Bang, bang Valencia

I woke this morning to the Cathedral bells tolling eight o’clock. That was both pleasant and strongly confirmed I’m past jetlag.

I had read that although the Central Market closes on Sunday there was a morning flea market in the surrounding streets. It proved a bit disappointing, there was as much cheap tourist tat as anything interesting. Although I did like the pottery and fans they could just as easily be made in China for all I know. The coolest bit was the old men haggling over stamps and coins – there was no question these were the real deal.

From the market, I planned to visit the botanical gardens to the East of the old town. The gardens were another disappointment – the local parks have more flowers – and were not worth the money to get it. Perhaps if you were an aficionado of unusual plants it would work for you; I was just looking for pretty flowers. But all was not lost – my main aim was the Turia Garden.

In 1957 the Turia River broke its banks and flooded the city, leading to over 100 deaths. The decision was made to re-route the river and use the space for a road link from the port. A huge movement opposed the use and by 1986 when plans really came to fruition the government decided to create a park. That park is one of the main reasons that Valencia is now considered one of Europe’s most liveable and sustainable cities. We rode through the park a few days ago, but seeing it on foot is a calmer experience. Turi Park looks exactly like an architect’s marketing drawing of a development. Everywhere, people are running, riding, sitting, playing, and using the space. It’s not so much that it’s pretty; it just feels like the city’s beating heart.

Walking the park brought me back to the North of the old town where I climbed up the Torres de Serranos, to the Northern gate for another great view over the rooftops.

All that walking and climbing set me up nicely for my favorite Ensalada de Queso de Cabra for lunch in a small restaurant not far from my apartment. Lunch was punctuated by what sounded like war had broken out in the surrounding streets – bang, crash, whizz, bang. Spanish weddings seem to be greeted with fireworks and when you set them off in an old-town plaza they echo endlessly and, honestly, quite disturbingly through the narrow lanes. When I asked a local what was going on, she just shrugged and said ‘idiots’.

1 thought on “Bang, bang Valencia

  1. Keep writing, thank you so much for such descriptive way. The
    photo of the food, always makes me hungry, can we skip it. I still have stamps in Albums,,
    Lots of LoveI

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