Archive for August 28th, 2016

August 28, 2016

Valencia from the El Cid to now!!!

It has been visited in my early teen when family still in the area, and now many many years later came back to Valencia. It is a major city of Spain and many many things to see which our time could not possibly allowed for all. Nevertheless, well planned I think we hit the main areas that needed  to be visited and might encourage others to do the same; we will be back.

The city tourist office is at http://www.visitvalencia.com/en/home  ; and the Community of Valencia region here: http://en.comunitatvalenciana.com/places-to-visit/city-of-valencia

We came in by car on the A3 expressway  passing the viaduc de Buñol,  and getting by the Torres de Quarts and the Puente de las Artes straight to our underground parking garage as planned, this was the parking empart Colon at Carrer del Comte de Salvatierra,23 underneath the great Mercado Colon. Wonderful choice walk all over from here. http://www.parking-valencia.com/aparcamiento-mercado-de-colon

Therefore, the first thing we saw was the Mercado Colon.  Created as the market of the area of Ensanche and recently beautifully restored. It is a magical place with plenty of food stalls, and supermarket especialising in meats, seafood, cheeses, wines etc on the below ground floor and restos on the ground floor, way below is the parking. More here: http://www.mercadocolon.es/

From there, we move on by foot to visit as much as the main sights as possible.  Walking is always better than public transport for us;once we parked our car.  In no particular order these are the sights we saw or visit with at least a corresponding photo.

Basilica de la Virgen de los Desamparados or Our Lady of the Foresaken; the city patron Saint as well as the Community of Valencia. This is a must  ,gorgeous in and out, just a sample of photos here. More on it, http://www.visitvalencia.com/en/what-to-visit-valencia/monuments/list-of-monuments/monument/7788

We reach the Cathedral or Catedral Santa Maria, very nice but a long line so we skip the interior. See photos of exterior on the this post and for more info here: http://www.visitvalencia.com/en/what-to-visit-valencia/monuments/list-of-monuments/monument/valencia-cathedral

We went by the Church San Juan de la Cruz, nice architecture of Baroque style ,indeed. more info here :http://www.visitvalencia.com/en/what-to-visit-valencia/monuments/list-of-monuments/monument/7805?_ga=1.21728376.2133243585.1418068697

We went to the Church San Martin, there since the Christian conquest of 1238AD.  There is some info on the city hall page of Valencia in Spanish; http://www.valencia.es/ayuntamiento/Infociudad_accesible.nsf/vDocumentosWebListado/813ACEAB7DA3A602C12572C20023FD5D?OpenDocument

We passed by the Church Saint Nicolas y San Pedro, a nice Church with lots of history. More info here: http://www.sannicolasvalencia.com/

We took a peek at the Church Santa Caterina and tower right around the Plaza de la Reina. The tower is impressive. More here : http://www.visitvalencia.com/en/what-to-visit-valencia/monuments/list-of-monuments/monument/7800?_ga=1.196147311.2133243585.1418068697

Again more history and architecture in the Church of San Juan del Hospital, claiming to be the oldest Church in Valencia; see the official site in English here: http://sanjuandelhospital.es/iglesia-san-juan-del-hospital/?lang=en

The Parrish Church San Tomàs Apostol and San Felipe Neri, borrowing the baroque from Rome, nice architecture; more here : http://en.comunitatvalenciana.com/places-to-visit/costa-blanca/valencia/monument/parish-church-santo-tomas-apostol-and-san-felipe-neri

Government buildings are dull except the city halls of Europe that can be rich and ornamental sometimes former palaces and manor houses; this is no exception in Valencia where on the Plaza del Ayuntamiento (city hall square) you have a beautiful city hall building before you.  Be careful if coming by car , we saw several cars been wreck truck taken to the car pound rather quickly. More here in Spanish: https://www.valencia.es/ayuntamiento/laciudad.nsf/vDocumentosTituloAux/origenes?opendocument&nivel=3&lang=1

There is a great statue here of Francesc de Vinatea a great heroe of the region opposing the feudal ideas of the king and serve as First Juror . One of his famous phrases and slogans of the time is this one “cada uno de nos somos tanto como vos, pero todos juntos mucho más que vos.” It reads something like ,Each of us is as much as you, but all together are more than you. Democracy rings! but this was in around 1300!

