Friday, 1 September 2017

Travel: Valencia, Spain Part VI - Horse Meat, Ocean Life and the Future...

Okay, so I'm sure by now you are getting sick of Valencia but I do need to be thorough don't I?

So stick with me...

I've grouped together three of the main sights together here, size-wise and time-wise they deserve that, but also because I have more than the usual amount of images to include in my brief description, and yes I will keep this one brief.

Here we go....


First up is the Central Market (Mercat Central) which is situated exactly where you think it might be, acting like the hub of the city. Everywhere should have a market like this, thronged with buyers, sellers and - admittedly - annoying tourists like us. It was an education in every way as we wandered up and down the huge number of stalls selling practically everything food related...

The building itself is huge too, with its high ceilings giving it a wonderfully airy feel, reminiscent of a brightly lit cathedral more than anything else, and this is quite an appropriate analogy as it really is a temple of food, thronged with worshippers. Tomatoes the size of ostrich eggs, and ostrich eggs the size of - er - ostrich eggs take pride of place with super-fresh seafood plus huge cheese and baby cheeses...

Meat lovers are not ignored with many stalls selling cured meats of every shape and make as well as glass cabinets full of aged beef. Want some rabbit? Six varieties of snails? How about a little horse meat? No problem, this is the place to find it...

If you are interested in food and have an hour or two to kill some morning just go and wander ... grab a coffee, munch on a bocadillo and just take it all in...

You won't be disappointed.


As with zoos, this is a controversial one I know but the Oceanogràfic in the south east of the city is another must visit, especially if travelling with kids. Many ocean habitats are recreated here and there is a deep sense of both welfare and education as you wander around the ultra-modern buildings looking at the exhibits.

And yes it does have a dolphin display...

Much of the time you are wandering underground looking into huge aquariums and in some cases walking through tunnels with fish swimming over your head. It's a surreal feeling when a Great White or a Stingray swims past, half a meter from your scalp! There's a Beluga whale, penguins and every manner of creature from crabs to starfish to see as you wander through the subterranean world, quite literally.

It's not just fish and sea mammals, there a also a spherical aviary holding exotic birds and a few turtles, and a wonderful butterfly house, which also held fascination for the kids as they flitted around from flower-to-hand-to-flower.

One of the highlights for me were the many tanks of jellyfish, as you could appreciate their beauty close up, as they billow about in their tanks ... unlike the anonymous blobs that are usually seen washed up on our shores.

Plants abound here too, and most corners of the park have interesting and clever planting, with a brightly budded Brachychiton catching my eye in particular, but then again how could it not?

I guess you make your choice as to whether to support these places or not - and I'm not without my reservations about the whole concept - but if there is an educational aspect and money is channeled towards research then it's hard not to support them in my opinion.

(One other point about our visit was that the price of food is quite high so I'd recommend bringing a packed lunch, although the pizzeria on site is relatively reasonable...)


Last of the big three is the most imposing and surreal ... the City of Arts and Science -  Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias - right beside the Oceanogràfic and the end of the Turia park. These group of building were used as film sets and for tv shows such as Tomorrowland and Dr. Who (Thanks Beernut...). Viewed from a distance you can understand why ... but up close they are even more fantastical as they leap from the shallow water of pools or hunker down into the grey and white landscape.

The combined site has a science museum, an IMAX cinema, an opera house and a convention centre. The museum is great again for kids as there are loads of interactive experiments, virtual reality trips, dinosaur fossilised and petrified plants! Keep an eye out for the pendulum clock!

... and the dark side of the moon.

I truth if you just went here and walked around the buildings you would consider that a justifiable reason to visit Valencia.

Its an astounding site, and sight...

(Don't forget that Burger Beer is close by too if you fancy a bite and a drink!)


That's it from my penultimate post, last up will be a round-up of a few places and things that didn't quite fit in with any other post!


The series starts here and the final part is here.

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