The Jewel of Valencia

Before I start my post on New Valencia, I want to put a little disclaimer – it’ll definitely help with the confusion that I had with all the names of places in Valencia. Apparently, Catalán, a romance language famously known for being spoken in Barcelona, is also spoken/written/used in Valencia too. So, all of the names of the buildings are in Catalán, not Spanish.

What I personally felt was so wonderful about Valencia was the beautiful juxtaposition between old Valencia and new Valencia. The old part, as you saw before had architecture that you would typically associate as being “old” with cathedrals and towers and plazas, but La Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències or the City of Arts and Sciences, according to my trusty old friend, Wikipedia, “is the most important modern tourist destination in the city of Valencia”. Apparently nobody likes old things.. how sad. These series of buildings where designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela and the project took 2 years to complete. Pretty impressive.

Anyway, I started off the day with a hearty breakfast to energize my body and soul – a napolitana de chocolate aka a chocolate croissant WITH chocolate sprinkles!!!Fat kid strikes again! I inhaled this thing; I don’t even remember what it tasted like. The minute I saw the chocolate sprinkles and warm chocolate inside the buttery warm freshly baked croissant, I temporarily lost consciousness. All I know is my tummy was very happy after I regained my senses. 390237874 calories later, I was walking along the River Turia, which has now been transformed into a park, I began to see glimpses of something sleek and my heart started racing with excitement. I guess new is better… sometimes. Finally, I arrived at my destination and all I could do was stare! It was so shiny and new and nice and clean and beautiful and intriguing. Needless to say, my brain was getting more exercise than it was used to. Poor poor dumb brain. The first thing to come into view was El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, or the Palace of the Arts of Reina Sofia and interestingly enough, this is the latest edition to the City of Arts and Sciences and was completed in 2005.

An opera house and performing arts center. Looks a bit like a trojan helmet, no? I think that’s why this building was so impressionable for me. I can’t explain what about it I like aside from being aesthetically pleasing. I think it’s the quiet majesty of it that makes me realize that our human minds are capable of creating something so extraordinary and that is what leaves me speechless.

The next thing you will see is L’HemisfèricThe inspiration from this building comes from the human eye which is better seen at night when it reflects off the water. Here is a picture I found online:Inside of L’Hemisfèric is an IMAX theater, a planetarium, and a laserium (whatever that means).A combined view of the two buildings

My final stop was at El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe, the science museum in the City of Arts and Science. Inside, the museum is like any other large science museum, so if you want to save money then I would suggest not paying to see the museum. You can still enter and buy souvenirs or use the restrooms.One of my favorite things in the museum. I love change and everything about it – as Gandhi said: “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. I’m pretty sure they were talking about environmental changes (duhh) but still, his words of wisdom were going through my head as I saw this and I loved that it was there because it reminds me of the significance of every individual.

There are more buildings in the City of Arts and Sciences and more places to explore within it, but unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to explore everything. Pictures definitely don’t do this place justice, because it’s not just visually stunning, but something about the ambience has a powerful impact on the experience.

Finally, as I was walking back to my hostel, I saw el Parque Gulliver which is an architecturally designed playground. It is based on Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels and is located in the River Turia.

And the Palau de la Música, also located inside the River Turia.Overall, my weekend getaway was just the thing I needed before officially starting school in Madrid. Valencia is a wonderful place with so much to offer and I’m glad I was able to go alone and away from the capital. I’m excited for my next trip at the end of October to ….. you’ll have to wait and see!!

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