Sunday, May 21, 2017

A Walk Around the Ciutat

Valencia is an autonomous region of Spain and speaks a language virtually identical to Catalan, which is closely related to Spanish and a bit less related to the Occitan dialects of French. For example, the City of Arts and Sciences, that I walked around this morning is in Valencian: Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències and in Spanish: Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias. Last night, until I discovered that the little individual sous-titres screen in front of me could be switched to any of about ten different languages, I listened to Werther sung in French with sub-titles in Valencian.

So let me take you on a walk with me. This is the lobby of my hotel:

for all of these, click to enlarge

which is actually on the 4th floor of the building with a five story (why five and not four?--one level is underground) shopping mall underneath. This is the entrance to the hotel, on the roof of the mall:

As soon as you leave the hotel and get out on the street, you can see the City complex with the Palau Reina Sofía in the distance:

Looking back at the hotel/shopping mall complex Aqua:

The first buildings in the Ciutat that you come to are the L'Oceanogràphic on the left and the L'Àgora on the right. The former is an open-air oceanographic park, the largest aquarium in Europe, and consists of several buildings of which you can only see one in this photo:

Here is another one:

The Agora is an event centre and right now seems to be being renovated. Right next to it is a very unusual asymmetrical suspension bridge for cars that crosses over the Ciutat (which is built on the old riverbed of the Turia, which was diverted in the 1950s).

I didn't get a really good shot of it, but the next building is the Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe, which is a very, very large science museum with a capacity of 10,000 people.

The Ciutat is large enough to have its own mileposts, though this one gives walking times to various buildings:

Here is a poster outside the science museum with a quote from my favorite philosopher, in Valencian:

I think that says that "Doubt is the beginning of knowledge." We are getting a bit closer to the Palau:

But the next building is actually L'Hemisphèric which is a planetarium and IMAX theatre in the shape of a giant eye:

The "eye" actually opens for showings, though I'm not sure how that works. There is a kind of amusement "ride" on one side of the Hemisphèric that consists of getting into a transparent plastic sphere, then floating around on the water. You fall down a lot:

Looking back, from here you can see the science museum on the left, the suspension bridge, the Agora and on the right another very large building, L'Umbracle, a really huge botanical garden that actually is the roof terrace to a parking garage.

I did not get a good photo of it as I couldn't get back enough, but here is one from the web:

That is only about halfway through my walk, but I think that is enough for one post!


Will Wilkin said...

WOW! Such imaginative and beautiful architecture! I especially like the suspension bridge, which looks like a harp or lira and hopefully makes chords in the wind! All these structures are amazing! I was going to say something about squares after seeing just the pics of the hotel lobby and outside, but certainly squarers are nice when surrounded by every conceivable sort of curve and arch and harp string bridge!

Bryan, the cities of Waterbury and Bridgeport and many other smaller cities local to me are rusting hulks of past prosperity, now shadows of their former glory, full of people on the financial edge and residential slums to prove it.

Bryan Townsend said...

I'm just noticing that all the photos are a bit dull--it was quite overcast the day I took them, unfortunately. Yes, Valencia is impressive! It's like visiting the future, When I put up the rest of the shots I might lighten them a bit.

I was reading an article yesterday about the best cities in the world to live and there were no US ones in the top 20. Only one Canadian one, Vancouver and I don't think I would put up with the traffic. But lots of European ones. That whole area along the City of Arts and Sciences was threaded with bike paths, jogging trails, lawns, trees, sculptures and so on. Just delightful.