Thursday, October 19, 2017

City of Arts and Sciences

On my second full day in Valencia I was determined to go to an area they call the City of Arts and Sciences.  It is an architectural complex that is built on what used to be a riverbed.  I learned that Valencia used to be flooded every year by the River Turia.  Eventually, the river was re-routed and the riverbed was turned into a cluster of very modern buildings.  They are controversial because, although they are amazing and are a huge tourist attraction, they were very expensive and some have had to be repaired after being open only a short while.  The first buildings were opened in 1998, and others were later.  Above is a view of a building called L'Hemisferic (IMAX, planetarium, etc.) and the Palau de les Arts (theater, music, dance) is in the background.  I didn't go into either of those....there just wasn't enough time, and there were no performances scheduled.  The clear balls in the foreground above are part of some water amusement activities.  They are big enough for a person to get into.  There are also small clear boats and other small watercraft, as in the picture below.  Isn't the water beautiful?

I went into the Museu de les Ciences (science museum) and then L'Oceanographic.  The science museum was amazing.  The building itself is a work of art.  This is an interior shot:

Seeing the people gives you a sense of scale, and this is just the upper part.  There is a variety of exhibits---biological science, physics, astronomy, dinosaurs, etc.  One that particularly caught my attention was one where you could observe chickens hatching.  They would hatch in a staggered pattern, so I guess a lot of care went into the incubation.  I am not sure this picture does it justice:
The chick is a little hard to is toward the top center. It had just hatched and was floppy and tired.  I came back later, and there were more chicks hatched and that first one had pretty well fluffed out and actually looked like a chick.  This is all under glass, but was very interesting.  I had never seen chicks hatching before.  In another part, you can play tic-tac-toe with a computer, and I think the computer nearly always wins...even when you go first.  There was so much to see, but I didn't wasn to miss the "L'Oceanografic" complex.  

"L'Oceanografic" is several buildings and meant to replicate the world's main marine ecosystems.  It has some outdoor as well as indoor areas to provide a variety of habitats, and is the largest aquarium in Europe.  In case you wonder, the largest is in China.  One thing I really liked was a tunnel I walked through with an aquarium on both sides and the ceiling.

Again, the picture doesn't do it justice.  I also had lunch underground in an aquarium.  It was huge and very fancy.  

I also went to the Dolphinarium and saw a dophin show, which I normally would avoid because I think they are exploitative of the animals.  However, it seemed to be mild and the keepers were professional.  Plus, the weather was great and it was fun to sit outside for awhile. 

That night I found the supermarket I hadn't been able to find the first night.  It was great.  Everything was 1.20 euros for a liter!  A good variety of produce and meat and some snacks.   It was a good day and I learned those tourist hop on/hop off bus can be a good way to get around.  My bus ticket today is still good tomorrow and I will use it. 

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