Day 3: Valencia's City of Arts and Sciences - Grampies Go Valencia to Paris: Spring 2024 - CycleBlaze

February 9, 2024

Day 3: Valencia's City of Arts and Sciences

Heart 0 Comment 0

Although Valencia is a port on the Mediterranean, the main life of the city does not seems focussed on the port,  as least as far as we have seen to this point. Rather, there is the linear park formed when the Turia river was diverted away from the town.  And near the port end of the park there is City of Arts and Sciences, which was built over a former industrial area. The buildings that comprise this area are stunning architectural masterpieces, in the dramatic style we associate with world's fairs or Olympics. There is an art museum, an Imax theatre, a science museum, a convention center, and an aquarium, among others. We, of course, could not miss spotting these when we came by, out of Germany, last year. We took lots of photos then, and promised ourselves that we would visit inside when we came back. We are back, and this was our day to see inside the buildings.  

Dodie had recommended that we stay at a hotel just near the "City", so we could walk over. But I liked the ten jammer breakfast so much at the "NH Center", 5 km away, that I insisted on returning there. Here are some shots from that ten jammer, and then we will have to start walking and catching the bus to pay for having come here, rather than closer to what we were actually supposed to be doing.

We were not so late, but the fruits had already been attacked a bit.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Dodie was surprised that I went for the viennoiserie again, rather than the chocolate and other cake. But they hid those from me by requiring that I look up just slightly.
Heart 0 Comment 0
This is a kind of Spanish specialty section, with sauteed peppers and onions, and two varieties of Spanish omelette.
Heart 0 Comment 0

We had to walk along the park for a bit before reaching the bus stop. But almost immediately we spotted a small flock of Monk parakeets. We got a couple of shots before a jogger ran through them scattering them to the four winds. 

24088 Monk Parakeet
Heart 4 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0

I was momentarily disappointed, but then we ran into this Common Wood Pigeon, and a Eurasian Collared Dove.

24089 Common Wood Pigeon
Heart 1 Comment 4
Scott AndersonCommon wood pigeon?
Reply to this comment
2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Scott AndersonThanks Scott. We double checked and indeed it is a Common Wood Pigeon. Bird ID is harder when you go beyond is this a hawk? Is this a duck? Etc.
Reply to this comment
2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesStick with it. It gets easier.
Reply to this comment
2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Scott AndersonAgain thanks. It is sure a fun and interesting activity that we are enjoying doing together. Your help and encouragement are very much appreciated.
Reply to this comment
2 months ago
Eurasian Collared Dove
Heart 1 Comment 0

Google Maps led us exactly to the bus stop to pick up Line 95, which went right by the aquarium. We used the card we bought yesterday at the metro to get on the bus. At 50 euro cents per ride it was a real bargain. The reader on the bus reported the remaining rides left on our card, so the whole thing was very slick.

The bus was crowded, but Dodie's stick earned her an instant seat from a younger person.
Heart 3 Comment 0

We could track our progress along the route of the bus with the phone, so we never felt lost at all.  Very soon we were abreast of the building known as the Agora, and then we were at the aquarium, which is called the Oceanografic. This was really our main objective, sounding like the most interesting of the options at the site. It turned out to be far better than we had dreamed of!

The Agora building.
Heart 2 Comment 1
Karen PoretLooks like a tall version of the old Moffett Field in Mountain View, CA ;)
Reply to this comment
2 months ago
24090 Yellow-legged Gull, in the pool in front of the Agora.
Heart 0 Comment 0

We had thought that the aquarium would be basically a building full of fish tanks, but not so. Rather the Oceanografic occupies a spread out site, filled with various indoor and outdoor enclosures, through which we were guided on a winding series of pathways.

The main entrance building of the Oceanografic did house some various floor to ceiling aquarium tanks, but these were sort of samplers. The main function of the building was to channel the visitors out to the other sections of the site.

