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Published: September 20th 2013
Valencia on eastern coast of Spain 10 Sept 2013
After driving nearly 380 kms through reasonably flat countryside, we arrived in Valencia on the coast of Spain. As soon as we arrived in this city of Valencia, the city of over 800,000 people, famous for its ceramics has also added the most expensive new multi-building precinct in Europe – the Ciudad De Las Artes Y Las Ciencias named this series of buildings didn’t have a marketing bone in their body!!!!! The 4 major buildings are for Art & Science, Museum for cinema and theatre (incl and IMAX Dome), Science Museum, and a massive aquarium. There is also a landscaped garden with local plants. Most of the buildings appear to float in water as there is water all around them. The complex has several restaurants as well. Quite stunning.
We looked around this area after settling into the camp site and catching a bus into the city. We then decided to catch a Hop-on-Hop-off bus which is the best way to see a big city.
We discovered that they had completely diverted part of the river that flowed through the city and the bed of the old river is
now an amazing focal point for the city with numerous recreational and sporting facilities. We saw 100s of people playing basketball, soccer, table tennis, cycling, walking, play grounds etc, etc. This was very clever town planning, although some might say environmentally inappropriate!!! But it works as a hub for the city.
We found it to be a lovely city with the usual historical sites and Gothic cathedral. The city gates were a high light, built in 1391.
The next day we were on our way up to coast, heading towards Barcelona.
Along the coast, we travelled through orange groves, vineyards and other citrus orchards. We spotted the beach from time to time. We stopped at Peniscola for lunch, with its beautiful beaches and the white-walled cottages which surrounded the stone castle, perched on one of the rocky points on the coast. This castle was used in the film El Cid.
We travelled further north to Tarragona which is a major industrial port but a place where many Roman structures are being preserved. It was the capital of the Roman province Tarraconensis. There is a Roman Amphitheatre, and a Roman tower which was late converted to a
Throughout the day in every town and village we drove through, we saw 100s of people with yellow and orange clothes and flags, being controlled by police, with a number of roads closed. We didn’t know what it was all about but knew it was an important regional celebration of some sort. When we were paying one of the road tolls we asked the young girl in the toll booth what was the celebration. We were in the Catalonian Region which is a region with their own language (Castilian Spanish) and its own semi-autonomous government. It was their Independence Day on 11 September. They were recognizing their loss of their independence on this day in 1714 and have been doing so every year since then. There were Catalonian flags hanging from houses and balconies. There were 100s of people congregating in parks, marching on roads etc. It was an amazing site. They would love to have their complete autonomy from Spain but are OK with what they have at the moment!!!!
We finished our 380 km drive into Barcelona, arriving at about 6.00pm at the 3 Estrellas Camping Park which was about 30 minutes out of
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