Saturday, 9 November 2013

Valencia, Spain

A perfect day weather wise, beautiful sunshine, nice 23C with a light breeze. We took the shuttle bus from the Port area, we are docked in the Americas Cup dock where all the beautiful sail boats and yachts are. Some private yachts are so large you need a crew of 10 just to run the boat. I wonder who can the lucky owners be.

Valencia offers commanding views of the Gulf of Valencia, the mountains behind the city give way to rolling plains that extend to Castille, La Mancha and Aragon. It is know for its orange groves, art, architecture, cuisine and its science museum.

This beautiful city, founded in 138 BC by the Romans it was an important Colony. Rome ruled until 580 AD when the Visigoths arrived and took over. They will rule until 1094 when Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar known as ''El Cid'' takes the city in an effort to establish rule for the King of Aragon. Then in 1102 the Almoravid Dynasty, Moors from North Africa take over. It was King James I of Aragon who will give the name Valencia to the city and with the Knights Templar will reconquer the area in 1238 pushing the Moors out. The Moors will be completely expelled from Spain in 1490 by Queen Isabella I.

The river Turin crosses the city, in its new bed. The old river bed is now a large park area with all the old bridges connecting the two sides of the city. This feat of engineering was man-made to prevent any more flooding. Many monuments dot the old city landscape, churches and palaces. The Silk Market building is worth a visit, a stunning building witness to the wealth of the Silk trade in Valencia and to the Guild who ran the market. Valencia is also the Family home of the Borjas, known in Italy as the Borgias, who through Pope Alexander VI, Cesar and Lucrezia have a colourful history.

The central market is also great, you can buy all manner of fresh produce, fish, meat, cheeses, beers and wines, candied fruits etc.. all beautifully presented in an elegant copper roof building with glaze tiles and stain glass windows. You can also shop online and have your order delivered to your home, thus mixing beauty, architecture, epicurian delights and technology.

The Cathedral is an enormous building with Spanish Gothic architecture mixed in with Baroque art, it is a very huge church and contains a chapel to the Santa Calis, (Holy Chalice) again miraculous because it is said that when it was shown to the Moors they fell back and fled. Next to it is the Basilica of La Virgen de los Innocentes, Martires y los Desamparados, quite the name for a church, it has a miraculous statue of the Virgin a top the main Alter all covered in gold.

During the Spanish Civil War 1936-39, Valencia suffered greatly and the Nazi Air Force where used by General Franco against the people of the city. Later Franco will become the dictator of Spain until his death in 1975 to be replaced with the restoration of Constitution and the Spanish Monarchy with King Juan Carlos. While visiting historical buildings mention is made of the Civil War, though it has been 80 years it is still a scar with painful memories.

The streets of the old town are lined with polished limestone which can be very slippery on a rainy day. We found a great little restaurant on a small plaza, had some tapas, delicious with a glass of wine. The restaurant is El Rall on Tundidores 2 between Lonja and Plaza Negrito see the web site http://elrall.es/

Valencia is relaxing and pleasant city, clean and we had a very pleasant day admiring the architecture and the life in the city. We did a little shopping, found a great men shop and bought two shirts. The shop is called J.Palomar on San Vincente 8, in the old town.

After lunch we returned to the ship, happy and tired. We are happy we came to Valencia. We wish we could spend more time here because there is so much to appreciate.

street scene in central Valencia




looking towards the cathedral of Valencia

The old Roman centre plaza of Valencia 


Central Market of Valencia with fresh olive selection

Fresh seafood at the Central Market

Church and Central Market building, Valencia

Great Hall of the Silk Market


2 comments:

  1. I learn so much from reading your blog entries; I appreciate what you do/write.

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