24th September 2012
Yesterday evening we arrived at our destination, a rather narrow street, but at least two other cars double parked, and the local website in a Honda prelude did two circuits, driving on the footpath, while we tried to contact our hosts. We were just thinking we should drive off and try a bit later when they turned up. Even better, they were with some friends who had been visiting and we were able to take their car park.
Valencia! The weather is beautiful, the people are beautiful, the buildings are beautiful, even the railway station is beautiful.
We set off for the old town, which is within walking distance and we are bowled over by the city. Plaza Ajuntiment has a grand City hall, other imposing buildings and a fountain. There are lots of trees in the city and many tree lined streets, which provide shady relief from the heat, which is still getting over 30 degrees mid-afternoon. Our first landmark is the Mercado Central, a glorious confection of towers and tiles. Built in 1928, it references gothic and moorish architecture with its ceramic tiles and finial decorations (fish, parrot) it is rather spiffy. Inside is an enormous array of every kind of fruit, vegetable, cheese, fish and naturally the endless variations of pork. There are also many stalls around the market selling varieties of clothing. Mainly we just wander the narrow streets, marvelling at all there is to see, finally reaching Plaza de la Virgen, which has a splendid fountain with a statue representing the Turia river, holding a cornucopia, and it’s tributaries. The basilica appears to incorporate part of the Roman arena and there are other Roman and Moorish buildings still standing in the city, not to mention Romanesque and Gothic. After severe flooding in the 50s, the river has been diverted south of the city and the former stretch around the old city has been turned into a continuous park with walks and sports facilities. It seems a little surreal to see people walking under old bridges, but perhaps appropriate as next we head to Barcelona.
We have held out pretty well today, thanks to the trees, cold drinks and slightly reduced temperature, but we head back about 3pm as we are cooking for our hosts and need to rest a bit before.