Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Short trip to Valencia and Cuenca, Spain

In February I had the opportunity to join a 3-day networking meeting in Valencia, Spain. It turned out to be a very useful meeting which will hopefully lead to future new collaborations. Valencia, the third largest city in Spain, is a beautiful and friendly city with a historic centre surrounded by green parks with hiking and cycling tracks (this used to be a river, which was diverted after severe flooding in the 1960's and made into a recreational park), and some very modern suburbs. It is generally warm and sunny and for me it was therefore also a nice break from the cold and still very short days in Tromsø.

Tower of Serranos; one of the old city gates

Valencia cathedral

Valencia cathedral

Palace of the Marquéz de Dos Aguas

The old Turia river, now Turia gardens

After the meeting I spent a an hour or 2 walking around the very futuristic and fascinating City of Arts and Sciences with one of my new friends from the meeting before taking the train to Cuenca. The buildings are all designed by the local architect Santiago Calatrava.


Science museum, resembling the skeleton of a whale

Hemisphèric, representing a human eye, contains an IMAX cinema.

Hemisphèric and Reina Sofía Palace of Arts

Reina Sofía Palace of Arts

View from the Turia gardens

The old walled city of Cuenca is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is also located halfway between Valencia and Madrid along the railway line and therefore a convenient place to visit since it was easier for me to fly to Madrid than directly to Valencia. The old town is built on a steep spur between the rivers Huéca and Júcar; it has a long history, starting with a Muslim fortress in the 8th century. I spent a day and a half exploring the town and hiking around the area in beautiful sunny weather before continuing to Madrid for my flight back home.


Looking down on the old town on the spur in the front and the new town of Cuenca behind it in the plains.

Back of the cathedral

Front of Cuenca cathedral, the first gothic cathedral in Spain, completed in 1257

Beautiful modern art from the 1990's in the cathedral's stained-glass windows

Looking down onto Plaza Mayor in front of the cathedral

The famous Casas Colgadas, hanging houses

Bridge of Saint Paul over the river Huéca, to connect the convent of Saint Paul with the old town of Cuenca

Cuenca cathedral by night

Bridge of Saint Paul to the old town of Cuenca by night

The Júcar river gorge forms the northern boundary of Cuenca

The cliffs are popular with climbers

I came across long lines of processionary caterpillars on my hike in the hills around Cuenca

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