Thursday, 18 November 2010

Some contemporary Spanish culture - Valencia

We've had quite a different experience in Valencia -- less history and more contemporary culture. That is, aside from ducking into a most impressive basilica/cathedral, which supposedly is home to the holy grail, in this case a gold chalice encased in glass . . . It also has a dried up hand on display as a saint's relic . . . eew.

The two highlights for me were experiencing the Mercado Central -- a massive indoor fresh produce market, housed in an impressive old skylit market building and bursting with fresh meat, fish, fruit and veg, nuts, cheese etc. I bought nuts (almonds, cashews, hazelnuts) and dried fruit (raspberries, cranberries and apricots) and a little baked cheesecake, which I later ate on the bus. For lunch we ate paella (originating from Valencia) from a street stall near the market.

We spent the afternoon in the massive complex known as Ciudad de las artes y las ciencias (City of arts and sciences), which comprises an aquarium/oceanic centre (sharks, penguins, many types of fish from many different climates, dolphins, mating walruses), interactive science museum (complete with star trek exhibition), Imax theatre complex, plus some other stuff. The complex is architecturally very impressive, with all the buildings now landmarks of Valencia, and has been built in what used to be a river bed. (As the result of a 1957 flood, the river was drained and diverted, and the original river bed is now an extensive parkland and recreational reserve bisecting the city.)

moon rising over the city of art and sciences, Valencia

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