Day 18 – Valencia

Today, I visit the City Hall, which is almost right around the corner from my lodging. Its facade shows signs of attack from the Spanish Civil War. I wish I knew more about this period of Spanish history. Actually, I know very little about Spanish history, but what little I’m picking up here is fascinating.

The sumptuous delegation room is open to the public.

A history museum and archive focuses on the history of the town. This enormous map shows the historic center and is accompanied by a digital version which allows viewers to zoom in to particular areas.

Next I visit the massive central market.

The interior is spacious and pleasant, despite the crowds.

I decide on paella for lunch, hoping I’ll find a shady spot to enjoy it.

These Spanish women try to figure out how to get a souvenir market coin out of the machine. A mystery, even in their own language!

The circumference of the market is beautifully tiled.

Restoration work seems to be ongoing and never ending.

I next visit the Silk Market, the Lonja de la Seda, a UNESCO Heritage Site located right next to the central market. It is a fascinating building where mercantile transactions took place in the 1500s.

The beautiful spiral columns wind up into arches above.

An excellent audio guide describes the main features both inside and out.

Next I walk to the Cathedral, passing by a building clearly constructed from older structures. Older heads and bodies serve as stones for newer buildings.

The plaza in front of the Cathedral is full of people and activity. Here a woman advertises her braid work in front of a bear suit that awaits its suitor.

While I relax in the shade, I sit next to these two Italian kids. The girl decides on braidwork, while the guy checks his hairstyle out in a mirror. I spend about a hour in the Cathedral, and they are still there when I come out.

A finger painter makes landscapes in minutes for 6 Euro or 2 for 10, all just using his fingers.

The Cathedral’s massive facade.

The Cathedral is built over a Roman temple and a Muslim mosque. The altar has been modified in the 17th century.

Workers doing a renovation in 2004 were amazed to find these paintings of angels that had been covered by the 17th century renovation.

The incorrupt hand and arm of St. Vincent the Martyr, patron saint of Valencia. What’s the attraction with relics? The need to preserve and venerate. Bits of the Buddha are found in stupas throughout Asia.

The Cathedral is home to the Holy Chalice, said to be that cup used by Christ at the last supper and brought to Rome where the early Popes celebrated Mass with it. And somehow it landed in Veracruz.

Outside the Cathedral the mood is lighter. Children love these animals, who bounce up and down and wiggle to gain attention.

Next I visit the Ceramics Museum, housed in the Marques de Dos Aguas Palace.

The Marques owned the super Rolls-Royce of the time, called the Nymph Carriage.

A room decked out in porcelain.

On the way home, I sit down for a snack, my new favorite veggie. The secret is in the salt, so I may not be able to duplicate it at home.

Tomorrow I leave Valencia for Xativa, where I start an eco-print workshop. It should be a good change of pace.

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