Valencia was the first out-of-Alicante trip that the Spanish Studies Abroad program made. It's about two hours from Alicante, and they chartered a bus to take us there.
The above photo is a panorama I took of the "City of Arts and Sciences," a relatively new addition to the City. It's a large photo and quite interesting, so please do full-view.
The City of Arts and Sciences is based on a lot of new age-y ideas, like including pools and gardens wherever possible. There's an enormous pool for various water activities:
I don't think you can swim or anything, but there are kayaks and...let's look closer at those clear orbs...could it be...
You can actually go INSIDE those orbs and roll around in the water. It looks super fun. Would be even more so if they weren't tethered to the side of the pool, but I guess you can't have everything.
Among other things nearby was this expansive garden area.
Now, I am perversely amused by things that were planned out carefully with some idealistic notion, but then failed miserably. Do you see those white lattices above the garden? They're supposed to be covered by ivy, sort of a green source of shade. But they don't look very covered, do they? Let's see, after ten years, just how much HAS grown in...?
Oh...that's not very much ivy. Oops. Well, I guess we'll just stick with the bare lattice for now. I mean...for the next two hundred years. Oopsies.
For some reason the City of Arts and Sciences also really liked these slightly terrifying octopus-sucker-looking things:
The next stop was a cathedral in the center of Valencia (whose name I can't remember right now). It's got a claim to fame too: this is the very cathedral in which resides the legendary...
No, wait I mean the real one.
Yep, that gold blur in the center in the cup that Jesus supposedly drank out of at the Last Supper...which would be a whole lot more impressive if there weren't three other holy grails in the possession of other cathedrals. Well, one of them must be real. Unless, of course, they're not. I have no doubt that it's as old as they say, and that someone drank out of it at some time, but Jesus? Hrm.
The cathedral also had this super cool withered arm from some saint who died a long time ago:
I enjoy religious artifacts. It's not that I believe their biblical provenance, even though they may be as old as they say, it's that there's something ludicrous about believing that someone had the foresight to hold onto Jesus' cup or the...er...arm of a dead guy just in case they might be famous someday. Whatever.
The cathedral visit was followed shortly with a lunch break during which our group was permitted to go off on our own to explore. Most stuff was closed for siesta (and let me say, there's a REASON the Spanish have siesta...it was freaking HOT), but I spotted some quirky artwork and stuff.
|ahorra agua, bebe vino = Save water, drink wine|
Wanting to cool off a little, my companion and I went to an outdoor restaurant and I ordered the local beer.
It was awful, by the way. Cool art, bad taste.
Finally we visited the Museum of Fine Arts, which I didn't photograph, then boarded the bus back to Alicante. Arriving home late, I was tired and hungry and starting to catch a cold. So I spent the rest of the weekend sleeping and feeling miserable and trying to avoid my host mother's grandchildren. Needless to say, I'm not sure I have the best judgement when I am sick and sleep-deprived. To escape from the noise in my host mother's apartment (due to the grandkids), I dragged myself to a nearby park and fell asleep behind a plant until lunchtime. At least later I had the sense to just lock my door and sleep in bed.
That's all I did in Valencia! I'm still hoping to go back there before I leave, but we will see. There are other places I want to go too.
Next time: Castillo de Santa Bárbara