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Valencia – Something Old, New, and Beachy

June 7, 2011 by Chelsea Slone

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Valencia, located on Spain’s eastern Mediterranean cost and is the third largest city in Spain. In some ways Valencia is the locals Barcelona with a little bit of everything to offer with the laid back beach scene, historic old quarter, and modern City of the Arts and Science. Valencia a perfect place to see Spanish culture in all the different ways Spain has it to offer. Thank goodness for the diversity, because our beach plans quickly changed with the cold front hit during our visit!


The historic Old Quarter of Valencia is a quaint little area with fresh food markets, narrow streets, and museums you could wander around in for days. While we were in this area one of the most fascinating places we visited was the Cathedral of Valencia in the Plaza de Santa Catalina. The Cathedral contains Sala Capitular, the oldest museum in the city, which holds the Holy Chalice. This chalice, the Holy Grail, is said to be the official chalice used by Christ on the Last Supper.



(And he took a cup and when he had given thanks he gave it to them saying ‘Drink this, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.’ Matthew 26:27)

The City of Arts and Science is a modern educational and entertainment architectural complex designed by Santiago Calatrava and Felix Candela. Whether you visit the inside of the complex or just make a visit to see the outside it is worth the trip there. The architectural design is a true masterpiece, amongst the best I’ve ever seen. The complex is made up of several different buildings. The L’Hemisferic is an IMAX cinema, Planetarium, and Laserium built in the shape of the eye. El Museu de les Ciencies Principe Felipe is an interactive museum of science built in a way to resemble the skeleton of a whale. L’Umbracle is a landscaped walk with plant species indigenous to Valencia. It harbors an outdoor art gallery with sculptures from contemporary artists. L’Oceanographic is an open air oceanographic park, and also the most visited building within the complex. It is the largest oceanographic aquarium is Europe with 110,000 square meters and 42 million liters of water. The structure was built in the shape of a water lilly. The El Puente de l’Assut de l’Or is the bridge that connects the the south side with Minorca Street, whose 125 meters high pillar is the highest point in the city. This bridge reminded us very much of the Punte Mujer bride in Buenos Aires, Argentina.





The traditional Spanish dish of Valencia is said to be “paella”. Making paella is Valencia is a local pride. It was originally considered to be a laborers’ meal, cooked over am open fire in the fields and eaten directly from the pan using wooden spoons. Snails were the most commonly used meat for their inexpensive price, and duck or rabbit was used on special occasions, and the well off would use chicken. Today paella is still a very popular dish, at which ever mother claims to be the best. Tourists will pay wild prices for a taste of this delish dish, but the locals make this inexpensive dish at home and serve it for days because the leftovers are often better than the night it was prepared. The hot rice dish consists of rice, vegetable, meat or seafood, beans, and seasonings including saffron. If you want my opinion it’s tastes like saffron rice from the package with some meat and veggies, served in a hot skillet… Yummy!


Valencia was a great non touristy place to visit in Spain. Even though we were unable to have the beach time we had hoped for it was still a wonderful place to spend time in, considering the beach is only one of the many things to see and do in this great Spanish city. Plus exploring the local markets, and seeing the Holy Chalice were things we might have not taken the time to do if we had been laying on the beach. =) Now it’s time to say goodbye to Valencia as we head off to visit the cobblestone filled streets of Seville, Spain.

Ciao,

T+C

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One thought on “Valencia – Something Old, New, and Beachy

  1. WOW, that IMAX complex is awesome! Such beautiful pictures, Tyler! I feel sorry for you two trying to pic out which 1000 you’ll frame when you get back :) 

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