October 29 – November 1, 2021
Day three was definitely the busiest day in Valencia. I started my morning by going to the Museo Taurino (Bullfighting Museum). While this was offputting to me, especially as a vegetarian with particular concern for animal welfare, it is a significant part of culture that I wanted to learn about. This museum has strange hours, and it’s only at particular times you can actually go into the bullring. Today was not one of those days, so I just explored the exhibits and learning about the logistics and history.
Next, I walked towards La Lonja (The Silk Exchange). On the way, I passed by the Mercado Central (Central Market) of Valencia. It was closed because it was a Sunday. I spotted a free walking tour group and figured I’d join and blend in. Unfortunately, it was the last stop on the tour, so I kept going towards La Lonja.
La Lonja is a World Heritage Site and iconic in the city. It is considered the main tourist attraction. It was built in the 13th century and includes multiple areas spanning three floors and a courtyard. The main hall was the financial center where merchants operated out of.
With silk being such a historic part of Valencian culture, I wanted to visit the Silk Musem, which is located in former headquarters of the Colegio del Arte Mayor de la Seda (Higher Art College of Silk). The museum covers the history of the trade, how it came to Valencia, and its importance.
I was able to get a combination ticket for the Church of San Nicolás, Silk Museum and the Church of Santos Juanes. Although the latter was not open that day, I made my way to the Church of San Nicolás after finishing at the Silk Museum. This was truly a beautiful cathedral, and I highly recommend visiting. I easily spent an hour there and was mesmorized. There is an audio-guide you can access on your phone that guides you through the six chapels and the art and architecture of the building. This church was built between the 13th century with the interior being completed at the end of the 17th century. It was recently restored.
Next, I returned to the Valencian Cathedral, built in the 13th century. At this time of day, it was fully open to visit the museum, the entirety of the first floor, and the chapel which holds what is thought to be the Holy Grail. You can also climb up the 207 steps of Miguelete tower, but I decided against this! Narrow, spiraling, dark, hot steps are not my idea of a good time, although I’m sure the views are beautiful at the top.
First, I explored the first floor, the altar, and the various chapels. The architecture and design was beautiful.
After, I headed to what was my favorite part: the museum. I am particularly fond of archaelogy, and there was so much of it in this museum. You could even walk underground and see the foundation of the church and old city and a graveyard with human remains! They also had the original statues of the apostles that had been on the outside of the building before they were replaced with new ones.
At the end of the museum, I went through the most famous part, the Chapel of the Holy Grail.
At this point, it was too late once again to the oceanarium, but I still wanted to explore a little more. I walked towards the Turia Garden, which is nine kilometers of green space where a river once flowed. It is one of the largest urban spaces in Spain.
After about 25,000 steps and lots of exploring, I was ready to call it a day and headed back to my AirBNB.