Valencia, Spain

December 23-26, 2005

Bobbi's notes
While in Barcelona our friend Lorenzo took us on a day trip to the suburbs of Barcelona to a village called Sant Cugat. We ate at a very unusual restaurant called Matilda's that served Kangaroo and baby eels. Yes, we tried the kangaroo, but passed on the eels! Apparently, this way of eating is very popular in Spain and was a stretch from my palette of chicken and beef. We also toured a beautiful old monastery that had once been destroyed and is now restored into a museum.


Rory's notes
Our Family decided to stay in the city of Valencia for Christmas Eve and Christmas day, not to mention the 23 rd . The city was abuzz with excitement for the holiday season. The streets were crowded with families, crowded restaurants, sidewalks and busy markets. In the evenings groups of friends could be seen squeezing into the local pubs. It was a festive atmosphere and a wonderful place to spend Christmas, thought I missed my other family and friends.
For Christmas Eve, we were in for a rare, exotic, yet weird treat. We secured four tickets to the local Circus there were clowns, contortionists, jugglers, balancers and motor bikes in a large round cage. It was a wonderful time, and the entertainment was pure and innocent yet professional and awesome. The acts were varied and exciting, thrilling and suspenseful. At one point, I was chosen out of the audience to be in the clown's final act. It was all in a wonderful time, as cheesy as it was.
Later on Christmas Eve, Simone felt unwell, so Jay, Bobbi and I decided to attend Midnight Mass at a local Cathedral. The Archbishop of Valencia was in attendance and the choir sang beautifully. We tried to stay the entire service, but the combination of wine, food, the late hour and a sermon in a foreign language caused a comatose haze to settle on Jay and I. Heads were nodding not it agreement to the sermon, but from fatigue. I think Bobbi was the first to suggest we leave and the intro to the credo was as good a time as any.
On Christmas Day, Simone, Jay and I went to Valencia's Oceanographic Museum, which was a large complex complete with ten different environments containing typical wildlife with informative and interactive exhibits. I noticed as many eateries in the place, which combined with a near twenty dollar admission, made us feel like they were ready to take our money. But after four hours, I felt we got our moneys worth.


Simone's notes
As Spain's 3rd largest city, Valencia distinguishes itself from Madrid and Barcelona with its coastal location and cleanliness. Valencia is the most beautiful of the three cities with plenty of statues, fountains and spacious streets. Unfortunately, I caught a head cold which distracted me from my appreciation for the city. Nevertheless, the family dragged me along to various spectacles around the city, culminating with a bizarre (yet fascinating) circus trip on Christmas Eve. Although I enjoyed our experience at the circus, had they not been free tickets I probably would have not gone because I don't like the way circuses treat their animals. Anyways, on Christmas Day we visited L'Oceanographe, which is kind of part museum, part zoo and offered a lot of information on the oceans around the world. It was very informative and interesting, and although the ticket prices were rather steep, I would recommend it to anyone visiting Valencia . My favorite part of L'Oceanographie, was the dolphin show we saw. Dolphins are so intelligent and can truly learn some remarkable things! The architecture of L'Oceanographie and the surrounding museums are worth a visit in themselves. Valencia is also home to America 's Cup, which means very little to me, but maybe should mean more because it is apparently a big deal. Valencia is a very beautiful city, with not as many tourist activities as Barcelona and Madrid , but entirely endearing nonetheless.

  Door of old textile factory  
  Family December 24th  
  Holy Grail Cathedral  
  Hall of Holy Grail Cathedral  
  Alter in front of Holy Grail  
  Actual photo of the Holy Grail but through Jay's interpretation  
  Nuestra Senora de los Desamparados Cathedral  
  The Oceanografic science is the largest of it's kind in Europe  
  The following photos taken at sunset of fantastic architecure by Santiago Calatrava  
  Our rental Euro-car  
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