Arts and Science

October 2, 2017 - Valencia, Spain



This morning we relaxed over a good breakfast at the Caro Hotel; Juice, Cereal, Eggs Florentine (or fruit followed by toast and jam, Margaret's preference), and coffee. It is a lovely little dining room built around some of the original Moorish structure. When the Hotel was built they uncovered traces of the original Roman buildings and parts of a later Moorish building. Some of the structure is displayed under a glass floor or exhibited around the building. Our room has four Gothic tiles from the 15th Century displayed on the wall.

After breakfast we walked along the parkland that is in fact the bed of the old river Turia. After serious flooding in 1957 a plan to divert the river was implemented. Completed in 1969 the river now flows to the south of the city and the old river bed has become a long stretch of parkland through the city. The many bike and walking tracks make it popular to walkers, runners, cyclists and the area is full of ponds and gardens. The old and new bridges and the old embankments add to the beauty.

A walk of about 3km along the shady paths and around the various ponds and fountains took us to the 'City of Arts and Sciences'. At El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia we took a guided tour that showed us visions of the external architecture and into two of the four main halls as well as through the lobbies of those halls. The tour also took us into the levels below the building where there are rehearsal rooms, the Centre de Perfeccionament Plácido Domingo which is a vocational training school for high level singers and musicians, as well as technical and storage spaces. Our tour took a bit over an hour but we had to miss one of the other halls as there were auditions happening. There were also rehearsals for the Company's chorus for the upcoming 'Madama Butterfly' and we caught a little of swell of voices as we passed the closed doors.

We continued our walk to Cuitat de les Ciéncies which has large permanent exhibitions of facets of science but is more like a hands-on learning experience for children than a museum exhibit. Our time was mainly spent on the top (third) floor in the section on genetics and chromosomes but we also visited the first floor exhibit on 'Valencia in the environment'. By that stage we had been on our feet for long enough and still had a long walk back to the hotel.

It felt a bit of a trudge as we made our way back but it was still a pleasure to wander in the shade and see the antics of dogs and their walkers, of pedestrians, of cyclists (two, three and four wheeled versions) and also to see kids at football practice and at play. At 6pm we staggered in to the Terrace area at our hotel for a beer before heading up to our room for a very late siesta.

For dinner we walked out to search once more for 'Seu Xerea' just off the Plaza de la Virgen and once more failed to find it. We walked back to a place we saw last night that we thought could be worth a try. It was called 'Saona' and was not only busy but the empty tables all had 'Reservado' on them. After being ignored a few times and almost pushed out of the way (twice) by the waitress and then our place in the line jumped we thought there must be plenty of other places. We walked back to the Plaza and took a table at 'El Petit Bistro Virgen'. The mix of languages was weird but the food and wine was good and the waiter looked after us well once he had settled us down.

Tonight we settled for a bottle of Rioja, some bread, Ensalada Valencian (with leafy greens, tomatoes, boiled eggs and tuna) and nachos (which was a bowl of corn chips with a tangy chilli dip and a guacamole dip). A cup of coffee to finish and we were very happy with the meal. After last night we thought we should eat something lighter at such a late stage of the evening.



A medieval bridge across the River Turia
Palau de Musica Valencia
Giant figure in a pond along the Turia Gardens
View from El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia
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