Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Celia puts a brave face on it
Today we managed two trips out, in spite of Celia’s sore foot. She bravely walked along at a snail’s pace, and eventually we got to where we were going.
First trip was to the covered Market, [see photo] which is reputed to the be the largest covered market in Europe. It may be, but it wasn’t somehow as pleasant as the market in Barcelona, which was only a couple of blocks away from our place of residence. The Valencia market is very spacious, and things are divided up more clearly, so that the fish market is isolated from the rest. Yet it didn’t have the friendly feel of the Barcelona one, nor the exuberance of the Melbourne one we saw three years ago. Never mind, we bought plenty of food there, enough to keep us going until we go home. It’s the first time we’ve actually had food on hand to any extent. We had a cup of coffee each in the café across the road - a real blue collar café - and the coffee was very black.
On the way back I found that there was an art exhibition in the building next door. I think the place is called Obras Sociales - or it could be Caja Mediterráneo. Both names appear on the two catalogues they gave me for free. Entry was free as well.
There were two exhibitions, one related to mental health in the community (related very loosely, but that’s by the by), and the other by Marlén Ramos, about whom I know nothing really since the text is all in Spanish. Both were good exhibitions: the first had paintings collected together from a variety of 20th century artists, many of whom are now dead. Ramos’ work came under the cover of ‘Patchwork Paintings’ and were carefully crafted abstract pieces. Both the catalogues have reproductions of all the paintings in their respective exhibitions. That was a bonus.
Our second trip out was to the Aquarium. We got the 95 bus as far as we thought it went and then found that it went all the way. Unfortunately this meant Celia had to walk some distance, from in front of the Science Museum, past the next building and the covered garden and right down and around the corner to the Aquarium entrance. In due course we got there!
Pluses. The walruses were a delight, swimming on their backs right under where we were watching from, and huffing and puffing and grunting and making rude noises in their usual fashion. The something-or-other whale (I’ll really have to take a notebook with me) was equally enthusiastic about swimming past us, as was a single penguin in a large area that had lots of other penguins preening themselves. The first area we went into had fish from coral reef areas; two huge tanks with hundreds of fish of all sorts swimming around. There were seats between the two tanks so you could just sit and relax. (After our walk it was essential.) The hypnotic tank of jellyfish, and of course, the seahorses and seadragons were a delight.
Minuses. In spite of this being touted as the biggest aquarium in the world, it isn’t the most exciting. It’s spread out over a large area, but includes three restaurants in that area. The walruses and that whale are in tanks that really aren’t big enough for them long-term, and having an aviary in an aquarium seems a bit odd. The flamingoes and pelicans have a lot of room, but there are only ducks in another pond (!) and what are they all doing in an aquarium? The tropical fish aren’t particularly colourful - in fact, there were far more colourful fish in the shop we went to in Norfolk (for free) than there were here.
I think the aquarium in Melbourne, though not so large in terms of space, is actually better value for money. Presumably the Valencia one has plenty of room to expand!
Worst Minus: the terrible music that accompanies you wherever you go in this place. It's monotonous and trivial.
And so back onto the 95 bus, which we thought would take us in a loop back around to the Towers of Serranos, which are at the top of our street. When we got to the bridge across the riverbed that leads onto the towers, Celia said she didn’t feel like walking across, so we stayed on the bus assuming that in ten minutes or so it would come back closer to home. Half an hour later we finally got there, having gone into the depths of suburban Valencia, and sat for five or ten minutes while the driver had a break. In the meantime it had got dark, which made seeing the Towers more difficult. And we were very hungry.