So, WizzAir postponed our flight to the Canary Islands and we had to spend one day in Bergamo which proved to be a fabulous stop-over. Next day’s plan included a commute via Valencia and landing on the island of Tenerife, but the said air company informed us we would have to spend the night in Spain’s third largest city.
And why wouldn’t we explore the busiest container port (situated cosily on the Mediterranean Sea), and the 5th busiest in Europe?
I have a friend living in the vicinity so he gathered us at the airport and lead us to the hostel we had booked. After that, we devoted the afternoon to looking around.
The City of Arts and Sciences of Valencia
La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, as its Spanish name goes, is probably the most mesmerising architectural complex I have ever visited. Built in neo-futuristic style, it is the most contemporary tourist attraction in Valencia and a part of the 12 Treasures of Spain (12 Tesoros de España).
After a calamitous flood in 1957, the Turia River was drained and successfully rerouted. As a result, a marvellous sunken park emerged from the “ashes” of the old riverbed which stretches for more than 18km (11 miles). At the end of it is where the City of Arts and Sciences is cosily nestled.
Construction began in 1996. The final “city”, designed by the world-famous architects Félix Candela and Santiago Calatrava, was officially inaugurated in the spring of 1998 with L’Hemisfèric’s opening.
Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia or as it known in English – Reina (Queen) Sofía Palace of the Arts – was the last building of the majestic architectural complex. It saw its inauguration in October 2005. The Palace mainly serves as a cultural centre and an opera house for world-famous opera singers, including the Spanish Plácido Domingo.
Later, our friend took us near the port. On the way there, we were driving over one of the few Formula One courses. The city of Valencia used to be a site of the European Grand Prix of F1, but it was given the chop in 2013.
Although we were not able to immerse ourselves into the gastronomic world of Valencia, as an incurable foodie, I have to mention the popular paella.
It originates in the city of Valencia and epitomises slowly simmered rice with chicken (sometimes rabbit) and seafood. It is generously sprinkled with the world’s most expensive condiment – saffron – to which it owes its yellowish colour. The dish is known as paella Valenciana.
Besides checking out the City of Arts and Sciences, tasting paella should be high on your list of things to do in Valencia.
Have you been to Valencia for more than a couple of hours? What would you recommend me visiting and tasting?