Our final tour in Valencia was to the City of Arts & Sciences. Valencia used to have a river running through the centre that used to flood all the time and after the last time in the 1950s they decided to divert the river around the city (flooding rivers seem to be a theme in Spain!). Anyway, they were left with an enormous dry river bed and didn’t quite know what to do with it.
They couldn’t just leave it as a gaping hole in the ground – it went for 9kms through the city. The choice was to make it a multi lane highway or an open public space….. so over the space or 30 years, they have made it into the most awesome open public space. Running tracks, playgrounds, walking/bike paths, baseball & football fields, ponds & fountains, a performance space…
… and this – the City of Arts and Sciences, which is an architectural marvel.
The second half of our tour was to be wined and dined by Nick, our chef who presented us with a 10 course degustation tapas dinner with matching wines on the top floor of Valencia’s tallest building.
The views weren’t too bad….
Then the sun went down and all the lights came on…
Then like clockwork – the moon came up and she was a beauty. It was one of those moons that were really red and full and so clear that you could see the little American flag not waving…. almost. But naturally, you can’t take good photos of the moon with your iPhone. It just doesn’t do it any justice.
But in real life, it just got better and better.
Our group consisted of a couple (one from the USA, who spoke a bit of Spanish and the other from Estonia – English speaking); a couple from Romania (he spoke a little bit of English, a more Spanish, she spoke both languages well); 3 older siblings from Spain who only spoke Spanish and us.
So, we wondered what was going to happen over dinner with this big language barrier, but thought that there were enough people with both Spanish and English that we should all get along well.
However…. the couple from Romania didn’t speak to anyone except each other, the Spanish trio spoke a little bit to each other, but not much and the man from USA talked solidly and exclusively about himself in English to us.
I tried desperately to use google translate to communicate with my table mate – one of the Spanish ladies which was funny even it if wasn’t successful, and so in my very broken one word Spanish and a bit of mime, we had a laugh together. It wasn’t until half way through the dinner that we learned Mr USA could speak Spanish and he spent what time he wasn’t regaling us with his achievements, letting the Spanish speakers know which part of his achievements they’d missed out on. He asked no questions. Maybe his knowledge of Spanish (and English) was limited to “I” statements only.
Anyway….. besides that little snippet, it was a lovely evening with a great view and delicious food….. and I may have a new best friend from Pamplona.