"Valencia?" asked the girl at the airport. - Where is it? Venezuela? Ah, Spain? We know Madrid, Barcelona, Seville - and resorts. They are also near Valencia - these are the famous beaches of Benidorm, Costa Blanca, Costa del Azahar. And they are gorgeous. But to go here only for the sake of the beaches is absurd.
Sounds in the city of Valencia - impressions of the tourist
Vzhzhzhzhzh ... Uuuuu ... Ba-bah !! Td-td-td-shsh ... Hello! Well yes. Where are you? From where and from where? Nothing, I hear badly, wait, I'll pinch my ear and go into the entrance ... Here. Like what? Street, cars are going. Well, what, that three o'clock in the morning ... The people are just at home diverging, sleeping. Valencia noise 24 hours per day. This city is not without reason considered the loudest in Spain. First, motorcycles are roaring - there are much more of them here than cars. Secondly, as in the whole world, roads are being repaired and something is being built - and construction and repairs in the historical center take place in close encirclement of other buildings, with an uninterrupted flow of traffic through narrow streets. Thirdly, at least a week a year, in the spring, during the Fallas holiday - something like our carnival - the whole city rattles, burns and explodes every day, and in the morning from the sidewalks and pavements harvesters with huge round brushes sweep away a heap of cracked crackers and scorched paper chucks from firecrackers. Theoretically, from this level, the decibel can just go deaf and hoarse, but the Valencians themselves, from small to large, know how to talk very loudly. Such a natural voice setting would have done honor to any opera singer. To shout in conversation is not just street traffic. In cafes and bars, too, it is customary to talk without lowering the voice, so the incoming one is met by a steady, powerful rumble. They say everything at once. Couples at tables, elderly seniors at the counter, waiters, simultaneously accepting an order (also very sonorous), preparing coffee - and sometimes also roasting meat right there on the stove behind the counter. Yes, and the noise of the coffee machine, the clinking of glasses, the knocking of forks and knives.
Around the city is a park, broken in the old river bed of the Turia. There the birds are chirping, the water in the fountains gurgles, the children are shouting loudly: "Maaam, I do not want to go home yet, we'll still play." - Rodrigooo, I said - we are! - Well maaam, another minute! "I'll kill you right now." Okay, five minutes - and leave, can you hear me? - Thank you! Manoooloooo, Ida, ran to the river! Mom calmly sits down on the stool, pulls the stroller closer. Rodrigo and Manolo, picking up her little sister, rush along the lawn to the stream. Mom with three or four kids here is not uncommon, but the norm. Less often you will see parents with one child. Around noon the bells come alive, and the old women in blouses and kerchiefs wander to mass. In the cathedrals, the stained-glass windows under the domes are blazing, the priest's voice amplified by the microphone is echoed from the chair. Part of the cathedral is fenced off for the parishioners, another, large, for the passage of tourists. Groups with guides, talking in low voices and snapping cameras, around the perimeter pass chapels, chapels, go to the basilica, return to the museum part and narrow spiral staircase in 207 steps climb the Nicolet bell tower to survey the top of the square and the fountain with the figure of the river god. On towed grounds, towers walk, cooing, fed pigeons. At the top, around the big bell, the excursionists, who are crazy from a long ascent, turn around, choosing the point for shooting. There is still a way down, and you will need to squeeze into the steeply curved stone wall to skip the next climbers. Now - forward, past the orange garden, past the tables of the street cafe, into the narrow streets, to the ancient Silk Exchange, to the City Hall, to the bullring.
Smells - variety and bouquet
In Valencia, it smells of freshness, strong coffee and a baked pumpkin. From the pumpkin pulp are prepared a traditional delicacy - donuts (bunyuelos) and brushwood (churros). Throughout the city there are white mobile counters with a pair of huge pumpkins on the counter. There you can buy a bag of oozing oils, sweet smelling donuts and eat them on the go, washing down an orchata. Orchata - a soft drink, but not liquid, and thick as a milkshake, yellow-vanilla color. Make it from special ground nuts - Chufy. And if you are seriously hungry, then definitely try in Valencia dishes from seafood: cuttlefish, mussels, squid. Paella - bright yellow saffron rice with vegetables, rabbit and shrimps (as well as chicken, pork and octopus) - cooked on huge flat frying pans with two handles. And to try this dish is necessary here, in Valencia: the Valencia paella is the most famous of all. In March, the whole city smells of gunpowder, because the third week of March - the holiday of the Fallas - the time of fireworks. The crackling of the firecrackers does not cease either day or night. They are blown up and small children (next to her mother with a box of ammunition and explains how to do it safely), and adolescents. Adults look condescending, no one is indignant.
