Behind the Vale of Valencia

No trip to Spain is complete without a trip to Valencia. It's got everything! Gothic quarters, skinny buildings, fountains, a river that is now a series of soccer futbol fields, and what I'm pretty sure is lifesize concept-art for a space station. 

It's a beautiful city so small you're bound to run into someone you know before you even get to your hostel.

Or possibly a dead cybernetic whale.

But we'll get to the future amazing architecture in a moment. 

The Gothic section of Valencia is plenty great, in the way that all Gothic quarters are pretty great. Go on a free walking tour, and they will point out all the excellent buildings, as well as the dirty gargoyle (not pictured). 

Speak with a cathedraawl

And it's nice and pleasant to walk around and see the very European stylings.

pretty random building/random pretty building

But some buildings really have a size problem.

Another senselessly skinny building.
Like Amsterdam, but in Valencia!

And there was a very rich family who had this overly fancy building called the Palacio del Marqués de Dos Aguas. You would be shocked to learn that the guy who owned the building held the (influential) title of Marqués de Dos Aguas. The family later moved to Italy and founded a mob or something.

They might've been rich once, but they're baroque now.

By the cathedral, there is also a fine Plaza de la Virgen.

Turia Fountain has not yet passed the Turing Test. 

And all of that stuff is great. Really, it is. If you find yourself in need of some European gothic stuff, skinny buildings, fountains, &c. &c. Go for it.

But when you're done, take an evening walk around the space station City of Arts and Sciences. It's literally impossible to walk through the complex without spouting ideas for ten new science fiction stories.

There is the giant eye, or "L'Hemesferic" aka gigantic electrical eyeball.

Sauron's got nothing on this.

It is something like an IMAX theatre, or a planetarium, laserium, or all of the above.

Eye-max theatre.

There is also an opera house, El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia (the white part in the distance).

The Reflect Effect is pretty cool

Did I mention that there is a massive reflecting pool?

Mandatory JJ Abrams lens flares included.

There is a museum (El Museu de les Ciencies Principe Felipe) designed to look like a whale skeleton. The exterior is visually stunning. The interior, Wikipedia raves, "shows how little thought was put into the whole project."

Do you get vertigo looking at vertebra?

You're welcome for finding you a shooting location for the next big sci fi movie of the year. 

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