|La Lonja, the old silk market|
On Saturday afternoon we took a walking tour through the historic city center, where we saw the centuries-old buildings that give Valencia its rich cultural heritage.
|Looking out into the garden in the center of La Lonja|
One of these sites is La Lonja de la Seda, the silk market. This gorgeous Gothic building was the site of a prosperous silk trade during the 15th and 16th centuries.
| Our group on the steps of La Lonja
photo by Abbey Buchanan
|The dome in the Mercado Central|
Next we saw the Mercado Central, the huge central market where everything from produce to fish is sold, all fresh and local! A far cry from Kroger back in the States, even the marketplace was a beautifully designed modernist building. Modernist architecture normally has domes to represent the curves of the female figure, according to our tour guide.
|Plaza de la Catedral: ancient cathedral on the right, modern cathedral on the left
|Beautifully carved entrance to la catedral|
| Our CEA group approaching the Torres de Serranos, where the Royal Family
used to enter the city
|Me with my friends in front of Oceanografic|
For me personally, the highlight of our excursion to Valencia was something spontaneous that I did all on my own. When returning to our hotel on Saturday evening I noticed a poster on the wall of the building across the street. It advertised a theater event going on that night... starting in five minutes. So I went inside to check it out, and next thing I knew I had bought tickets to the "mini theatre." This turned out to be four plays of fifteen minutes each, performed by one or two actors for audiences of ten. These plays were performed in random spots around the building: one in a stairwell where we spectators sat on the staircase to watch, another in which we sat in a circle and became part of the drama. I had unwittingly stumbled upon a really cool sample of local Saturday-night culture! The plays addressed some of the current political and social tensions in Spain right now, like the high unemployment and disillusionment of the youth. Although I loved seeing monuments and famous sites, I really enjoyed the mini theatre, a hidden gem.
Hillary Harder is the Spring 2014 MOJO in Alicante, Spain. She is currently a junior at Goshen College.
Read more about our CEA MOJO Bloggers & Photographers.