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Thursday, 6 September 2012

A Day out to Valencia by Train

Taking the train from L'Alcudia de Crespins (the closest station and easy, free parking) for the day, from Chella is a dream.  Trains run every thirty minutes from

Arriving in Valencia del Norte one is struck by the beautiful Art Nouveau of the ticket office, waiting area and station building.  It's worth taking a moment or two to look around.  As you exit the building the bull ring is the the right and the Metro directly ahead and slightly to the right.  Very easy to find for anyone who needs it.  The best way to visit the city is either to take a tour on one of the tourist buses to get a general feel for it, and if you have more than one day available to tour, or to just head out on foot, picking up a tourist map from one of the tourist information centres.  If you are fit and healthy enough to do so, it is an easy city to walk, although it can be humid and hot.  In the afternoon there is usually a gentle breeze which makes exploring more pleasant if you are there in the summer months.  There are also bicycle points all around the city where you can just put in your money, take a bicycle and drop off at another point later on - a superb idea as part of Europe's CityCycle Scheme for a more sustainable environment.  Below is a picture (not in Valencia) but of what they basically look like.  It's a great idea and a fabulous way to get around the city.

Valencia is a beautiful city with fabulous architecture.  It's worth visiting the Cathedral and taking an audio tour.  There is art "rescued" by the Borgia family, some Goya paintings and discovery of all discoveries - the "Holy Grail"!  Who would have known it - and not a single knight saying "Ni" to be found anywhere. For anyone who is unfamiliar with the "Knights who say Ni" and other Pythonisms, please do refer to Wikipedia where a full explanation can be found!

Below are just a few of the photos I took, there is so much to see we will certainly be making another trip back - especially to visit the area of the silk market.  There are fabulous little bars in the back streets - we found one with plants all around the doors and windows and a waiter with a sense of humour who brought us "aphrodisiacs" at the end of the meal with a wink, a smile and a tip of the head (?!)  Of course we had to try out paella as Valencia is the home of this dish and it's "not" what many people think it is - no sea food in sight.  It was delicious but we plan to track down a couple of the recommended restaurants next time - the one we had planned on was shut for holidays.  
The Holy Grail 

The Holy Grail:  The Cup is made of agate stone - a popular material for drink vessels in early times. It is a homogenous piece cut out entirely from a lare chunk of agate, 9 cm in diameter. The stand and other decorations of gold and pearls were added to the supporting structure over the centuries.  The following is taken from Wikipedia:

One of the supposed Holy Chalices in the world is revered in one of this cathedral's chapels; this chalice has been defended as the true Holy Grail; indeed, most Christian historians all over the world declare that all their evidence points to this Valencian chalice as the most likely candidate for being the authentic cup used at the Last Supper.[1] It was the official papal chalice for many popes, and has been used by many others, most recently by Pope Benedict XVI, on July 9, 2006.[2] This chalice dates from the 1st century, and was given to the cathedral by king Alfonso V of Aragon in 1436.

To the left - one of the many little streets you will wander through on your tour of Valencia.  Turning every corner is a delight.  Walking through the city is like stepping back in time and to our amazement it was very quiet!  We visited on August 21st - although I have no idea if this date is generally quiet in Valencia.

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