A Whale of a Time! – September 25, 2009

The sun peeked through the cracks in the persiana gently waking us a little before 9:00.  A quick trip to the bakery and breakfast was underway.  We made a quick trip to El Corte Inglés to replenish our supply of bottled water, coffee, milk and, while we were at it, a bottle of wine.  We spent the rest of the morning straightening up and doing a number of tasks on the computer.  We headed out in search of lunch a little after 2:30 and settled on a nearby restaurant called Dondequiera (Wherever).  To be honest, the food was unexceptional so there really is no need to go into details.  We made our way back home to pick up our cameras and to make ready for our afternoon excursion to La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias.

The City of Arts and Sciences was designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela and it was opened to the public in April of 1995.  The newest completed building, el Palacio de las Artes Reina Sofía was inaugurated in October of 2005 with the first performances starting almost a year later.  A new structure, a multifunctional performance space, the Agora, is currently under construction and is scheduled to open next year.  This attraction, along with the rebuilt port area and the spruced up Malvarrosa beach has made Valencia, Spain’s third largest city, a required stop for the tourist visiting Spain.  Here is a link to the official web page of The City of Arts and Sciences http://www.cac.es/

The walk from our house to The City of Arts and Sciences took us about thirty minutes and we made the trip accompanied by a brilliant sun that had raised the afternoon temperature to close to 90 degrees.  Your first view of the complex, as you make your way down La Avenida de la Reina, is striking.  We chose to cross El Puente de la Reina in order to approach the complex from the other side.  The bridge is guarded on both ends by rather fierce looking gargoyles.  As you cross the bridge and continue on your way you are able to drink in a view of the entire complex and it leaves you with a sense of both euphoria and amazement.   We slowly made our way towards the center of the complex to get a closer view of all the buildings.

Not surprisingly, there were a goodly amount of people present.  Judging by the number of cameras, many of them were tourist.  However there were many valencianos who were taking advantage of a lovely autumn afternoon.  We ran into a group of four and five year olds who were on their way home to celebrate the birthday of two members of the group.  We stopped and chatted with the kids for a brief moment and I asked permission to take a photo.  I am very wary of taking pictures of children without asking permission.  The picture taken we continued on our way to the heart of the complex.

The last time we had visited this complex was just about a year ago.  We were in Valencia to attend El Congreso Nacional de Magia de 2008.  I was a member of the organizing committee and my job, some six thousand miles away from the planning center, was to contact American magicians who might be interested in performing and lecturing, as well as doing a number of translations of legal documents and, in one case, lecture notes.  The awards dinner was held inside the Hemisferic and it was late at night when we got there.  The fact that it was nighttime and that we were unaware that construction was progressing on yet another structure, made our first glimpse of the Agora all the more striking.

We spent another half hour taking pictures and then we made our way back to the house.  I was getting together with some of the magic guys at around 8:00 and Susan was looking forward to a quiet evening when she could work on her photographic projects undisturbed.  When I got home a little after midnight Susan was fast asleep and five minutes later, so was I.

The Science Museum and the Planetarium

The Science Museum and the Planetarium

View from Avenida de la Reina

View from Avenida de la Reina

Gargoyle 1

Gargoyle 1

Gargoyle 2

Gargoyle 2

The Birthday Girls

The Birthday Girls

Birthday Girls 2

Birthday Girls 2

Ciudad de las Artes 030

The Happy Hikers

The Happy Hikers

Entrance to the Planetarium

Entrance to the Planetarium

Susan's Take on the Fish

Susan's Take on the Fish

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