September 27, 2005

Another Good Day in Valencia

It´s almost sundown now, we spent the morning at the National Ceramics Museum (which has Picassos as well as older ceramics from prehistory on), the Museo des Bellas Arts (which two taxi drivers couldn´t locate because we didn´t call it by its local name, San Pio V), and the City of Arts and Sciences, which is a vast park/museum/aquarium of big modernist buildings, arched and ribbed and vaulted in poured concrete and steel and glass, with a big lovely blue pool in the middle, all by one great contemporary Valencian architect named Calatrava whom I hadn´t heard of before. Then to the Mercado Central, a glass and wrought iron edifice somewhat like an old railway station, with dozens of little markets inside it: meat, fish, produce, etc -- very much like the market we saw in Barcelona, but bigger and with wider aisles. At evening rush hour we wandered through residential districts: streets of middle class high-rise apartments, and adjacent strets of smaller working-class buildings, all with the same variety of cafes, bars, restaurants, pharmacies, clothing stores, tobacconists, on the ground floors. Valencia looks like a comfortable city to live in, a place with an identity, a feeling of its own substance.

Tomorrow morning we go to Barcelona, stopping for a little while at historic Tarragona en route.