Sunday 05/09/2010 84
After deciding that a pub crawl really is a good idea after already having too much to drink, it took me most of Sunday to recover from Saturday night. At about 3pm-ish I headed by Metro to the beach. Like most other European cities, most things in the city were closed and the beach was busy but not packed. A wide, flat SANDY beach was beautiful compared to the rocky shorelines I experienced in France
Saturday 04/09/2010 85
Museum day today and what with my lousy sense of direction and a map on which all the streets were not labelled I got a little misplaced I think is the word. Once again I found the park/river and was able to follow that first to the tiny, but pretty, botanical gardens. I then headed to IVAM (Valencia Modern Art Museum). For €2 (bargain compared to some) I was able to look at the work of mainly Spanish artists from the last 50 or so years. It was a great mix of painting, sculpture, photography and printmaking.
Next was the FREE Museum Bellas Artes, which was mainly historical paintings and altar pieces of Spanish artists, not my cuppa tea but there was some work from El Greco, Goya and Velasquez. There was also an interesting exhibition (well it might have been interesting if I could understand the write ups) of artworks and their x-rays to reveal what was underneath the paint.
Stopping at the city Cathedral which is fairly standard cathedral wise but 2 slightly interesting things....originally a gothic building, it was renovated in the Neo-Classical style, so vaults and arches which were stunning in their simplicity were covered in plaster, gilding and carved flowers, secondly it claims to have the Holy Grail. The cup at least dates from the right time and the right place but some convoluted story about it being sent from Rome with some deacon to protect it from some Roman Emperor is rather less than convincing!
Stopping for a Starbucks, which is exactly like the one I used to go to in Wanstead, and then sorting out my train ticket for Monday was kinda it before heading back to the hostel.
Friday 03/09/2010 86
So why Valencia...well I was gonna head down to Seville but it's still freakin hot down there and I didn't want to go to Madrid yet as it's still nearly 3 weeks until I have to be in Madrid to fly back to the UK so I looked on the map and it looked good. Plus Barcelona-Valencia-Madrid on the train worked our cheaper than Barcelona-Madrid.
Upon leaving the hostel I headed first to the Jardin del Turia, or garden of something. This large park area winds it's way around the city along the course a river used to take complete with bridges running over the top. I dunno what happened to the river, probably diverted for irrigation or something, this is a very dry part of the world.
I kept walking until I reach the City of Arts and Sciences, an architecturally striking complex that includes a theatre, planetarium, robotic dinosaur show, sci-tech type place and aquarium, none of which I went into, feeling cheap and not really interested in any of the attractions. I did not realise how far I had walked until I had to turn around and walk back...it was FAR!! I window shopped on return to the hostel and despite trying on and loving a skirt ON SALE I did not buy it as I had nothing to wear with it.
Thursday 02/09/2010 87
Today I checked out of the fabulous hostel in Barcelona and headed, by train, to Valencia. The trip took about 3 hours and it was a beautiful journey along the coast, with glimpses of the med and sandy beaches that look like down south...gotta say had a few pangs of home sickness on seeing them. The train had an entertainment system and I could have watched movies, in Spanish so instead read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which I think is overrated.
On arriving in Valencia I found my hostel without too much difficulty, despite it being tucked away on a back street...thank you €1 map! After a little nap/lie down I went for a stroll around the town and went into a beautiful vaulted building which after doing some research found out was the Old Silk Markets. I also past a round building which I thought was quite attractive and then realised was the bull fighting arena, which the slight animal rights activist dwelling within dealt with by setting off a brief wave of nausea! Takeaway dinner feeling too tired and lazy to struggle with waiters and menus and back to the hostel to enjoy the wifi and then to bed.