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Valencia where tradition and modernism collide

8th-12th June 2020 - Doug & Terry

VALENCIA

Valencia is a city that one should visit at least once in a lifetime.

While we won’t necessarily be going for the beaches or the gentle warmth of the Catalan sun – they will be welcome, nonetheless.

Indeed, the locals say that Valencia is a ‘little piece of heaven, fallen to earth’, and who are we to argue as we take in the palm fringed squares, fountains, pools and dazzling modern architecture.

We have been lured to Valencia by the compelling juxtaposition of the Old Town - buzzing with street art, pavement cafes and captivating charm - and the ultra-modern architecture of the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (The City of Arts and Sciences) .

What an incredible vision of the future it is – sweeping white structures mirrored in crystal clear pools, resplendent in the day against the deep blue Spanish skies and beautifully illuminated at night. Valencia is a city of contradictions and questions, a city of answers and riddles – certainly a city to feed our creative souls.

We will be based right in the heart of the old town. This will allow us to dispense with a vehicle. We can be free to wander the streets as we wish, unencumbered – and explore the delights of Catalan architecture.

We will explore the Main Valencia Cathedral and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the La Lonja de Seda Silk Exchange in all its gothic glory.

MERCADO CENTRAL

Our explorations will undoubtedly take us into the famous Central Market – housed within a classic Modernist building with high ceilings and impressive art deco style details. It was recently refurbished bringing back the beauty of the original colourful ceramic tiles.

Valencia's Mercado Central is the largest market in Europe. Covering over 8,000 square metres with almost 1,500 food stalls. This is a place to head to discover a genuinely local Valencia, to mingle with the locals, enjoy the bustle of everyday life and immerse ourselves fully in the local culture.

CHURROS....

After all the walking, perhaps we stop to indulge in a second breakfast of a portion of churros. Or the Valencian equivalent - ‘Horchata’ at Santa Catalina’s two hundred year old café in the Plaza de la Reina. Accompanied - of course - by hot chocolate.

It is said that hot chocolate in Spain is like tea in England - an institution. Make no mistake - this will be hot chocolate the likes of which we do not generally encounter in the UK. Thick enough to cling to the sugared ridged of our churros with a richness to match. As with all Bailey Chinnery workshops, we have arranged for these treats to be completely calorie free.

CITY OF THE ARTS

As a contrast to the Old Town we can use public transport for the short ride over to the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias. Here we have such a contrast to work with. Sleek lines, clear, distinct colours. Ripples, reflections, light and shade. Undoubtedly we will spend time here at sundown to capture the magical blue hour.

Modern architecture gives us enormous scope for creative interpretation.

A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT......

Most cities have riverbanks to stroll along; Valencia has a whole river. The Jardín del Túria stretches for 9km through the city. When the river Túria flooded it was diverted south. The former riverbed is now a landscaped parkland walk with swathe of greenery, trees, sculptures and water features, crisscrossed by 18 bridges – some designed by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava.

Jardín del Túria

We feel sure that in the time we have here in Valencia we will fall in love with this city of contrasts. It is a place where we can slow down time and clear our minds – a place to focus entirely on our creativity and enjoying time with like-minded friends.

Being Spain, we will be sure to take time out to enjoy La Buena Vida (which admittedly doesn't sound as poetic as La Dolce Vita). Spaniards themselves never tire of saying: "En España, se vive muy bien." (In Spain, one lives very well.)