Heart 0 Comment 1
Karen PoretNo picnic! Where are you supposed to eat and enjoy yourselves then!
Reply to this comment
2 months ago
Inside the Oceanografic building there was the chance to experience its architecture and to look out to some of the surrounding great buildings.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Many of the displays featured weird and colourful jellyfish.
Heart 3 Comment 1
Karen PoretMonterey Aquarium style..:)
Reply to this comment
2 months ago

All sort of paths and tunnels gave access to the different parts of the site. Some of the featured exhibits were of marine life of the Mediterranean, the Arctic, and a huge dolphin pool.

Intriguing walkway.
Heart 1 Comment 0
One of the major exhibits. There were eighteen in total. All but a few were outdoors, and did not involve fish tanks. For example displays of flamingos, tortoises, and crocodiles.
Heart 0 Comment 0

With the Oceanografic being a largely outdoor thing, the grounds connecting the exhibits were very much a part of the experience. For us it turned out these grounds provided the main fun, because a large part of them was covered by water, in what they termed their "Living Lake". This water was teeming with water birds, and fish. Birds! - our latest mania. Many of the birds were different kinds of ducks, or waders, that had been put there. But the site also attracted wild birds, making it great for running around with the camera.

The Living Lake ran through the site.
Heart 2 Comment 0

In the water was a large assortment of ducks we had not seen before.

24091 Common Pochard
Heart 1 Comment 0
24092 Red Crested Pochard
Heart 3 Comment 0
24093 Common Shelduck
Heart 2 Comment 0
24094 Red Knobbed Coot - nesting
Heart 1 Comment 0
Here is the Coot working on building the nest.
Heart 1 Comment 0

The Oceanografic was very much into displaying water birds, no doubt because they were recognizing that not only fish are  tightly bound to the water. But they really got into it with an aviary chock full of water birds, mostly representing the wetlands of the nearby Albufera ecological park.

So many water birds!
Heart 1 Comment 0

Care was taken throughout the site to picture, name, and explain the fish or birds. The poster below is an example.

They show some of what may be seen here.
Heart 1 Comment 0

Here is a selection of birds that we spotted.

24095 Squacco Heron
Heart 1 Comment 0
Squacco Heron
Heart 1 Comment 0
24096 Roseate Spoon Bill
Heart 2 Comment 0
Roseate Spoon Bill
Heart 1 Comment 1
Bill ShaneyfeltNice! It even smiled for you!
Reply to this comment
2 months ago
Roseate Spoon Bill
Heart 0 Comment 0
24097 Eurasian Moorhen - aka Common Moorhen
Heart 3 Comment 0
24098 Chiffchaff
Heart 1 Comment 0
24099 Glossy Ibis non breeding
Heart 0 Comment 0
24100 Little Egret
Heart 0 Comment 0
24101 Gray Heron
Heart 0 Comment 0
24102 Striated Heron
Heart 3 Comment 0
Striated Heron
Heart 0 Comment 0
24103 Great Black Backed Gull
Heart 0 Comment 0
24104 Scarlet Ibis
Heart 1 Comment 0
Scarlet Ibis
Heart 3 Comment 0
24105 Ferruginous duck aka White-eyed Pochard
Heart 3 Comment 0
24106 Cattle Egret
Heart 1 Comment 0
24107 Eurasian Spoonbill - the white one
Heart 0 Comment 0
24108 Lake Duck - female aka Argentine Blue Bill
Heart 0 Comment 0

The grounds of the Oceanografic were so pleasant to walk around, not only for the water features but also for plants, for benches, and for paving stones and other materials under foot.

Heart 1 Comment 0

Flamingos, of two types,  pelicans, avocets, and more and more ducks, were not just incidental, but were intentional major displays. We just loved it.

24109 Greater Flamingo (an endangered species)
Heart 3 Comment 0
Greater Flamingo
Heart 1 Comment 0
Greater Flamingo seems so sleepy.
Heart 2 Comment 0
24110 Demoiselle Crane
Heart 1 Comment 0
24111 House Sparrow
Heart 0 Comment 0
24112 Northern Shoveler - female
Heart 0 Comment 0
24113 Marbled Duck
Heart 1 Comment 0
24114 Eastern White Pelican
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 3 Comment 0
24115 Eurasian Oystercatcher
Heart 0 Comment 0
24116 Pied Avocet
Heart 1 Comment 0
Pied Avocet - see the trademark curved beak.
Heart 1 Comment 0
24117 Black Winged Stilt
Heart 2 Comment 0
24118 European Shag -this was high atop one of the modernistic buildings.
Heart 0 Comment 0
It was really fun trying to spot the birds from the posters.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Trumpeter Swan - possible North American import
Heart 0 Comment 2
Karen Poret“Imported” from Disneyland, perhaps? ;)
Reply to this comment
2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Karen PoretWe were thinking more like from the farm fields down the road from our place at home.
Reply to this comment
2 months ago
24119 Great Cormorant
Heart 2 Comment 0
24120 White Headed Duck
Heart 0 Comment 0
24121 Black Necked Swan
Heart 0 Comment 0

