Recreation

WALKING IN VALENCIA

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Walking in Valencia is a true a joy due to the diversity of impressions. A compact city centre is pleasing on the eye, presenting architecture from many periods. The expansive beach invites with a far, distant horizon. And the Turia offers undulating greenery, blossoms even during winter and shade on hot summer days.

City centre

Earlier beginnings are still visible in the old town of El Carmen. Quaint houses mix with long neglected ruins and refurbished homes. Narrow streets remind of times past, when shade was paramount. Shutters help protect against the midday glow.

Impressive structures also invite to discover more. The silk exchange, La Lonca, gives an insight to a wealthy history and the cathedral invites visitors to view the Holy Grail and a long Catholic influence on Valencia. A walk down Calle Caballeros reveals impressive palacios and a second set of doorknobs for those on horseback.

A short stroll further out brings the two remaining medieval towers into view. Climb the steps for rewarding views over the surrounding urbanisation.

Shoreline

The coast is approximately an hour’s walk away. The district in close proximity to the beach is Cabanyal. Harbour employees of past and fishermen and their families defined the neighbourhood. Today it is in flux. Low residential buildings and quiet streets are home to an old traditional lifestyle.

The beach is a sight to behold. The Mediterranean can be both as flat as a millpond or threaten at times with rough waves and strong currents. White sands stretch as far as the eye can see. Depending upon the season and the time of day, it is possible to stride or stroll alone for miles. The sound of the water can inspire calmness or invite for a dip.

During summer, the area nearest the surf is most popular. The ability to walk the hardened seashore becomes more hindered due to the pastime of Spaniards taking their traditional stroll.

Riverbed

Valencia’s residents are highly fortunate that funds were not available during the years following the horrendous flood of 1957. Plans to create an urban highway were shelved. The riverbed is a recreational marvel and a joy for expats. A jewel in Valencia’s crown.

The Turia, as the river is known, reaches from the Biopark in the north-west to the City of Arts and Sciences in the south-east. It offers an enormous variety of spaces for indoor and outdoor sports. Magnificent trees, some blossoming in bright colours, offer important shade for walking. More open spaces are used for games. Other areas invite for picnics. Musicians play, groups gather for yoga and other pastimes.

A walk amongst the sights and sounds of the Turia park enables escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. It can be highly rewarding too, due to the magnificent scents of fauna and flora.

By Vincent Green, Feb 21 2019

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