Stop Over: Valencia, Spain

Valencia might be the third largest city in Spain but it isn’t in everybody’s “must visits” lists when touring/visiting the country. For this week-long vacation/Easter/spring break, we decided to take a quick tour of Madrid and Barcelona. But instead of directly flying to these big cities, we decided to land in Valencia and roam around for a few hours before taking the train to Madrid. For obvious reasons that there aren’t a lot of tourists coming to Valencia, flying there is way cheaper than to land directly in Madrid or Barcelona.

Anyway, we had about 4 hours to tour the city center but we only got to see their one-of-a-kind futuristic city of arts and sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias). The City of Arts and Sciences is a cluster of buildings with 22nd century futuristic architectural design. The whole complex is an entertainment hub with gardens, imax cinema, theaters, museums and event centers. I guess because Valencia city is not as touristy as its neighbor Barcelona, there were not a lot of people visiting the complex. Nonetheless, despite being tired and getting lost finding this spot, it was all worth  it!

The Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias is located at the base of the former riverbed of the Turia River. The Turia river was drained and diverted to form a sunken park that traverses the whole City of Valencia.
The Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias is located at the base of the former riverbed of the Turia River. The Turia river was drained and diverted to form a sunken park that traverses the whole City of Valencia.
The entirety of the former riverbed of Turia river is now the so-called lungs of Valencia as it is converted into a park filled with trees and flowers. There were much more people here than at the Ciudad complex when we visited Valencia.
The entirety of the former riverbed of Turia river is now the so-called lungs of Valencia as it is converted into a park filled with trees and flowers. There were much more people here than at the Ciudad complex when we visited Valencia.
The base of the riverbed is converted into a park and you can still see the bridges (both medieval and contemporary) that crosses between the river banks. All of them are still being used.
The base of the riverbed is converted into a park and you can still see the bridges (both medieval and contemporary) that crosses between the river banks. All of them are still being used.
The structures and buildings of the Ciudad de las artes y las Ciencias are very big that you can already see it from afar. This particular building slightly resembles that of the Sydney Opera House. This building is the El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía which houses, not-surprisingly, the main Opera theater and event center.
The structures and buildings of the Ciudad de las artes y las Ciencias are very big that you can already see it from afar. This particular building slightly resembles that of the Sydney Opera House. This building is the El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía which houses, not-surprisingly, the main Opera theater and event center.
The Ciudad de las artes y las ciencias was a master piece of Valencia's very own celebrity architect Santiago Calatrava.
The Ciudad de las artes y las ciencias was a master piece of Valencia’s very own celebrity architect Santiago Calatrava.
The Ciudad de las artes y las Ciencias is a collection of futuristic buildings. I particularly like the L'Hemisferic (middle building in above picture). The L'Hemisferic (below) as the description say, resembles an "eye" that signifies "the eye of knowledge". fair enough, this structure houses the IMAX theater, a big Planetarium and laserium.
The Ciudad de las artes y las Ciencias is a collection of futuristic buildings. I particularly like the L’Hemisferic (middle building in above picture). The L’Hemisferic (below) as the description say, resembles an “eye” that signifies “the eye of knowledge”. fair enough, this structure houses the IMAX theater, a big Planetarium and laserium.
The building in the middle is the El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe, which is the site for most of the Ciudad's science museums. Beside this is the L'Umbracle (right side).
The building in the middle is the El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe, which is the site for most of the Ciudad’s science museums. Beside this is the L’Umbracle (right side).
The L'Umbracle is a giant greenhouse encasing a landscaped garden consisting of local species of flowers, plants and trees.
The L’Umbracle is a giant greenhouse encasing a landscaped garden consisting of local species of flowers, plants and trees.
Up-close with the El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, you can already see signs of wear and tear. The whole complex has always been marred with controversy mainly about its financial management. Some locals say that it has become a liability to the city instead of elevating the economy through tourism.
Up-close with the El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, you can already see signs of wear and tear. The whole complex has always been marred with controversy mainly about its financial management. Some locals say that it has become a liability to the city instead of being the catalyst in elevating the economy through tourism.
Mosaics of a peculiar semi-egg shaped decors walled the sides of the L'Umbracle. The tall structure at the back is the bridge tower of the El Pont de l'Assut de l'Or, the highest point in the city of Valencia.
Mosaics of some peculiar semi-egg shaped decors walled the sides of the L’Umbracle. The tall structure at the back is the bridge tower of the El Pont de l’Assut de l’Or, the highest point in the city of Valencia.
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