After a fraught journey, delayed as we were diverted from a train to a bus, we arrived in Valencia in a jangled mood. Fortunately, strolling around the city’s pedestrianized street and squares gazing at the ebullient architecture soon had us elated. Apparently smaller than Auckland, Valencia appears a city at one with people favouring pedestrians and cyclists over cars, an approach underpinned with an extensive and growing metro system and public amenities. We found ourselves loving it.

Valencia railway station makes an architectural statement from what one imagines was a different time. It’s too big for this picture to do it justice.
The Town Hall, fronting an impressive square, has embellishments at every angle.
Every opportunity is taken to “enhance” the city’s buildings.
No corner seems exempt. However, suburbia is dominated by, not unattractive, rows of medium to highrise apartment buildings.
Away from its commercial heart the old city’s streets are narrow and winding.
Cafes spill out on to the pedestrianized streets under fruiting orange trees. The Spanish appear to take every opportunity, what ever the time, to stop for a drink and a chat.
Lunch in the Caixa Forum restaurant. Chris just can’t resist fresh sardines, but for me they’re just too much hard work. I opted for pork cheek and mashed potato, betagthough it sounded much flasher than that on the QR code menu. Perhaps, if you blow up this picture you will also be able to read the menu.
Paella is a specibetagty of Valencia, but we seemed to gravitate to Italian, here we have cannelloni and lasagna for lunch, both delicious. The cannelloni was filled with beef ragu and mozzerella, which I’m going to try when we get back.
Continuing an Italian theme, we, well Ted really, have indulged in a surfeit of tiramisu!
Valencia’s Central Market is? vast. Said to be the biggest in Europe, it’s one of those places that’s too big to see from the outside.
Inside the Central Market the variety of foodstuffs on sale is beyond our imagination. We didn’t know so many pulses and nuts existed, not to mention the variety and species of fish to be seen.
What on earth are “fartons”, we wondered? There were no strange smells about. Perhaps you’d like to look them up?

In contrast to the architectural gems of the city centre and the regimented residential suburbs, an array of futuristic structures developed in a former industrial wasteland near the coast are from another world. Strolling around this complex we felt we were in Ted’s cousin Eva St John’s Alpha World.

This is a place too big to capture in a simple photograph, it seems to stretch forever. Perhaps this is what cities on other planets look like?
The huge dome like structure in the distance focuses on the Arts, theatre, opera and graphics, while the vast building on the right is an interactive? science museum.
Perhaps you’d call this a wonderful sight, I certainly would!
It’s not just the mind bending designs of this place, the scale too is dramatic; note the queue in the distance waiting to enter.
The Caixa Forum, clad in blue tiles, is huge; the tower on the right is the soaring mast for a cable-stayed road bridge. This place is the venue for museum standard exhibitions, notable while we were there was one on Tattoos featuring a Maori motif on the promotional material.
The scene inside the Caixa Forum gives an idea of the scale of the place. The domed shaped structure on the upper level is a conference venue shaped like a space craft! 
Beyond the Caixa Forum in the bacground, Oceanographic is an aquarium, much of which is underground, its extent indicated by several domes and parabolic structures from ground level.  
In the old city of Valencia we queued to get into Valencia Cathedral. Built on the site of a previous Roman Temple and later mosque it’s basically Romanesque in design with Baroque additions.
The cathedral’s architecture has created a bright light space, atypical of many Spanish churches.
In pride of place in a side chapel of the cathedral we found the Holy Grail. This artifact is apparently from the right historical period, as attested by various authorities including the Vatican, but I remain to be convinced. If you look closely, the chalice is the darker coloured cup at the very centre of the niche.
In contrast to the cathedral San Nicolas Church and its recently restored frescos are overwhelming. Some have dubbed it the Valencian Sistine Chapel, but for us there was no comparison.
Regardless of where you wander, an important part of travel is finding a loo. In Spain loos come at the cost of a cup of coffee in a cafe, that’s only a couple of Euros. This loo is typical, but perhaps a bit larger, of what one may encounter. While they may often be small, they’re invariably spotlessly clean.
While finding loos may be convenient, not everything we’ve seen has been. These post boxes high on the side of Valencia’s Main Post Office appear only accessible to the tall and brave!
Just a last look at Valencia’s grand architecture.

We left Valencia on a high, it was a great city to visit and we are sure to return. However, arriving at the station the departures board told of disruptions and delays to our return journey to Barcelona. In the event there were no buses involved, but plenty of unscheduled stops, which saw us arrive in Barcelona almost two hours late.

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