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Valencia….an insight into Spanish city life

Something wonderful about Valencia is that it isn’t quite like a tourist city; you don’t get too many touristy things going on around you. Everything is in Spanish, which made me feel like I was in some exotic land. Rupali Dean tells more.

india Updated: Feb 03, 2009 17:12 IST
Rupali Dean

Something wonderful about Valencia is that it isn’t quite like a tourist city; you don’t get too many touristy things going on around you. Everything is in Spanish, which made me feel like I was in some exotic land. The locals speak little English. The experience is great and the feel, as to what Spanish city life is like, pretty authentic. However there is a hop- on-hop-off bus which takes you on a tour of the whole city and is a great bargain for just 14 euros.

Modernity blends with history
Valencia is a pleasant cosmopolitan city, with a history going back twenty one centuries, but at the same time very contemporary indeed. The city has astounding civic architecture; the Town Hall, Post Office and Norte Train station, Central market are all wonderfully elaborate edifices! We also toured the Cathedral, a mixture of Gothic and Neo-classical architecture, in the city center. It also houses paintings by Goya and, is also known to be the keeper of the Holy Grail, recognized by the Vatican as the cup that Christ drank from at the Last Supper and it still attracts thousands of visitors a year.

Amazing fact
Originally Valencia had a river running through the city but it was diverted around the city and the reclaimed river bed was turned into recreation areas. It is interesting to go over to a river bridge and look down to find children playing soccer instead of flowing water.

Oceanografico...an underwater voyage
The Oceanografico is a huge complex of its type and the largest in Europe; it houses more than 45,000 life forms of 500 different species. They populate nine under water towers, structured on two levels that represent the most emblematic marine ecosystem. The stars however are a group of twenty Bottlenose Dolphins that perform there. Art lovers do not also miss the nearby city of arts and sciences. For lunch break try a hamburger joint or fine dine at the submarine restaurant.

Valencian cuisine
Think Paella and you think Valencia, a reason why I visited the city. Interestingly no Paella recipe is the same and varies from one place to another, and according to the time of the year. Most people understand that the most authentic and famous is the seafood paella , however I discovered that the traditional Paella includes , apart from rice , chicken, rabbit and vegetables, green beans (similar to fava ), white bean and even snails. I had a great meal at a restaurant called Rall, alfresco style….mama mia...It sure was fun. Another great restaurant that specialises in Valencian food is Cullera del Palau at Plaza de Manises 3.

Shopping
The city is high on the fashion quotient and while most of the traditional shops and boutiques are at the Central market, a must visit is the Ensanche, at the colon market, the most prestigious commercial area in the city. Handbags, wallets, scarves and shoes by the world’s famous brands can be found here.

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