Tuesday

Notes from Valencia - The Must Visit City of Arts and Sciences

I've been back a few weeks but my mind keeps returning to the fabulous gardens in Valencia, formerly the riverbed of the Turia and the amazing futuristic white city I found there.

Notes from Valencia - The Must Visit City of Arts and Sciences, photo by modernbricabrac




The Turia Gardens spread over 9 km (5 and a half miles) and walking from the Palau de la Musica I passed through avenues of eucalyptus, olive groves, towering pines and under bridges. The place was alive with cyclists, joggers and families enjoying the late afternoon sunshine.

Notes from Valencia - The Must Visit City of Arts and Sciences, photo by modernbricabrac
The Turia Gardens

After walking for about thirty minutes I reached a raised rose bed with a water feature to my right. In the centre stood Neptune with his trident in hand ready to attack, in the distance lay the start of a futuristic world of water, bright white mosaic tiles and large sculpted buildings designed by Calatrava.

Notes from Valencia - The Must Visit City of Arts and Sciences, photo by modernbricabrac


Enormous buildings ranged before me, sculpted into unique identities. In front of me lay the skeleton of a whale, to my right was a giant helmet and along the horizon stretched away an elevated archway from something out of Star Wars. Light bounced in all directions and walkways invited me onwards between large water features and towards the long raised promenade, the Umbracle.

Notes from Valencia - The Must Visit City of Arts and Sciences, photo by modernbricabrac


Conceived by Spain's internationally recognised architect, Santiago Calatrava, the scale and design of the site is stunning to behold. Putting aside the financial cost of it all, the Palau de les Artes alone went 45 euro million over budget, with ongoing repairs adding an even greater burden, the architecture is still awe-inspiring.

I had been tempted to visit the site despite my love for historic architecture by a picture I had seen of the archway over palm trees. As I climbed the stairs towards them, the experience, in reality, was worth prioritising.

Notes from Valencia - The Must Visit City of Arts and Sciences, photo by modernbricabrac

Notes from Valencia - The Must Visit City of Arts and Sciences, photo by modernbricabrac

Once I reached the end of the 320 metre long Umbracle I headed back to ground level where there was an art installation with sculptures by Manolo Valdes. Perfectly suited to the grand scale of the buildings surrounding them, six monumental heads have been installed outside the Science building, in the southern pool.

Notes from Valencia - The Must Visit City of Arts and Sciences, photo by modernbricabrac

Notes from Valencia - The Must Visit City of Arts and Sciences, photo by modernbricabrac


The exhibition runs until 10 December 2017 when all but one of the sculptures will be removed. One, in particular, caught my eye, an aluminium head with a huge broad-rimmed hat stood out, the Pamela.

Notes from Valencia - The Must Visit City of Arts and Sciences, photo by modernbricabrac
The Pamela by Valdes

Notes from Valencia - The Must Visit City of Arts and Sciences, photo by modernbricabrac


The other heads were adorned with butterflies or huge spherical shapes. Everywhere in Valencia there seemed to be echoes of the feminine form. From the Holy Chalice in the old Cathedral to the architecture of Calatrava and the sculptures of Valdes. A modern city of arts and sciences that embraces the feminine in my view is an optimistic future.

Ciutat de les Artes I les Ciences, Valencia, Spain

Happy Travelling

Sarah xx


photo 
Sarah Agnew
Blogger, Modern Bric a Brac
    

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