the road, one of the oldest bridge of Ex Turia River turned Turia Garden called Puente De La Trinidad. It is a Baroque style 14th century White and Cream Colored Bridge which was coupled with 2 ancient statues. Because it was sunny and foggy at the same time, therefore the ray of sunshine through the Green tree was a pure joy to witness in the park.
From the Museum of Natural Science of Valencia, we took a nice walk till the Puente De La Exposićion. Which was a pretty modern looking busy and big White-coloured bridge. It was made by the Valencian architect, Santiago Calatrava in 1995.
Then we headed to the Porta De La Mar. Puerta De La Mar means The Door Of the Sea. It was built in 1939 after the Spanish civil war. It’s a memorial to remember those who were perished during the civil war.
Not far, there is a little garden with really big and old trees. The garden’s name is Jardin De La Glorieta. We got out via Plaza Tetuan. The arrived at the Apartment to get some lunch.
After some homecooked lunch, we headed to a famous place. It’s called Torres De Serranos or Serranos Gate in English. We originally wanted to come here first. Usually, every Sunday, entry is free. But the morning was a little chilly and foggy so, we thought it would be a good idea to come here in the afternoon after lunch. This gate is located in the Old Historic City Centre of Valencia.
Torres De Serranos happens to be one of the largest Gothic city gateways in Europe. The Towers were finished in 1391. As we approached the entry door, we noticed that it’s closed. Which came as a surprise and shock. Sunday is free to entry. BUT, at 2 pm it’s closed. Disappointed. Should have come here in the morning instead if we knew earlier!
Rest of the Afternoon, our goal was to explore the Old Historic City Center of Valencia.
What is the Old Historic City centre all about?
Valencia is about 2000 years old. From 130 BC (Before Christ), Valencia has been the home of Romans, Muslims and Visigoths. As a result, Valencia has a rich blend of historic heritages. Arts, Monuments and other Masterpieces from previous civilizations. Palau De La Generalitat within the historic town is one of them. A rectangle-shaped building with a beautiful gothic courtyard. It was built in the 14th century.
Mercado Central or Mercat Central was an interesting one. Because the design of this Public Market was Valencian Art Nouveau. The signature of modern Valencia.
You are wondering, What is Art Nouveau? It is a term for an artistic movement, which was started in the late 19th century and early 20th century in Europe. Different European countries have their own unique styles.
Mercado Central is one of the examples of Valencian Art Nouveau. Which was built in 1924? It was closed so, we didn’t have a chance to visit inside.
Right next to it, Church of Santos Juanes was standing quietly. Which was built in the mid 13th century These particular two buildings are the examples of 2 different eras oh the history of Valencia. Backside of the church, from the corner of Carniceros street, is completely different from the frontside of the Church. I later found out that it was built on a site of a former mosque.
At the end of the narrow street in between the Mercat and the Church, we saw Lonja De la Seda. Another Valencian gothic style church which was built in the mid 15th century. Also, that particular quarter seemed like a busy Touristic place.
From there, we arrived at one of the most popular and busy locations in Valencia. It’s called Plaza De La Reina. Or Queen’s Square. Which, by many, is recommended to be a starting point for exploring Valencia. We had our own approach. This place is home to some of the oldest shops in Valencia. Whole quarter was really busy however with Tourists, cafes, restaurants etc.
Where one of the oldest Churches of Valenciais situated. It’s called Eglise de Santa Catalina. This baroque church with the big tower was built in the early 13th century.
The 12th-century Cathedral of Valencia was not far. Although we didn’t spend a lot of time there. Because it’s busy. And a lot of homeless were sitting there as well.
From there we decided to get back to our apartment. We took the route via Plaza de San Vicente Ferrer. Which also known as La Plaza de Los Patos or the square of ducks in English.
In the late afternoon we were back to our favourite spot of Valencia, Turia Garden. Then we took a long walk to explore this wonderful garden. There was the Palau de la Musica next to a huge fountain which was opened in 1987. There was also a children’s playground not far. But the coolest location of Turia Garden was the City of Arts and Sciences . Or Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias in Spanish. At first glance, we thought we jumped on the time machine to the future. The whole area was designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela. Each of the buildings has unique futuristic shapes.
L’Hemisfèric, for example, is an IMAX Cinema, planetarium and laserium. The building is meant to resemble a giant eye which is situated in the middle of an artificial lake.
Then there was Príncipe Felipe Science Museum. Right in front of it, little kids were playing inside balloons on the water. You can take a little boat to move around as well.
We walked inside The Umbracle which is a Greenhouse garden.
Far-right from there, we saw The Ágora. I do not know what that’s for though.
Palau de Les Arts Reina Sofía which is also an Opera house looked like a giant spaceship. With a pointy nose.
There was Oceanogràfic. Oceanographic is Europe’s biggest aquarium. We didn’t get inside though.
After visiting this amazing location, we thought it was enough. So we thought, it’s time to head back to our apartment.
On the 2nd day…
….we wanted to do some groceries for sandwiches. After that, we finally went to a restaurant to try the speciality of Valencia; Paella. The restaurant was very reasonable. 16 Euros per person for Entry salad, Paella and a dessert. The paella was out of the world. Another one off the bucket list.
Right from there, we went back to Valencia North station to make our high-speed train reservation for Madrid and Seville.
There were 2 counters. One for the daily ticket, one for Advance tickets. We approached the later. Unlike Germany, Austria or Switzerland, Spain is not very Interrail pass Friendly. On top, the gentleman at the counter was not very English friendly. Luckily, Vanessa was awesome with Spanish. So, we made our bookings.
Then, we actually paid attention to the design of the station. The Station is also another example of the Valencian Art Nouveau. It was finished building in 1917.
It was next to the Plaza de Torros. Another example of Art Nouveau. Which actually was inspired by the design of Colosseum of Rome.
Then walked back via Plaza Ajunyament. Which is a plaza with a big fountain and the City Hall Called Ajunyamentos. And several other important buildings. And a post office. Which was built in 1922. The whole area was impressive. The floors in the area had fancy brown marbles.
This was it for our beautiful trip to Valencia. Our next stop is to the capital, Madrid