This is supposed to be the biggest attraction in Valencia, the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias or the arts and sciences city actually just outside city center ;not really big on muséums and on the last way out, we skip it. However, it is here for content, and more information is here: http://www.cac.es/en/home.html

We, also, took a look at another novelty the train station, we are road warriors so the train is only when must on business trips. The estacion del Norte is very nice architecturally thus and it could be visited. Locals call it Estaçio Nord. More info here in English from official source: http://www.adif.es/en_US/infraestructuras/estaciones/65000/informacion_000080.shtml

Nearby there see the statue on king Jaime I  the Conqueror, very much in the local fabric; he was  Jaime I de Aragon el  Conquistador ( Born Montpellier France in 1208 and died in Alcira in 1276. He was king of Aragon (1213-1276), of Valencia (1238-76),and Mallorca (1229-1276), Count of Barcelona (1213-1276), Count of  Urgel,Lord of Montpellier (1219-1276),and other places in Occitania (covering France and Spain).  The statue is in the Parterre garden by the Plaça d’Alfons el Magnanim. More from city hall in Spanish here: http://www.ayto-valencia.es/ayuntamiento/premiosjaimei_accesible.nsf/vDocumentosTituloAux/917D920EB762A3E5C12572B3003C8E08?OpenDocument&bdOrigen=ayuntamiento%2Fpremiosjaimei_accesible.nsf&idapoyo=491158C06C8711A8C125721F004C84AC&lang=1&nivel=3

And we arrive at the Mercado Central, now this is us, love it, vibrant live, great ambiance and great food and drinks… the center of it. The gorgeous hams was a tentation as well as the great wines to take back to the house. This is a must and for us just enough to be back.  The construction is marvelous and it was already pack with locals and visitors alike.  The official page is here in English: https://www.mercadocentralvalencia.es/El-Mercado.aspx

In Spanish is as such El Colegio del Patriarca San Juan de Ribera , but just call it the Patriarch. A gorgeous monument showcasing the work of Father Juan de Ribera (Saint).  It is a vast building, we took a peek Inside and it is gorgeous, Worth coming back for a detail look. More in English here; http://patriarcavalencia.es/?lang=en

Another that needed more time was the Museo Nacional de Ceràmica y Artes Suntuarias “Gonzalez Martî” -Palacio Marqués de Dos Aguas. or simply the Ceramics and arts museum. A gorgeous baroque building richly decorated with what it shows! More info in English here: http://www.mecd.gob.es/mnceramica/en/home.html

There is a Plaza de Toros or  bullfight arena here, and rather dull round brick building. It is next to the Estacio Nord train station. More on it here: http://www.visitvalencia.com/en/what-to-visit-valencia/monuments/list-of-monuments/monument/7828

And we headed for the beaches, passing by the Puerta de la Mar arch. The weather by now was cloudy a bit of fine rain so not much action but the beach is long and wide, rather nice. We moved the car and park at the Paseo Neptuno parking garage, and then walk up and down the beaches of Arenal and Cabanyal, and continues into Malvarossa. The paseo maritimo walkway is rather nice with shops and restos and of course hôtels. Plenty of activities in sandy wide beach, something to think about next time with more time.  There is a nice statue mémorial to Antonio Ferrandis a great Valencian actor.

