Valencia was an interesting city. In part because of our tour guide. We decided to do a tour at this port as the ship was, seemingly, miles from the city, nevermind, the old city. I think it would have taken us over an hour just to get anywhere and then we’d have all the walking to sight see. Our tour guide was very nice and reminded me of a young Liberace, without the furs and jewels. He seemed very knowledgeable but I believe he thinks Valencia is the centre of the universe.
As we began our tour and were driving through the port he was describing how the port throughout history was the most important port on the Mediterranean. And then we drove by the warehouses and he described how they were the nicest warehouses in Europe. I was beginning to see a pattern. They were good looking buildings and all but it seemed a bit much! And he was only getting started. :) The blue in front of the buildings outlines the pit stops for the F1 race.
Valencia is a city that is not afraid to keep improving and be creative with their architecture. The river that ran through the centre of the city kept flooding so they redirected it but kept the river bed. They then built large gardens, museums, and the opera house. They still have the bridges going over the river bed as well. It really is quite well done. He stopped short of saying the opera house was the best in the world. Instead he said the opera house was second only to the Sydney Opera House. It looked to me like a war helmet.
I did find the new science museum very interesting, reminded me of fossils but with a lot of light.
We worked our way through the city and arrived at the indoor market. Again the best in Europe. I was wondering how they could beat the La Boqueria and was prepared to be amazed. It was a neat, clean market. No vibrancy and everything was sealed in cling film or containers. I’m sure the FDA would approve. In fact I was able to get one picture of food free from any clutches.
I did find the roof of the building to be very pretty.
Next was the silk market. Now this was on my list of things we had to visit. I love silk, the vibrant colours, the feel. I was ready to shop. So imagine my disappointment to find there is no longer a silk market, just the building! I do not like shopping so for me to be ready to shop is a big thing. However, the history of the building was fascinating. Valencia was the end of the silk road and there was a lot of trading that went on. Fortunes made and lost. They painted the spiraling columns green and they painted the ceiling bright blue with the medallions yellow to imitate the sky. That must have been something.
On the way to the cathedral we came across this funny doorway. Never underestimate humans doing their best to stick it to the big man. Apparently there was a rule that you were taxed based on the width of the front of the building. So this gentleman created building with a front only 105 cm wide then it opened wide towards the back like a triangle. So it’s a full sized building. Have to hand it to him!
The cathedral took about 500 years to make as they kept having trouble with funds so it shows many different styles. What took the cake though is the guide said the frescos were the best in Europe! Ahem, Sistine Chapel anyone? Credibility was completely lost at this point. Ah well, we were having fun.
The city used to be surrounded by a massive city wall with great big gates. Because the city likes to continually improve they knocked down all of the walls except two gates. Not sure how much that is an improvement as I like the history of those sort of things but thank goodness they kept some gates. These date I believe back to the 1300′s. They are massive!
After the tour was over they brought us back to the ship but as we had several hours to kill we headed back in on the shuttle bus. Back in the square where the cathedral was we found a shady spot to have tapas. Again it was delicious. I really miss the food!
I’d like to explore Valencia a bit more. There were interesting areas of history. And I’d like to explore all the gardens in the old riverbed.