Thursday, September 27, 2012

Valencia Trip (Part 1)

On Tuesday, my mum and I went on a coach trip to Valencia and the Botanical gardens there. I have been a couple of times to different attractions in Valencia, Bioparc, Ciudad de las Artes y Las Ciencias (both well worth visiting if you ever get the chance) and a Sorolla art exhibition with my art class. Also not forgetting the disastrous trip to Valencia I took with some relatives which, to cut a long story short, ended with us boarding a bus that went around and  around Valencia,but was no where near where we wanted to go, even though the bus driver assured me it would take us where we wanted to go! Up until this point, my mum has never seen Valencia city, so I was wondering whether or not she was going to enjoy it.

Very early (well, early for me) in the morning, we caught the excursion coach and travelled for about an hour before being dropped off in the centre of Valencia itself. For those not used to city life, this can be a bit of a culture shock, as you're bombarded with cars and buses darting in all directions and people rushing every where. One of the first things you will encounter, if you are travelling by yourself, is the train station, one of the prettiest buildings I have seen:


After a bit of wandering, mum and I had to have a plan, so we decided to go to the cathedral. Although there are many churches and cathedrals to visit in Valencia, but the majority of tourists head for Santa Maria Cathedral. The admission fee (about 3 euros each) included a guided commentary on headphones in many languages. What we didn't know, what that in order to get the headphones, you had to leave some form of I.D as a deposit, which is given back after returning the headphones. As mum and I had planned to pack as light as possible, neither of us had any bank cards, or any form of picture I.D. So it looked like we would have to go around the cathedral, without the audio tour. However, then I had an idea. I didn't want to give my camera over, because I was planning to take photos, so I gave the lady behind the counter something very precious to me......my mobile phone. The lady thought it was funny when I told her 'I will definitely give the headphones back now!'

The cathedral is a beautiful structure and it houses religious statues and painting (by famous painters such as Goya) which date as far back as the 12th century (and probably further). The funny thing is that even though these artifacts as really old, they are in so good condition that they look as if they were made yesterday.




 The cathedral is busy with tourists nearly every day, but that doesn't stop worship. Whilst we were there, a service was taking place. Also, at the statue of Mary, it is tradtional for pregnant ladies to pray at the statue and then walk around the cathedral 9 times, to represent the 9 months they are carrying their baby. This bring luck and wealth to the baby. Whilst we were there an expectant mother was doing the circuits of the cathedral. I didn't know it was possible to have a play so full of activity, but at the same time, be so serene.




After the cathedral, we were in need of a bit of retail therapy, so we found a department store called 'El Corte Ingl├ęs'. This is a well known department store in Spain and I would say that it was a cross between 'Harrods' and 'Debenhams'. Browsing around the different floors of the store, we saw designer clothes which makes like Prada and D&G. They halso had a huge section of handbags (my weakness), but unfortunately at 200 euros for the cheapest handbag, I could only look. The weird thing about the store was, that even thought the prices of items in the store were expensive, there were loads of people pushing and shoving past with their purchases.

When we exited the store (without buying anything), we wondered what to do next. Mum thought it would be a good idea to just walk along and see what we would find, but that's where everything went wrong. Having walked for a while aimlessly through the streets of Valencia, we realised that we were lost. Very lost. It was decided that we would try and retrace our steps but only ended with us walking around in a circle. At first we weren't that worried, we had plenty of time to catch the coach and so we thought that we would find our way back in good time. We were so laid back at that point, that I even took another picture of the city (which strangely looks deserted although I can assure you, it was far from that:




Without warning though, the time quickly started to drain away and that's where panic set in. Not only were we to meet the coach at a specific time, but we were told by the lady running the excursion that we must have lunch before we left Valencia, because when arrived at the Botanical Gardens, there would not be a cafe/ restaurant to buy anything substantial, only vending machines.

So we frantically tried to make sense of the map were given (I hate maps!) and even asked several people for help, but they directed in the wrong way! By this time, mum and I were both in snappy moods and all we wanted to do was find the coach. However, rescue came in the form of a builder (a very cute one I may add), who pointed us in the right direction.....well nearly. By the time we were near the coach meeting place, we saw a advert for 'Burger King' which was very near the designated place. So, in the end, we followed the signs for 'Burger King'. We made it back to the right part of Valencia (we discovered later that we had made it all of the way to the outskirts of the city) and with less than an hour to spare, we managed to have lunch, before meeting the coach....phew!

We weren't the only ones in our group to get lost thankfully. The coach had actually pulled out and went round a roundabout, before the excursion organiser realised, that we were missing a person. We turned around and the poor guy that was left behind, was frantically running to catch the coach and was very apologetic when he boarded. I snapped this final photo, as we were leaving for the Botanical gardens........To Be Continued.....

Without warning though, the time quickly started to drain away and that's where panic set in. Not only were we to meet the coach at a specific time, but we were told by the lady running the excursion that we must have lunch before we left Valencia, because when arrived at the Botanical Gardens, there would not be a cafe/ restaurant to buy anything substantial, only vending machines.

So we frantically tried to make sense of the map were given (I hate maps!) and even asked several people for help, but they directed in the wrong way! By this time, mum and I were both in snappy moods and all we wanted to do was find the coach. However, rescue came in the form of a builder (a very cute one I may add), who pointed us in the right direction.....well nearly. By the time we were near the coach meeting place, we saw a advert for 'Burger King' which was very near the designated place. So, in the end, we followed the signs for 'Burger King'. We made it back to the right part of Valencia (we discovered later that we had made it all of the way to the outskirts of the city) and with less than an hour to spare, we managed to have lunch, before meeting the coach....phew!


Without warning though, the time quickly started to drain away and that's where panic set in. Not only were we to meet the coach at a specific time, but we were told by the lady running the excursion that we must have lunch before we left Valencia, because when arrived at the Botanical Gardens, there would not be a cafe/ restaurant to buy anything substantial, only vending machines.

So we frantically tried to make sense of the map were given (I hate maps!) and even asked several people for help, but they directed in the wrong way! By this time, mum and I were both in snappy moods and all we wanted to do was find the coach. However, rescue came in the form of a builder (a very cute one I may add), who pointed us in the right direction.....well nearly. By the time we were near the coach meeting place, we saw a advert for 'Burger King' which was very near the designated place. So, in the end, we followed the signs for 'Burger King'. We made it back to the right part of Valencia (we discovered later that we had made it all of the way to the outskirts of the city) and with less than an hour to spare, we managed to have lunch, before meeting the coach....phew!


1 comment:

  1. Great fun. The panic as the time suddenly drains away...oh, yes!

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