One of the modernistic buildings housed a wonderful display of the Arctic. There were perhaps a dozen types of penguins there, many fish, and the star attractions - two Beluga whales.

The two storey Arctic display, featuring the Belugas and Penguins.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0

Outside the Arctic building, there was another major display of Flamingos - these being ones tagged as Chilean. The Chilean have a white and black bill, while the "Greater" have a pink and black bill. We particularly noticed the pink knees and toes of the Chileans as well.

Heart 1 Comment 0
24122 Chilean Flamingo-note the white bill, rather than pink
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0

Several types of tortoises could be found in other exhibits, not to mention turtles!

Radiated Tortoise
Heart 2 Comment 0
Gardener Tortoise
Heart 0 Comment 0

The final really big display was the dolphin pool. There were a couple of fixed times for dolphin shows, but we happened on feeding time. The fellow lying on the front of the boat was paddling, to provide the motive power, while the one in the back was handing out the goodies.

Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0

More walking in the lush environment, and we were ready to quit. To say we felt we had outr money's worth would be a big understatement.

Heart 2 Comment 0

Back out on the street, here are some of the nearby modern apartment buildings. The whole district is a demonstration of what modern design can be like. We still prefer the old city centers, but this was really nice as well.

Heart 1 Comment 0

We had also bought a ticket for the science museum, but by now we were so tired that we really could not do it. We did walk to the stunning building, and around for a bit, but we had to quit. 

Heart 1 Comment 0
Inside the science museum, the building design offers light and space.
Heart 2 Comment 0

Of the things we did see in the museum, here are two total random bits:

A display of antique bicycles. Designs were often trikes, many with extra big wheels, making up for a lack of gearing.
Heart 2 Comment 0
One of the major exhibits was about the art and science of Pixar, with interactive stations where someone not exhausted by spotting dozens of water birds could have experienced animation, lighting, clay modelling, and everything else to do with Pixar production.
Heart 0 Comment 0
I take this to be an authentic original Wall-E model!
Heart 3 Comment 0

We had considered cycling to the City of Arts and Sciences, but didn't because we would have worried about the locked bikes the whole time. It turned out good that we took the bus, because we were so tired by the end. But then, back at the NH Hotel, we found that we had taken something like 300 photos on the day. We started to go through, winnow down, and make sense of them, and though we made good progress, our computer did not. It declared itself too tired to continue, with a battery depleted even while plugged in. So we gave it and ourselves a break, and we all turned in, failing to post the blog promptly for  one of the first times in history! Anyway, we did it now.  Since you have read this far, we hope you have strength to soon look for the post covering the actual excitement for today!

Today's ride: 5 km (3 miles)
Total: 10 km (6 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 8
Comment on this entry Comment 5
Karen PoretEnjoyed the entire show! Next time I will bring popcorn ;)
Reply to this comment
2 months ago
marilyn swettWow - so many interesting birds/water fowl!
Reply to this comment
2 months ago
Jacquie GaudetI just added Oceanogràfic de València to my (long) list of things to see someday.
Reply to this comment
2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Jacquie GaudetIf you are ever in Valencia it is THE place to see, but leave yourself lots of time. We spent 3 and a 1/2 hours,nand felt a little rushed.
Reply to this comment
2 months ago
Jacquie GaudetValencia looks like a fantastic place to start a tour from. I like to spend a few days at the start to allow my luggage to catch up (if it got left behind), put my bike together, and recover a bit from jet lag.
Reply to this comment
2 months ago