Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Journey to Valencia


Tuesday, 30 December:

VALENCIA!!! 

Spain’s third largest city was founded in the year 138 B.C. by retired Roman legionaries on the banks of the Río Turia who called their new city "Valentia." The Moors would later make Valencia into an agricultural and industrial center, no shock there.

Muslim rule was briefly interrupted in 1094 A.D. when the legendary Christian knight, El Cid Campeador, Charlton Heston in real life, rampaged through the countryside. In 1238 A.D., the Christian forces of King Jamie I finally retook the city once and for all.

Ace Cobras’ lineman Roberto Dúran counseled me into making my first trip to Valencia an overnighter. This was partly because of the 3 ½ hour train ride from Murcia to Valencia and partly because Valencia has so much to offer.

Roberto was absolutely correct!

There was a hitch though, isn’t there always?

With no wifi at La Hacienda and a cell phone that suddenly can not handle all incoming e-mail and FaceBook notices, I was only able to use my phone effectively from a free wifi café across the street from Murcia’s train station. Come to find out, my AirBnB room reservation in someone’s home in Valencia fell through because the family in question was on vacation. They notified me in plenty of time but I could not open their e-mail until it was way too late.

There was no wifi on the train so I would just have to sit back and enjoy the scenery and try to work something out at a wifi café to be named later somewhere in Valencia.

The Train Arrived in Valencia at Noon

The first thing that I noticed after exiting the train station was the incredible architecture. Por ejemplo . . .

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit C

Within ten minutes of the station, I found it . . .

 Dehesa Santa Maria, a.k.a., Wifi Heaven

Might as well have paella for lunch while
surfing for a place to sleep tonight

I found one on Venere.com for only $35 for the night and it was only a few blocks away from the Dehesa Santa Maria via the Mercado Central. It wouldn’t hurt to stop and look a bit would it?

I also discovered that in this fine Mediterranean city they speak a dialect known as Valenciano. We still managed to communicate in the Rey’s Español.

El Mercado Central

 Paella ala Valenciana
 but of course

 Roberto said “Try the Horchata”

 He did not say anything about
the mandatory Fartons Polo

So, I improvised and got both

The sugar rush was intoxicating.

 Mercado Central Window

 Got to have jamon

 The Mercado Central was busy!

It even had a Cupola

Mushrooms

Lots of Mushrooms

Oranges and Grapes too

 More Meat

Cerdo, a.k.a, Pork

Once out of the Mercado Central, there were still things to marvel at while trying to find my hotel.

Paella Pans for Sale

I wonder whatever became of the can of paella that Laurie and her Dad used to hide in each other’s home when they weren’t looking for 15 years or more?

No More Sugar

For at least 20 minutes to be on the safe side.

A Random Church

 MY HOTEL!!!

No, I do not think that
it qualifies as a Parador

Not at $35 USD a night it doesn’t!

Paradors are plush, historic buildings that are now used as hotels.

OK, so the paint was pealing just a bit, the wifi only worked in the lobby and the bed spread was rather frightening . . . it was home for a vagabond for a night. On the plus side for this budget offering, the sheets were clean as was the spacious room and, the heater works! The one at La Hacienda . . . not so much.

Once ensconced in Hostal El Rincon (it is definitely not a youth hostel either), I ventured out to see Valencia’s La Lonja de la Seda which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was originally Valencia’s silk and commodity exchange.

La Lonja de la Seda

 La Lonja's Colonnaded Hall

 How did they do that without computers?

 Stunning Coffered Ceiling

The exterior of La Lonja’s building had a few interesting carvings such as . . .

 Salamander Man

Oh!

Squatting

Back out walking the streets I found . . .

Laurie’s Next Pair of Shoes

 Old Carvings

 . . . Down Broadway?

 A cool view on Mercado Central

An Interesting Mosaic

And Valencia’s Cathedral

It was built over a mosque after the reconquest of 1238 A.D.

Who would have imagined that?

I’m going in, cover me!

St. Joseph’s Chapel

Cool Cherub

 Demons courtesy of Goya

 Grail Chapel?

This is where the Holy Grail is
purported to be stored

Why didn’t someone tell Sir Perceval or Indiana Jones?

Nice Rosette Window

Santiago Slaying a Few More Moors

Beautiful Carving

Chapel of St. Vincent, Martyr

St. Vincent, Martyr’s Arm

YIKES!!!

The Cathedral’s Main Altar

Nice Gargoyle

Why is the Sky is SO blue in España?

Back out on the streets again, I found more fun things.

A Man and His Pigeons

Habana Store selling Italian Styles?

A mural of our son Mike with
a three day growth of beard

A Camino de Santiago Route Marker

Torres de Quart

This is Valencia’s most important City Gate. Note the pockmarks left by French cannonballs during the 19th century Napoleonic invasion.

The Cobras New Helmets Are In!

One Hungry Dog!

Fountain at Night

I’m desde 1947 myself

Valencia’s Plaza de Toros

Valencia’s Train Station
next to the Plaza de Toros


Torres de Quart at Night

Impressions

More Cuban Flavor

Meanwhile, back at the Mercado Central . . .

Red Grapes

Gambas

They were closing so back to the busy streets I went . . .

Gomez and Morticia

The Justice League of España

Don’t ask, you just had to be there.

I Needed Sustenance

Tapas Works for Me

The search for the Perfect Croqueta continues

The research is tough sledding but it must be done.

Santa Catalina

Finally, I ran into this 200 year old Horchateria that was just closing down for the night.

The Horchateria has nice work too

I must stop by here in the morning before heading back to Murcia.

Finally, just another Tuesday night on the streets of Valencia for your viewing pleasure.

video
 Again, You Had To Be There