Friday, 2 September 2016

Valencia, part five: A Most Bigly Eyeball

Valencia, Spain (Valencia, España)
December 2015
The river Turia burst its banks and flooded Valencia in 1957, resulting in around 100 fatalities and egregious damage to the city. Knowing it was too dangerous to risk future flooding, the government rerouted the river, leaving a large expanse of riverbed empty. The space was converted into an urban park called the Jardines del Turia. Walking through it on a sunny winter's day, we got a good sense of how much of an asset it is to the city. There was plenty of grassy areas to laze about in, as well as walking lanes, jogging lanes and cycling lanes. Many people were playing football or having picnics under shady trees.
After a short walk, we found Gulliver (from the story Gulliver's Travels, as a giant version of himself). The structure features as a playground, with knotted ropes hanging from various limbs and his hair was slides.

Several bridges cross the park, reminding you that the serpentine stretch of grass was once a flowing river. 

At the end of the park, near the docks, we came across Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (the City of Arts and Sciences). We immediately noticed how cool it was to have shallow pools surrounding the buildings for aesthetic reflections. 

The Hemispheric, which resembles an enormous eye when viewed from the side, was the first building constructed for the complex. Completed in 1998, it serves as a planetarium and an IMAX cinema.

I found the entire area very futuristic and 'space age-esque'. Apparently the complex was used in the filming of Tomorrowland, the 2015 film starring George Clooney about a futuristic land.

The café inside El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia (an opera house and arts centre) was playing exclusively Rolling Stones hits with one exception: a screechy cover of the Beatles' Come Together.

Outside El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe (the science museum), a long series of satellite photos were on display showing natural phenomena seen from space such as algal bloom and volcanic craters.

With the sun sinking further towards the horizon, we headed back towards the centre of town and dined at Saona once again, which was actually even more successful than our previous lunch excursion.
The next morning we woke earlier than usual to pack up our things, getting ready to move on when I heard a strange scene play out in the stairwell of the apartment. Judging from the sounds, I surmised that a lady was carrying her chihuahua or other tiny pooch up the stairs and stopped, perhaps to search for her keys. The dog was ruff ruffing enthusiastically, and as it was earlier than most Spaniards' waking time, the lady began to shush him. The sounds quickly turned from 'ruff shhh ruff shhh' to 'yipp shhh yipp shhh' and I figured the dog was getting slapped for being too noisy. Sleepy and scrambled from our early start, the morning was improved with freshly squeezed orange juice and croissants. We reunited with Denis and set off for Catalonia. 

Today's post was almost called: Post-Riverial Perambulations