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Adventures of a short vet

Exploring Valencia

SPAIN | Sunday, 10 October 2010 | Views [538]

Say cheese!

Say cheese!

Another big day of walking, starting with a visit to La Lonja de la Seda, another UNESCO World Heritage Site for being one of the most stunning, most important and best preserved examples of Late Gothic architecture in entire Europe. After wandering through the building and garden I headed to the Hemispheric/Science museum complex via some back streets away from the main tourist areas where it was very peaceful.

The buildings are absolutely amazing and I couldn’t resist buying a ticket to the Science Museum, ending up spending a nerdy 3 hours wandering around the museum and even watching a video of a lung lobectomy which I found fascinating, though funnily enough no-one else did! I walked down to the Aquarium, yet another impressive building, but decided to give it a skip having already visited the one in Barcelona. I then walked back into town via the main road, subtly crossing the road when a dodgy-looking guy got up to walk behind me as I passed him and realized I was walking towards 2 other guys that seemed to be his mates. Could have been completely innocent but I haven’t avoided being pick-pocketed or mugged by ignoring my instincts and sometimes it’s not a bad thing being a bit paranoid.

I arrived at the Valencia Cathedral just in time for the last entry and managed to see what is defended to be the true Holy Grail, the chalice which Jesus & the disciples drank out of at the Last Supper. Unfortunately it is in a glass case behind the altar so you can’t get a really close look at it but still pretty cool. There were amazing paintings by Goya and other artists depicting the ascension of the saints, as well as a less attractive glass box containing a saint’s arm bones (ew). I then finished the afternoon off with a beer (cerveza) and capsicum/potato/chorizo dish (yum!) before getting lost on the way home. It did mean I got to watch a soccer game so the detour wasn’t all bad. Thank goodness for maps on the back of bus-stops that show you where you are (which my map obviously didn’t).

I was planning on hitting the beach the following day, but an old school friend invited me out to lunch at their new house just outside of town, so instead I spent the morning booking a hostel in Madrid and a nice “hostal” (in between a hostel and a hotel) near the airport for my last night as it has a free shuttle to make the early morning flight a bit less stressful. I popped into the train station to check train times for the following day (the website was impossible to follow) on the way to the “Merkat” to buy some grapes for lunch. Then it was onto the metro to the suburb of “Betera” where my friend, Rachel, and her husband and young son lived. It was a nice ride out into the Spanish countryside, though I was glad to see her waiting to pick me up as the stop was a little desolate! I was also glad that I’d bought a return ticket as there wasn’t a ticket station there, only a button over which to swipe the card to make the train stop!

Rachel’s parents were also in town, and it was nice to chat to some Kiwis for a change. Their newly built house is amazing – marble floors, huge windows and lots of light, plus patio and a pool perfect for the balmy Spanish climate. Our goodbyes were a little rushed as we arrived just in time for the train, but I would love to go back and spend more time catching up in such a lovely area.

Tags: cathedral, holy grail, la lonja, science museum, valencia

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