|Before I woke up in the morning, Henry and left and gone down to the store to get some bread, meat, and cheese for breakfast for all of us, so we had something to eat and then headed on to Valencia. Henry's business partners had arranged for accommodations at a Holiday Inn Express (yes they have those in Spain!) a few miles from the center so we checked in and then Henry left for business meetings.
Valencia is known mainly for its oranges and paella, a traditional dish of rice and seafood cooked in a HUGE flat pan. The most surprising thing to me, however, was the ultra-ultra-ultra modern buildings. I have never seen a city, either in Europe or the U.S., with so many artsy, sophisticated, modern buildings. I'm sure the architecture students that I lived with would really like it, since some of the architecture was pretty extreme. We saw a lot of brand new high-rise apartment buildings, and it seemed like most of them had a central theme or shape. You could tell that some of them were trying to emulate the shape of a huge ocean liner, and some of them were twisted or angled. Others had an extreme amount of glass or glass walkways. Along with the modern architecture were new parks, modern art, and sculptures. It was all pretty impressive and nothing like I expected. I would have to say that the overall architecture of parts of Valencia would put Berlin's Potsdamer Platz to shame (except for maybe the Sony building).
We decided to visit the most popular sight in Valencia, the Cuidad de las Artes y las Ciencias (The City of Arts and Sciences). This brand-new complex (also with amazing architecture) includes the world's largest aquarium, a science museum, an art museum, and a planetarium. We decided to go to the aquarium, which was pretty cool. It was like a zoo, with sections from all over the world, and it had a long tunnel within one of the aquariums so you could see the sharks and other fish swimming around you. One of my favorites was the Arctic, where they had sea lions, penguins, and friendly white beluga whales. We also attended a dolphin show, which was pretty amazing! It's hard to believe what they can train a dolphin to do.
I would have also liked to go to the planetarium, but it was getting late and we didn't have time. That night we ate dinner at a restaurant close by our hotel called Los Bestias. It was quite the place! It was basically a comedy restaurant, and the food wasn't that great but the experience was pretty funny. The waiters would just throw your silverware on the table, along with peanuts before ordering! Our beer was served in a bedpan, and our napkins consisted of a roll of toilet paper! They even gave us cowboy hats when we came in. It was a pretty memorable dining experience.