Visit Peniscola, the fortified seaport, established by the Knights Templar. Guided tour of Valencia.
11.07.2016 - 11.07.2016 38 °C
Hotel - Hospes Palau De La Mar, Navarro Reverter, 14, Valencia - Room 207
Up at 6.30 am, bags packed and down for our last breakfast in Barcelona, and on the bus by 8.45 am for the drive to Valencia.
We drove through dry and barren countryside but as soon as the bus starts rocking, we all nod off. Poor Isabel - she desperately wants to tell us about our environment, but all we do is sleep.
So, we arrive at Pensicola on the coast for our lunch break. Pensicola is a municipality in the province of Castellon, Valencian Community, Spain. The town is located on the Costa del Azahar, north of the Serra d'Irta along the Mediterranean coast. It was originally established by the Knights Templar and the present castle was built between 1294 and 1307. The movie El Cid was partially filmed here. The area reminds me very much of our visits to Greek Islands, but I suppose after all, we are in the Mediterranean.
It's hot but we walked up to the top of the castle and enjoyed the lovely views out to sea. The way down is quite steep on shiny cobble stones which could become quite slippery if you weren't careful. We took Isabel's advice and had a fish lunch in a cafe at the bottom of the hill. It was very fresh, caught that morning, but we don't know what kind it was and there was no price on it, so I think we paid through the nose for it. They have no idea how good our seafood is in Australia, but this was fresh and tasty, albeit on the small side. It's hot, and we were all glad to get back on the cool bus and snooze our way to Valencia.
Isabel has told us that while we are in Valencia, wherever we can we must have fresh orange juice. We will.
We arrived at the hotel and checked in. It is very nice and up to the "Scenic" Standard. In our room we have a bottle of dessert wine and chocolates. Mmmmmm, very nice. On our way back to the bus for a visit to The City of Arts and Sciences, I checked with Reception that the wine and chocolates were in fact, meant for us. They told me that our room was a "no show" last night, so yes, the wine and chocolates were for us, but don't tell the others, because they didn't get any. Okay - Mum's the word!
(We didn't get time to drink the wine, so I am carrying it with us until we have more time to relax and enjoy it. The next few days are going to be very busy).
The City of Arts and Sciences is like our Questacon in Canberra - a hands on science museum where children and adults MUST touch and interact with the exhibits. Valencia didn't have much to attract tourists and it was designed by the architect Santiago Calatrava, who is very well known in this area for his eye catching, but weirdly designed buildings, which sometimes are not very practical and hard to clean and maintain. The job of cleaning the windows in the building we were in would be massive. Construction of the complex commenced in 1996 and is situated in a 2 km long area of the old Turia River bed.
There are four main buildings. L'Hemisferic is a planetarium and a huge IMAX cinema showing science and geography related documentaries.
Museo de las Ciencias Principe Felipe is a science museum containing exhibitions of the latest in high technology.
L'Oceagrafic is an underwater world where you walk through tunnels with sharks and fish swimming around you.
Palacio de las Artes consists of auditoriums for plays, opera and music.
The exhibitions were fascinating and probably pitched more at adults than kids, in the sections we were in.
This is a "sculpture" of DNA sitting on top of a mirror, so it gives the effect of going on for ever and ever.
These huge buildings are rented out for all sorts of functions too.
Walking tour of Valencia. Apparently the Holy Grail has been here since the 14th century. There are a few claims all over the world that churches have the Holy Grail but it is thought that this really is the one. We couldn't go in to see it because we were in the cathedral quite late and that section that contains the Holy Grail was closed.
Valencia used to have a river running through the centre of the city and it used to flood terribly and cause an awful lot of damage. The "powers that be" decided to dry it up and redirect it and now that area in the centre of the city is lovely parkland and areas where outdoor concerts are held in summer.
One of the recent mayors changed all the city pavements to marble. Nice to look at but terribly dangerous when they get wet.
Isabel, our guide, recommended a restuarant that boasts the most traditional Paella in town. Paella originates from Valencia, so with map in hand and several instructions on how to get there from Isabel and the hotel reception off we set. It is really hot and we had to walk across the bridge over the dried up river to find the restaurant. It wasn't obvious and after asking for directions from several people, we finally found it and ordered a seafood paella.
It came to our table in a huge iron pan and was spread quite thinly over the bottom and the waiter explained that it was good when it caramelised on the base and he scraped it off and served it. It was very delicious. Instead of having a sangria, I had another red wine drink that the Spaniards drink in summer - red wine, lemonade and ice. Very nice and refreshing.
Into bed as we are off to Granada tomorrow. Late nights and no time for blogging!