September 26, 2013

Today we went into Valencia for a school trip. Driving around in the bus got tedious and the majority of us ended up napping until we came to a stop and started a tour to learn about the city’s history.


History Lesson

Valencia is the fourth most populated after Andalusia, Catalonia and Madrid with more than 4.9 million inhabitants. It is located along the Mediterranean coast in the south-east of the Iberian peninsula. It borders with Catalonia to the north, Aragon and Castile–La Mancha to the west, and Murcia to the south. It is formed by the provinces of Castellón, Valencia and Alicante.

Its origins date back to the Catalan-Aragonese colonization by the Crown of Aragon, after the Moorish Taifa of Valencia was taken by James I of Aragon in 1238 during the Reconquista. The newly founded Kingdom of Valencia was granted wide self-government under the Crown of Aragon with the promulgation of its Furs in 1261. Valencia experienced its golden age in the 15th century, becoming the economic and cultural capital of the Crown and contributing with the most important works of Catalan medieval literature.

Flag of the Valencian Country


 

One of the most beautiful parts of Valenica is the quarter that houses the City of Arts and Sciences. Much more contemporary than other sectors in Valencia, it is a testament to the gift that Santiago Calatrava has as an architect.

Another site I adored was La Lonja. A Gothic style building built in the 1400’s that included a walled courtyard/ orange garden. This building was used by merchants for meetings and trading goods like silk and oil. However, it was one of the lower level rooms that really caught my attention. Standing in the center of this expanse, gives the feeling of being centered. I always feel that when I visit places like this, I should let its history affect me. I loved this room. Even after the group moved on to the orange gardens, I stayed behind with a student, we sat on the exquisite tile, and let our blood absorb it all as we stared at an intricately designed ceiling. Feeling a sense of calm is far and few between these days, and I will grasp on to any moment I find.

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Before we were given our hours of free time to wander the city, we visited Catedral de Valencia and had to climb the 207 windy stairs of the Toree del Micalet to get a view of Valencia, blue tiles domes and nearby churches from 167 feet. Also, at the top of the tower is the infamous El Micalet up close and personal. El Micalet is one the the 12 bells in the tower and weighs in at over 24,000 pounds.

As you can imagine, after a climb like that we were a bit winded, but with 5+ hours of free time we decided we could take our time. Our group set out, Amipa, Manerva, Kip, Sesame and myself, to locate souvenirs and food.

NOW. If it’s one thing I despise it’s shopping. Add on people walking slow and not being able to make up their minds? DEFINITE NO.

And that’s exactly what happened. Sesame and I blew through the motions, got souvenirs, got ice cream, and we still were waiting on the rest to lazily amble down the way. The hilarious part was that we were the only two who could actually read a map at the time, so having the perverse idea to leave them behind clearly wasn’t an option. *sigh*

And yes, we have 5+ hours, so what’s the rush??

It took 2 hours for them to decide on something to eat cause they are ‘picky’ about Spanish food.

*rolls eyes*

I did NOT come to Europe to eat McDonalds or Starbucks, and that’s all they could decide on. Then they ate a bit slow, distracted by free wifi,  except one who ate fast and then wanted to eat all of our left over food. So we ended up with less than 2 hours, which worked for me, but was not enough time for them.

Mmmhmm. Never going to any store with them again if I can help it.

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