Iam singing in Spain, just singing in Spain.....

Trip Start Oct 18, 2006
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Trip End Oct 19, 2007


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Sunday, April 1, 2007

Valencia
A city which exceeded my wildest expectations! We arrived tired from out plane flight out of Basel at 6am that morning and our sunstroked day in Alicante- only to find out that tonight in Valencia was a festival night and fireworks would be going off at 2am! So seizing "the night" we decided to stay up. We entered our beautifully lit street at 12am and walked about two meters and were soon greeted by some Valencian men who soon swept us off our feet producing chilled wine and cups right outside our hostel doorsteps! Moments before meeting them we had witnessed a lovely display of fireworks framed by the beautiful streets buildings- and all only a meter from our hostels doorsteps. Every time we turned a corner or did anything in Valencia we would be greeted by some spectacular sight!
 
Our first steps out of the train station revealed the facade of one of the most lovely train stations l have ever seen. Decorated by orange (fruit) sculptures which Valencia is famous for producing we stepped out onto the street, only to feel like we were in Rome and not Spain. For before us stood the brightly lit "Colosseum" like building- which is actually the Valencia bullfighting ring. After our eventful night full of street fireworks and wine we awoke to the sound of singing and guitars! I stared at our beautiful fresco ceiling in the dorm room asking myself if l was dreaming this beautiful sound l could hear. Taking two steps to our balcony and opening the shutters l stepped out and looked upon a scene l had always dreamed of seeing. Below me on the streets of Valencia were four priests in white carrying crosses and candles and behind them was a sea of people holding palms in their hands and singing beautifully! The procession was scattered with men playing Spanish styled guitar to accompany the massed singing. The scene and sound was breathtaking and me and Kat who had raced to my side soon realized that we were watching a Palm Sunday procession. I had always wanted to visit Spain at Easter time due to the country and peoples well known deep faith and display of it at this time of year. It was a beautiful sight l hope l never forget!
 
We soon after hit the streets of Valencia and walked to the beautiful Plaza Del Virgin with its gorgeous fountain. We entered the lovely Cathedral and sat and watched Spanish sung mass and ventured behind the altar to see the withered left arm of St. Vincent. It was pretty withered! We then saw the reputedly "Holy Grail," the cup used at the last supper....and the only Holy Grail recognized by the Vatican. Although however it may not be the original, it was still an amazing moment gazing at a cup that Christ himself may have drunk from and which represented the first communion.
 
A little Spiritually overloaded we decided to sample some "Tapas" a typical Spanish food which can really consist of anything in a two bite sized piece. We visited the lovely, famous and traditional looking Sagardi Tapas Bar (6 San Vicente Martir), where we selected our Tapas from the bar, which were secured on a toothpick and once finished we took our toothpicks back to the bar and paid for each tapa per number of toothpicks (1 Euro each). It was a strange but simple system we all liked. Sitting on our bar stools eating our mixture of sweet and sour tapas and drinking strong Spanish coffee we looked out upon a beautiful cathedral and street and people looked in enviously as we smiled, chatted and ate our delicious tapas!
 
Having somewhat satisfied our stomachs (l find l can never eat enough Tapas!) we decided to check out the nearby Plaza del Ayuntamiento....a huge square dominated by an enormous fountain is where we saw some of the city most beautiful buildings a group of girls dressed in traditional Spanish dress. From here we decided to walk to the modern part of Valencia Ciudad de las Artes de Las Ciencias, Valencias City of Arts and Sciences, Europe's largest urban complex. We had heard that you cant leave Valencia without seeing these futuristic buildings, even just for photographic reasons. We walked for thirty minutes down a beautiful Palm tree lined boulevard until we reached a bridge and were greeted by a sight most kids would die for! It was the biggest and strangest looking playground we had ever seen. We soon discovered it was in the shape of a man lying down holding a sword and hat- and Kat identified it as Gulliver's Travels. It was too much for us to resist- we climbed up his nose, scrambles over his stomach and slid down his coast tails and through his shoes! We also witnessed more firework displays on the top of his hat. It was quite simply the most amazing playground l had ever been on!! Haven gotten the inner child within us its fix for the day, we continued walking through the lovely Valencian park along with all the Sunday walking Valencians and watched the crazy skaters and bike riders at the skate park and took photos of the cutest toilet signs. We soon arrived at the Science and art museums and l suddenly felt like l had been transported to a strange land with a mix between Sydney harbor and a space-age/futuristic scene! It was some of the most amazing modern architecture l had ever witnessed...of course nothing can beat Sydney!
 
After our fun on the playground and long walk we decided to take the bus to the beach- where we past the port where the Americas Cup (famous Yacht race) was going to be held in a couple of weeks. We soon reached the beach, which was flat and speckled with beach umbrellas and boats and a couple of yachts practicing for the big race ahead. We watched them and took a few photos and tried to find some good gelati but after our amazing beach experience in Alicante the previous day, the windy and flat Valencia beach boulevard did nothing for us. So we decided to catch the high speed tram back to the city where we had seen some amazing looking gelati in our favorite plaza overlooking the Cathedral. Arriving off the tram we walked over a bridge which crossed where the Valencia river used to run through, but which the people had drained and replaced the riverbed with miles of soccer fields of course! We watched a girls soccer match taking place below us as we gazed down with the sun upon our heads and watched the miles of Sunday afternoon soccer games taking place in front of us. We then walked back through my favorite palaza (del Virgen) and we were so happy in the sun and beautiful Valencia that Kat started dancing like Gene Kelly in singing in the rain across the street. We soon started inventing out Valencia/Spain song "Singing in Spain," this is how it went "Iam singing in Spain, just singing in Spain. What a gaupa (beautiful) feeling lam happy in the sun again. Ill walk down the palaza with gaupa women and a tapa. Iam singing just singing in Spain." Ok cheesy but l will not forget singing it at the top of lungs through the streets of Valencia!
 
We finished our perfect day eating amazing tiramusu gelati beneath the cathedral and shaking orange trees trying to get ourselves some free fruit for our long train ride to Madrid! The locals didn't look to happy with us....but there we so many and it was too hard to resist!
 
We picked up our bags from our fantastic and beautiful Purple nest hotel (which we were all sad to leave!) and walked back to our orange train station passing a group of beautiful and traditionally dressed Spanish women and girls in Ayuntamiento palaza. A perfect end to a beautiful day in gorgeous Valencia!!! This city definitely captured all of our hearts....we were very sad to leave this city which we all stated that we would be happy living in!
 
Alas we had to board our train to Madrid...a train ride which went past gorgeous abandoned Spanish houses and orchards filled with orange trees beneath towering cliffs scattered with monasteries overlooking the beautiful sight below them. As the sun set over the cactus lined desert we sat back and watched a movie on the train in Spanish (l will take Spanish trains over flying any day!!!)- a bit of a crazy one but still an amazing train ride. We arrived in Madrid- preparing ourselves for our 4th city we had visited in two days- and a big night out filled with tapas bars and flamenco dancing!
 
 
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