Valencia   1 comment

The first thing that you notice when you get off the plane in Valencia at night, especially coming from London, is that it is quite warm and humid. Even if it’s the 30th of September, it is still summer there. And I haven’t imagined how hot would have been during the following days!
The second thing you notice is that a very few people can speak English there. The information point is closed, thus Camilla and I are obliged to ask some people for directions to the town. When you land in a foreign country, and you don’t know the local language, you usually try with English. The reason, probabily, is that English is spread all over the world. But sometimes this is not the best choice: you should consider how many people in that country actually know English. It is also the case that Italian and Spanish are very similar, so the best solution is to speak Italian. Adding some "s" at the end of the words, of course, and using some dialect accent. They sometimes will understand, sometimes won’t, but always better than English.

I think that Spain is very similar to Italy. Of course, I have been only in one city, for only one week, but I think that the similarities between people from Spain and Italy are a lot. We both come from the latins. The "Italian" way of doing things, is also the "Spanish" way. For example: driving. Pedestrians have to be careful, because they are small with respect to cars, so noone gives you way. You can also see a lot of motorbikes around, and they ride quite fast everywhere (as in Italy: that’s why we have so many motorbike champions :-).

I came in Valencia for the International Astronautical Congress sponsored by the European Space Agency: this means that ESA is paying the hotel, the flight, and the fee for the congress. ESA booked the same hotel for all the sponsored students, and this is nice, since it is easy to meet a lot of students with the same interests. We meet for breakfast in the morning, but also, of course, after the conference, to go out during the night. This was a very nice occasion to socialise with a lot of girls (and some guys as well, from time to time).
Surprisingly, the hotel is very luxurious. It is a 3-star one, and was the last one on the brochure of the conference. In the large marble-look bathroom, there is also the bidet. Very rare to find it outside Itay, or at least in France, Germany, UK, Belgium, Holland, Iceland, Austria. A Spanish guy I met later told me that the level of Spanish hotels is quite high compared to the rest of Europe. So, consider this when you are booking an hotel there!
If you look at a map of Valencia, at a first glance you think that a river cuts the city in 2 parts, before ending into the Mediterranean sea. This is quite common for a lot of cities. But if you look closer at this river on the map, you can see that inside this river there are walkpaths, football pitches and more. Even the conference centre is inside the "river" on the map! What happened is that they decided to deviate the river from the city, and use the dry river bed to create a beautiful park.
At the river outlet, near the sea, there is the "Ciudad de las artes y la ciencias", venue of the conference, and the huge "l’oceanografic", the biggest aquarium in Europe. The first one is composed by three main buildings: recently designed by architect Santiago Calatrava, it’s really impressive for its beauty. Have a look at the pictures!
By the way, the congress is really amazing, a lot of people, receptions during the evening with food and drinks, cultural night with a huge paella pot for everybody, and student party in the last evening.
On Saturday, at the end of the congress, I take a trip to the city centre. The suburbs of Valencia are not very nice, but the city centre, although not so big, is worth to be seen. There are 2 main squares, close each other, with a cathedral and some old buildings.
Valencia has also a big harbour, and now everything is ready for the America’s cup. Like in Formula 1, each team has its own "box" with the ship. And its own "gift shop". Not so diffucult to guess, the most luxurious one is Luna Rossa’s Prada shop. Italians do it better!
Next to the harbour, there is a very big beach, in which one can find students who are supposed to be at the conference at any time of the day.
I leave the hotel on Sunday, at 4:30 in the morning, trying to catch the 6:30 plane. Destination: Athens, for another conference in Greece.
But this is another story, The next episode wll come soon!

Posted October 14, 2006 by mtcerio in Viaggi

One response to “Valencia

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  1. Mom just managed to translate the whole passage!!! Amazing! I\’m looking forward to finding out how this beautiful adventure is going to end! My opinion about everything is what follows: the bidet saved your life. Greetings from Dairago.
    Tom Ace

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