Movement - Convenience of moving around the city
Machines in Valencia are doing well. They go fast, do not stand in traffic jams and loudly growl with pleasure. Therefore, if your windows go out on the street, it is better not to open them, otherwise a smooth background noise is provided - and at night, too. With pedestrians cars are polite: slow down, skip. In this case, both pedestrians and cars with the same ease can slip to the red, if they do not see additional obstacles. Besides cars, there are a lot of motorcycles on the roads. They are ridden by not only black bikers in massive helmets, but also quite business-dressed ladies and gentlemen in good official suits and light leather shoes. The flocks of motorcycles and mopeds peacefully stand on the trick at the entrances of houses. In the city they are clearly more comfortable than cars, taxes on which grow from year to year. Bicycles are also expanse. For them, tracks are marked on any track. If you're lucky, you'll see a strange three-wheeled structure rolling along the streets, a little bouncing. Behind the wheel under the umbrella is sitting, reclining, the driver. He knows all of Valencia - it's a bicycle master. Poor, he repairs bicycles for free, he chooses his customers himself, and giving his car into his hands is a great honor and luck.
History - there is much to tell
For all its long existence Valencia, like the whole of Spain, many times passed from the hands of some conquerors into the hands of others. There were Romans, then Phoenicians, Goths, Moors ... And everyone took the city without a fight. The legendary warrior Sid explained his invasion here: the army needed to rest, so he decided to capture Valencia. Why? Because the Valensians did not want to fight. Not out of cowardice, no. The very name of the city is translated as "Courage", "Valor" or "Dignity". Just the value system here is different, and to win by the cost of destruction and death was not considered a worthy deed. Valencians - people are peaceful, friendly, sociable. Perhaps, as much time as here, meetings and conversations with friends are given only in Russia. In this city (and indeed in Spain) it is customary to walk in the evenings late at night, dinner - the main meal - is delayed from 10 evening after midnight and occurs, as a rule, outside the house. Then you need to drink coffee somewhere, look at three or four (or more) bars, drink a glass in each (but no more), and then go home with a clear conscience to go to work early in the morning. It is not surprising that the flag of the city, crowning one of the two remaining fortress gates, is adorned with a bat - a night and free creature.
The desire of almost all regions of Spain to autonomy is so strong that you can not see the state black-red-yellow flags on the streets, only the local ones. It's impossible to say that everyone likes it. "So you are from Russia? - the elderly taxi driver, who drove me from the airport, revived. "After all, you had the Soviet Union, and then Gorbachev took it and dismissed it." And we have the same thing: look around, where at least one Spanish flag you will see? All want to secede, why should they only have this independence? The country must be one. There was the USSR - and the States did not stick out, and now they do what they want. Precisely I say - it's they who podzzhivayut.
... So, we enter Valencia through the main gate. Behind them is the square of Alfonso the Magnanimous. The marble bust of the monarch hides under a sprawling ficus, and the ficus, unlike our room pots on the windowsill, is a giant tree with a sinewy, mighty trunk in several girths. A little further, in a shady square opposite the playground, a monument to the children's doctor from grateful mothers escorts us to the old city. To the left of it is the equestrian statue of the first King of Valencia Jaume I. So they stand at the city gates - two legendary kings and a children's doctor. And we enter the straight, like an arrow, the street of the World. This street was literally cut in the end of the XIX century in place of ancient monastic farmsteads, demolishing the fortress wall around the old city. Then it became too crowded, and according to the reconstruction plan, only fragments of historical buildings were left, and multi-storey houses grew on the vacated site. The analysis of the wall for 15 years provided the army with the job of the unemployed, and the city gained scope for development.
