Spain’s third largest city, Valencia, is celebrated for Paella (A rice dish with seafood or chicken and rabbit), and the beauty of its white sandy beaches. But Valencia is much more; it is tradition and modernism all in one place. Because of its privileged location on the Costa Blanca (White Coast) Valencia was the host city for the 2007 sailing regatta, America’s cup.
This is a fabulous city to Explore and Expand your mind.
There is no place in the world like the City of Arts and Sciences, the largest cultural-educational complex in Europe. It is composed of L’Oceanographic, 20 acres devoted to lagoons and leisure pavilions arranged into an underwater city with marine habitats from every ocean; L’Hemispheric, built by award winning Architect Santiago Calatrava, offering documentaries and explorations of the universe; a laser show that runs on a 900 sq. ft. concave IMAX screen with the soundtrack in four languages; Museum of Sciences Prince Phillip- a breathtaking building in the form of a human eye, and an innovative center for the performing arts which presents the finest in dance, opera and theater. For information on hours and events go to www.cac.es . For concerts and other cultural events go to www.comunitatvalenciana.com
Go back into the 13th Century to Cathedral Seu, which claims to possess the Holy Grail, (the chalice Jesus used at the Last Supper). It is on display in a side chapel. Afterwards, continue to Explore up 155 ft to the Miguelete, a Gothic tower. You will have the best views of the city and it is a great place to Exhale while yelling out “I am woman, I am strong, hear me roar” . You will come out renewed. The Cathedral is open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Admission is free.
Continue your walk to the Lonja de Seda (former Silk exchange), a remarkable building; an elegant gothic structure built towards the end of the 15th Century, declared a World Heritage Site, and currently used for concerts and parties for the Royal Family.
A place for you to Express yourself is the Valencia Institute of Modern Art. It consists of one ultramodern building and a 13th Century former convent. It’s opening gained Valencia prime status among the world’s art capitals. The institute is located at the western edge of the old quarter, near 15th Century towers that guard the entrance to the city. For exhibits and hours of operation go to www.Ivam.es/
As you walk through the old part of town, you will encounter Horchata stands, where you can get a smooth and sweet milky-like drink made from the Chufa seed. Chufas only grow in few parts of the world and Valencia is one of them. Its health claims surpass those of any pill on the market. So drink up and to your health!!!!
If in Exile and solitude is what you seek, lunch at one of the many restaurants that line the boardwalk on the beach is a must. This is a great place for long walks, sunshine, warm Mediterranean breezes and fine cuisine. My favorite is Pepica, www.lapepica.com Known for its seafood Paellas, and even mentioned in Hemingway’s The Dangerous Summer.
There are several ways for you to Exorcise the past. One of course through retail therapy. Valencia is home to some of Spain’s best pottery and Lladró porcelain. Local craftspeople take pride in their azulejos (brightly colored ceramic tiles) first developed during the Muslim occupation of Andalucia. For a large selection of porcelain go to Lladró at Calle Poeta Querol 9. For the best azulejos and prices it is worth the drive 5 1/ 2 miles west of Valencia to Manises. You will find shop after shop and you will want to take everything home. No website is available as I was told; craftspeople are very proud and protective of their creations.
If still in need to Exorcise make sure you visit during the Fallas de San Jose Festival, when they honor the arrival of Spring with parades, fireworks and street dancing. Fallas, or paper mache effigies are burned during one of the ceremonies, to symbolize the exorcism of social problems and wish good luck to farmers in the coming Summer. This too, can be your symbolic start of a new life and an Exorcism of the old....... Valencia can be the beginning of more great things to come.......