Friday: Sam, Shelby, and I were in charge of teaching our class about Valencia. After taking the train from Cuenca on Friday night, we dropped our bags off at the hotel (which was 4 stars, quite nice for a class excursion. We must have had extra money leftover….) and headed to the Ciudad de los Artes y Las Ciencas, which is a huge entertainment-based architectural complex in Valencia which houses an opera house, science museum, aquarium, IMAX cinema/planetarium, and more. I had remembered going to this aquarium on my trip to Spain in high school and being highly dissatisfied that they don’t have any manatees- and how CUTE are they!!! What kind of aquarium is that? Shelby and I gave our whole shpeel on the place, which no one listened to at that point, and then we headed to the beach to put our feet in. Haley, Dom, Josh, and Chris actually jumped in while I recreated my Valencia ocean jumping picture from 2010…
We stayed in Friday night and scrambled to find a couple bottles of wine before the stores stopped selling alcohol; they are VERY strict about their 9:30pm cutoff time. Our group of friends had a fun night in, playing some guessing game on Josh’s phone and probably being way too loud.
Saturday: Today we saw the Silk Exchange, and grabbed a bite to eat at the Mercat Central, one of the biggest markets in Europe. I gave my explanation about the Valencia Cathedral and the Plaza de la Virgen before we headed inside. This cathedral is very famous because it is home to two important relics; it supposedly houses the Holy Grail, the chalice used at the Last Supper (think Monty Python), as well as the super gross-looking embalmed arm of Saint Vincente. We got free audio guides of the cathedral included in the entrance fee and our professor, Guillermo, got an awesome microphone that sent his voice to all of our headphones wherever we were in the cathedral. I was so mad because I gave my speech before we got into the cathedral because I would have LOVED using that thing. Of course, I found a way to add a thing or two so Guillermo would let me be annoying and talk into the microphone. Afterwards, we made our way to the Turia Gardens, a huge park area that used to be the Turia River. We then had some free time to explore Valencia before our train home. A couple of us ended up getting the daily lunch special at a restaurant so we could sit outside and enjoy the beautiful sunny day. Once again, I was the situation where food that specifically said vegetarian on the menu were in fact covered with fish or meat. Yay. We then walked into some funky shops and checked out the awesome street art of Valencia before heading back home to Madrid. We walked past an old bomb shelter from the Spanish Civil War and tried horchata, a traditional drink made of tiger nuts. It was one of those things I thought I liked until I kept drinking more of it…. Anyway, definitely a memorable last excursion.