Architecture - chic variety
Here, no one ever destroyed anything in his heart - after Valencia peacefully passed from hand to hand. Therefore, each era has left a memory. Walking through the old city, you will see all the samples of architectural styles - from the "glowing Gothic" of the ancient cathedral, from whose roof grinning cheerful chimeras-gutters, to the elegant baroque of the palace of the Marquis de Dos Aguas, where the museum of ceramics is now located. The decoration and wall murals of local churches are distinguished by the unusual color of the Middle Ages: local painters never complained of dark colors. Both frescoes and traditional costumes are all colorful and cheerful. And the ancient domes, covered with ultramarine tiles, argue with a blue sky.
Once, along the fortress walls, the river Turia flowed. Now its old channel is the border separating the old and almost alien novelty. On the other side of the park in the riverbed is the City of the Future, or City of Sciences and Arts, created by the famous architect Santiago Calatrava. Fantastic views of white buildings of glass and concrete are similar to a ship, then to the skeleton of a giant animal, then to the rise of an unprecedented wave. Science and art are traditionally patronized by the royal family. Therefore, the Museum of Science is a great visual textbook, which leads to the lessons of physics and biology of schoolchildren from all city colleges - is under the official auspices of Prince Felipe, and the center of arts with a luxurious concert hall is personally supervised by Queen Sofia. In addition to the museum and the center, there is the biggest oceanarium in Europe, the cinema 3D Imax and the openwork gallery gallery, which leads from the city of history to the city of the future. The Valencian bridges are a separate topic. Many of them are thrown over the park, and all are different. One looks like a giant comb - it's called a "scallop". Another, next to it - a bridge of flowers: erected temporarily, decorated with curbs of fresh flowers, and when Calatrava built next to his "scallop", and left.
Dolls are the spring tradition of Valencia
Once a year, in mid-March, the whole city turns into a giant dollhouse. On all the squares grow huge, in two or three floors, figures. This fall is the main sign of spring. They depict politicians, fairy-tale characters, and just neighbors on the porch - it seems, and very funny. It's like the magazine "Crocodile" in volume. They will stand with 15 on 19 March - and will be burned. There will be one figure selected by popular vote. Every year one Falla is sent to the museum, where the winning dolls are kept, starting from the XIX century.
Porcelain tale - paradise for aesthetes
Not far from Valencia, in the village of Tavernas Blancas, is the world famous porcelain manufactory Llardo, where unique handmade figurines are made. Founded in the 50-ies of the XX century, three brothers - Vicente, Juan and José Lladro, descendants of ordinary peasants. They built the first furnace for roasting in the courtyard of his father's house. The sculptors studied independently. Probably, it was not by chance that all this happened in Valencia - after all, the fall of the century is done here! From the comic sculpture of papier-mâché to porcelain clowns and flower girls, the distance is less than it might seem. Working in the factory are mostly women: their hands are better able to cope with the intricacies of assembly and painting. Men only on subsidiary and physically heavy jobs - casting, roasting. Each statuette or composition is collected from 25-300 hollow fragments, which are cast separately in plaster molds. A separate operation of the cycle is the production of flowers. They are molded by hand, the petal behind the petal. The flowers and faces of the statuettes are also painted separately, with special paints - dense, with a high content of porcelain, which gives individuals relief and a unique expression. As for working conditions, if socialism is possible in a society of developed capitalism, then it is here. Social programs, recreation, health care, nursery for children - and a large pool for employees right in the yard of the factory. That with 40-degree summer heat is very handy.
Epilogue - Valencia is a paradise for a tourist
The patroness of Valencia is Virgen de los Desamparados - the Virgin of all the destitute. Local residents affectionately call it "gorbatenkoy" and on the Feast of Fallas they clean the ten-meter wooden, slightly bent statue on the cathedral square with live flowers. Either the Virgin Mary protects her wards so well, or not everything opens to a casual look, only the city is cozy and joyful. And the strongest impression was made on me not by prosperous large families and not striking wealth, but cheerful, hominid procession of blind excursionists, a locomotive moving behind the guide. And another girl in a wheelchair, calmly talking on the street phone-machine.