Back home from my holidays … and getting myself moving again – hard to get out of that post-holiday lazing-along rut, sometimes. We went to Spain, one of my most-favourite places, and on the one rainy day we drove into Valencia for a bit of an explore. We’d planned just to go to the old town and amble round a bit, but on our way in we spotted a signpost for the ‘Ciudad de les Arts i les Ciences’ – the City of Art & Science? How could we pass it up?
What a treat! HUGE and fabulous modern architecture set in parkland, beautiful and at stark contrast with the apartment blocks surrounding it, it caught the eye and the imagination as soon as we saw it. We didn’t get time to explore the whole complex, and to be honest struggled to know what mysterious purpose all these buildings served. The first place we saw, above, looked like an ocean liner sailing through an ocean of greenery – I think it was the art museum, but I’m far too lazy to do any proper research.
But as we came around the front of it, it looked less like an ocean liner, and something more futuristic, more streamlined and alien, though, set against the azure of the surrounding pools, it also reminded me of some strange deep-sea creature brought to the surface.
We walked on, drawn along the pathways into the complex:
Something quite threatening about this structure – the way it looms out of the water, like a half-submerged beast waiting to swallow you up.
And on through the pools along the walkways … people seemed too small-scale to fit properly here, amongst these vast concrete spars and ribs – made me feel shipwrecked … and what was that blue monster beyond?
The photo doesn’t really do justice to the SCALE of this thing … it dominated its surroundings, silent and shimmering blue – had it just emerged from the depths, or descended from the heavens? What does it want?
We were following along the path … and descended into Oceanographic:
So claustrophic walking between those walls, especially with water cascading down on the left hand side ….
I could quite happily have gawped at buildings all day, letting my imagination run riot, interviewing them as story locations …. the things that could happen in those places, if they existed in other times, other dimensions ……
But the children insisted that they get their share, so we explored Oceanographic instead – a sealife centre with the emphasis firmly on conservation, from the sculptures made from waste pulled from the sea in the entrance hall, to the information about each and every exhibit. It was massive – we were there a good five hours and didn’t see all of it – so many different zones, and each one enormous – from the sharks swimming in lazy circles above the glass tunnel:
(and that’s about as close to these fellows as I ever want to get)
to the loggerhead turtle in the mediterranean zone examining all the visitors with at least as much interest as they were examining him:
to the sad-looking beluga whale in the arctic zone – I felt sorry for it – it looked as if it was aware it was trapped in this place, and wanted to get out:
A spectacular day out …. and all the better because it was so unexpected. Next time, we’ll try to visit the Science Museum and the Art Museum (if we can work out which buildings they’re in – although, if either are in that big blue building, I’ll be waiting outside – gave me the shivers, it did). It’s so rare to find a day out that everyone in the family enjoys, but this was one of them – though I’m not sure how much of the environmental message got through to the children – the next day, we caught Rumpus in the act of throwing a plastic bag into the sea. Sigh).
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Tags: beluga whale, Cuidad de les Arts i es Ciences, great white shark, loggerhead turtle, modern architecture, oceanographic, photo blog, photography, Spain, Valencia