A welcome long weekend provides Las Chicas with the opportunity to take a quick trip. It’s December and the perfect time to head south to visit Valencia and celebrate an early birthday for Lisa. We look forward to Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias , a Modernist walking tour, and exploring the third largest city in Spain.
Valencia was founded as a Roman colony in 138 BC, and was also the home to El Cid, the hero of Spain’s epic poem. During the 15th century, Valencia was recognized as a important cultural center. Memories of this time can be seen in Lonja de la Seda, or “silk exchange”, which now houses the Cultural Academy of Valencia.
From La Longa we move on to the Central Market, a Modernist building designed in 1914.
The market bustles with people, sumptuous foods and an elaborate El Nacimiento display.
A short distance from the Market, we discover El Miguelete, the bell tower for the 14th century gothic-style La Cathedral – Basilica Metropolitana de la Asunción de Nuestra Señora de Valencia.
Inside, the sanctuary resembles many cathedrals with one most unusual feature, an Egyptian frieze sharing a side altar space. This same cathedral is rumored to be home to the Holy Grail, the cup that Jesus drank from at the Last Supper. The Vatican has yet to confirm this theory saying the cup (which is not visible) is too ornate for a poor man.
Another interesting detail is the windows of alabaster, installed instead of glass, able to withstand the heat of Valencia during the summer months.
Throughout the weekend Las Chicas explore other Modernist sights in the city,
… especially the Mercado de Colón.
In the evening we enjoy a paseo amidst the holiday decorations.
The weekend is not complete without seeing Valencia’s modern complement, Ciudad de Ciencias and Artes, with its buildings full of light and symmetry.
Our Docent cards from school provide us free entry and we visit a couple of the exhibits. The first is reminiscent of the Wegner exhibit at the design museum in Copehagen (although pequeño in comparison). The exhibit includes “The Granada” chair.
There is also a small bike exhibit,
… an interesting artistic representation of DNA…
… and chromosomes in the Chromosome Forest.
Mary especially likes the sundail,
… and Lisa, the great patterned shadows on the stairs.
On the train back to Barcelona, we pass through kilometers of orange orchards. Brought to Spain by the Moors, oranges remain a popular symbol of Valencia, perhaps more familiar than El Cid, the Holy Grail, and the starchitecture of the Ciencias and Artes.
© 2014 by Lisa Howells and Mary Reynolds. All rights reserved.