Jardines del Turia is the largest urban park (110 hectares) in Spain. The dried up Turia stream that once passed through the city, was intended to be an urban highway until the protest of the inhabitants changed it to a beautiful park. Nine kilometres of greenery that stretches Northwest/Southeast with the Bioparc Zoo in the top end to the Aquarium at the bottom end and includes the Ciutat les Arts (see past post). There are 18 bridges from different periods of time and architecture styles. I appreciated the unique design of each of the bridges we walked under.
Close to our hotel, we were able to visit the park twice. Our first introduction to Valencia started at the park (day photos) and our last evening in Valencia (night photos).
Even the dead foliage is pretty
Palau de la Musica de Valencia
The empty fountain was under maintenance so we didn’t get to experience the waterworks in operation.
Parc Gulliver is a children’s playground. The large structure resembles Gulliver stretched out on his back.
I love the small added details on the bridgework
Palau de la Musica de Valencia
The fountain now has water but still not in operation
Pont de la Mar
Pont de les Flors
During the summer, there would be a carnival located in this large empty area
Pont de l’Exposicio
Where there is a park, there will be a soccer field
A large playground area
La Malvarrosa Beach is the closet beach to central Valencia and is most popular with the locals. A wonderful promenade is lined with palm trees and has many eateries and bars overlooking the Mediterranean. The largest beach I have ever seen, I couldn’t get over how beautiful the sand was…powdery and soft.
Rod’s detailed shoeprint is evident of how fine the sand is
Being February, the beach is quite deserted.
A small stretch of resorts is located on the southern end of the beach. The large white structure is the Hotel Balneario.
A couple displays their physical agility
A fisherman waiting patiently for his catch
A great dog run
Long promenade with palm trees to the left and wonderful restaurants to the right
Sitting on a bench to the right (beside the bikes) was a busker entertained with lots of tunes from the Beatles 60s roster. Once in a while some of the restaurant patrons (mostly a men’s volleyball team) would burst into a sing-along if they knew the tune.
Valencia beach apartments
One last look at the beach from the Marina before heading away
Mercat Central that was originally an open air market, received its’ cover in 1928. Over two floors, the 8,000 square metres space is home to wonderful fresh fruit, meats , cheeses, vegetables and souvenirs. The style of modern Valencian Art Nouveau was designed by Alejandro Soler March and Francisco Guardia Vial.
Iglesia San Juan del Hospital is the oldest church in Valencia. Located next door to popular Iglesia de Santo Tomas with the crowded line-ups of people, we opted to visit this church instead. Founded by the military order of the hospitable Knight of San Juan de Jerusalem. It served as a hospital, cemetery and church in the original construction in 1238.
Romanesque side door
Single Nave in the main temple
Christ of Sorrows Chapel
Chapel of Pere (r)
Chapel with Romanesque (l)
Individuals were decorating the altar for an upcoming wedding
Chapel of Santa Barbara
Due to an early arrival into Valencia, our hotel room was not available for a couple of hours. To occupy our time, the hotel receptionist recommended we take a walk to Jardines del Turia located a short distance away.
Not only did we find beautiful greenery but four unique buildings located at the bottom end of the park. A complex devoted to science and culture, these interesting structures was designed by Santiago Calatrava. I was aware of this place and had planned on seeking it out during our four-day visit. I didn’t think I would find it accidentally on our first day.
Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia – opera house and performing arts center
Pont de Montolivet bridge – allows traffic to flow over without disturbing the waterways and walkways below
Under the Pont de Montolivet bridge
L’Hemisferic – an IMAX cinema, planetarium and laserium
El Museu de les Ciencies Principe Felipe
School excursion to the Museum
Interior of Museum
Interior of Museum
Agora – covered plaza for concerts and sporting events
El Pont de L’Assut de l’Or – white cable bridge
L’Umbracle – an open garden landscape over the car park
When travelling, we adhere to the “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” philosophy. I always choose hotels with a breakfast option. This meal provides us the energy we need for a full day of exploring and keeps us going until supper.
There is something about the European buffet breakfasts that I love and makes this philosophy easy to handle. Unlike the North American tradition with vats of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage & pan-fried potatoes, we find an incredible variety of items to choose from. Eggs and specialty coffees are made to order. I always go with an omelette (3 eggs soft) and a cappuccino. There is lots of emphasis on energy snack foods with a wide assortment of seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, chia, etc.) along with nuts & things I’ve never heard of. The portions are small enough that we get to sample more varieties.
The breakfast buffets at all three hotels, “Only You Atocha” (Madrid), “Petit Palace” (Valencia) & “Hotel Torre Catalunya” (Barcelona) were great. However, I give the five-star to “Only You Atocha”. So many options, I didn’t get to try everything over the three mornings we were there. I could have gotten more photos but didn’t want to interfere with the patrons getting their food.
Made to order eggs – Only You Atocha
Cheese and Cold Cuts – I would have loved to try the cheese but the fear of lactose intolerance kept me away.
Breads and Cereals – Nutella and Churros were one of our favourites
For the Sweet Tooth – The chocolate covered strawberries were a specialty for Valentine’s Day.
Extras – Superfoods and Condiments
Due to a two-day delayed arrival, we only had two and half days to explore Madrid. We walked about 35 kms keeping ourselves within a 3 km perimeter around our hotel in the neighborhoods of Atocha, Centro, Retiro & Trafalgar.
Spain has an active nightlife with locals claiming they don’t start their evening meal until 9:00 PM. At first, I was skeptical about this claim. However, as you can see with the evening photos, the streets are very busy with people. You can usually spot the locals, they are the ones dressed in winter coats. While they consider lows of 10C and highs of 24C cool, we consider this summer weather and strip down to T-shirts during the day and summer jackets in the evening.
The following photos gives us a small glimpse of life on the streets.