June 8, 2019
Valencia is the third largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona. About 800,000 people live in the center. The port is the 5th busiest container port in Europe and the busiest on the Mediterranean.
In 2012, Boston’s Berklee College of Music opened a satellite campus at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, its first and only international campus outside the US.
When Ray gave the weather this morning, he said Valencia, California, so we weren’t sure what the temperature would be! He said 90, but we don’t think it even got up to 80.
It was our first time to this port. We love Spain in general and were sure we would love it here. We didn’t book an organized tour and wanted to just wander around and explore the city.
There were two other ships in port today. The Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas and this small French Ponant ship, le Bougainville.
We took the shuttle bus into the old town. On the way we saw some beautiful buildings and statues. You can tell these pictures are from the bus because of the blue – this is the effect of the window shaded glass!
You enter the old city from the Torres de Serranos, the Gothic gates that are the largest in Europe and date back to 1394. These city gates were used as a prison for nobility for almost three centuries.
We had two specific places we wanted to see, one was the cathedral and the other was the market. We also wanted to have a relaxed lunch. So, we did check these off one by one.
Here is an example of some of the stunning architecture here.
We visited the Inglesia de los Santo Juanes, a beautiful church dating to the 14th century which has this huge dome decorated with amazing frescos. There are several smaller chapels inside the church.
Here are a few sights from the winding streets and lovely plazas.
We went into two other churches, each different but each beautiful.
I lit a candle for my sister’s mother-in-law, Nora.
Norm asked these policemen for directions to the market. They were carrying big guns!
I would say that this market was one of the largest, and certainly the cleanest, of any market we have seen. The building itself is a masterpiece of modern style and is decorated with intricate ceramics and mosaics. It was designed by Francisco Guardia in 1914 and inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII in 1928 and is one of the oldest European markets in continuous operation. It features more than 1000 stores and market stalls!
Here’s a sampling of the sights. Everything from wine and beer tasting to seafood (including live eels), fruits and vegetables and confections of all types. They are known for their ham (jamon) and you see all types everywhere, including with bags to take a whole ham home!
We love markets and we spent hours here!
Lunch was delightful, nice shady spot off of the Plaza del Mercado that had very fast Wi-Fi as a bonus! We backed up both of our phones and iPad while we enjoyed a leisurely lunch. The croquettes are a local delicacy here.
Last stop by the fountain.
There used to be a very wide river here but it is dried up now and there is a park beneath the bridges.
There was a Spanish themed dinner in the Terrace Café last evening, but we had dinner reservations in Toscana. I went in to take pictures anyway.
Lots of paella and other Spanish goodies. Valencia claims to be the first place that paella was made. And they are also known for oranges.
We only have 2 sea days on this segment, one is tomorrow, and everyone is ready for the rest.