And we came back one more time to home base in the Serrania de Cuenca. Before moving the car from the parking at Mercado Colon we had lunch at Pantalan 5 in the ground floor of the market, nice cold beers and sandwiches of chorizo and potatoes, croquettes of ham and cheese and other goodies for about 8€ per person. Nice simply and grand style lunch in a beautiful place. More here: http://pantalan5.com/donde-estamos/ ,and more photos here : http://www.guiadevalencia.es/esp/categoria:bares-cafeterias-etc/anuncio:pantalan-5/seccion:el-local

Until next episode on our trailblazing saga of Spain, hope to be given you a sampler to come to Spain, is everything Under the Sun…and more. Enjoy your Sunday, Cheers.

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August 28, 2016

And one more time in Cuenca our main city home base!

And on our second weekend to keep it low and relax we stick around our area where we rented a rural house in Las Majadas (casa Pitu) in the Serrania de Cuenca mountains at about 36 kms to Cuenca where we descended several times. See previous posts on Cuenca and Las Majadas.

Now we came down early and we saw a nice spectacle on the road down the mountains; we have seen goats, wild pigs, cerfs, and cows on the side. This time there were two cows right on the road blocking our access!!! (see photo). So how to get them to move lol!!! When I claxon they just look at me like we are here and you wait ::) finally after some minutes that seems like an eternity one of the cows moved to the road edge and we were able to pass by the other one that just stood there on the road looking at us wow!!! It was very funny could be worse…. We move on.

We went down to city center by the by now repeated metal art work on the road into city center.  We came into the Stream of the river Jùcar that passes by the city and the Church of Virgen de la Luz, dating from the 16C .  This Church is famous for housing the Black Virgin. More here in Spanish: http://www.turismocastillalamancha.es/patrimonio/iglesia-de-la-virgen-de-la-luz-30464/visita/

There is a curiosity that we did not took the bait for it but maybe interested for others, the Tuneles Alfonso VIII, admission is 3,50€. These are underground passages showing life as it was in the time ,and serve as refuge during the Spanish Civil War. It has 90 meters long by 250 square meters of space with three entry points; been the main at the street of same name Calle Alfonso VIII.  On this street you can ,also, admire great architecture as on the houses or casa de los Clemente Aróstegui from the 17C,with a facade adapted to the curve of the street; casa del Corregidor, with a palace like facade and on the back gives way to the neighborhood of (Barrio) de San Marín; and the casa de los Mendoza, that now houses the museum Museo de las Ciencias de Castilla-La Mancha. The street is hilly as most in Cuenca. http://turismo.cuenca.es/portal/lang__es/tabid__11430/default.aspx

See the beautiful photos of the rio Jùcar river passing thru the city and the life of promenades in the shade very nice. It goes around the town up to the mountains and where we stayed. There is a great eery nice shot from the town up the mountain and a huge Christ on the very top. This is Spain still.

We came looking for the Torre Mangana tower and we did! This is a huge tower on the upper part of the city.  The tower is from 1565 and the clock and Cross were added in 1532. This clock mark the official time of Cuenca even today! There is ongoing excavations below it closed to the public, as  the base of the tower on the plaza de Mangana,was where the neighoborhood of Arabs and later the Jewish quarter in medieval times and finally the Christian area of  Santa María(Saint Mary).  More here in Spanish : http://cvc.cervantes.es/artes/ciudades_patrimonio/cuenca/paseo/torre_mangana.htm

From the tower you can see détails of the city such as the Church San Andrés: http://cvc.cervantes.es/artes/ciudades_patrimonio/cuenca/paseo/iglesia_andres.htm

And Oratorio de San Felipe de Neri: http://www.turismocastillalamancha.es/patrimonio/oratorio-de-san-felipe-de-neri-30764/visita/

Of course, we cannot go down to the town for the whole day and don’t eat. So lunch we had at Bar Cafe Martina on the pedestrian nice city center street of Calle Carreteria. This is a local joint very friendly nice and the price right. We had our usual beers Under a umbrella canopy in the middle of the street,and had our omelettes, chorizos, and croquettes all good for about 8€ per person.  More info here: http://www.baresdecuenca.com/establecimiento/Martina/36

Nice town, Unesco historical site, and easy in and out on the road A40 of Castilla La Mancha. Enjoy it.

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