SEP 14,2016 - SEP 14,2016 (1 DAYS)
Tip 1: Valencia Bioparc:
Tip 2: from the Bioparc to Plaza de la Virgen.
Public transportation: By Bus: routes 7, 17, 29, 61, 81, 95. By Metro: lines 3 and 5, Nou d'Octubre stop, a 10 minute walk from the park's entrance. Opening hours: The Bioparc is open 365 days a year. January and February: 10.00 - 18.00. March: MON-FRI: 10.00 - 18.00, SAT-SUN:10.00 - 19.00. APR-JUN: 10.00 - 20.00. JUL-AUG:10.00 - 21.00. SEP: 10.00 - 19.00. OCT: MON - FRI: 10.00 - 18.00, SAT-SUN: 10.00 - 19.00. NOV-DEC: 10.00 - 18.00. Prices: Single Adult €23.80, Single Child €18.00, Single 65+ €17.50, Group Member €18.50, Group Child €12.50, Group 65+ €15.20.
The new Bioparc Valencia was opened in year 2008. The bioparc is located in the Parque de Cabecera, at the most northern-west end of the dried, former Turia riverbed. This is an innovative zoo. Practically, cages and barriers are practically invisible and the animals feel free. Contrary to traditional zoos, this park has the unique feature of bringing the visitor totally into the habitat of the animals. The Bioparc’s main objective is to promote respect for animals and make the general public aware of importance of protecting the environment through a commitment to education and the preservation of the animals. Its design employs the “zoo immersion” concept, in which visitors are surrounded by meticulous recreations of the natural habitats being presented. Most of the existing park is devoted to Africa. The Bioparc displays a range of African flora and fauna and the different habitats in which they live together. However, the Bioparc is not limited to Africa, since the plan is to expand it over the next few years by 20,000 metres in order to dedicate a portion of the zoo to Southeast Asia and South America flora and fauna.
BioParc Valencia is, without doubt, one of the coolest zoos we’ve ever been to. The BioParc opened its doors in 2008, replacing the former city zoo which had been located in the Viveros Gardens. Currently, it’s home to 4000 animals of 250 species, with a special focus on the fauna of Africa. And new babies are being born all the time.
After getting your ticket, you enter the park by crossing a pedestrian bridge which spans the Turia Gardens. The tour of Bioparc Valencia begins at the entrance with a stunning, white suspension bridge:
Once, visitors cross the 145 metre-long walkway over the Parque de Cabecera lake,
they can enter into a fascinating world in which they can enjoy the unique animals and settings that make up the park, as well as other surprises…:
The animals live together in the Bioparc as they would in nature, in groups of the same species co-existing in the same habitat. They are separated from one another by natural barriers such as rock, rivers, and bridges that are invisible to the visitor’s eyes. Depending on which ecosystem we find ourselves in, we are able to see the different animals that live there. As we said, the Bioparc’s main theme is Africa. The majority of the animals are only from that continent and some of the surrounding islands, predominantly Madagascar.
On leaving the theatre, we find ourselves on the main boulevard where an African lodge houses a cafeteria-restaurant (see below) with a spacious terrace and views of the African savannah. The main boulevard also offers us the option of deciding which ecosystem we would like to explore first: the savannah, forests of Madagascar and equatorial Africa. The amphitheatre in the centre of the park deserves special mention: a large outdoor space which offers the visitor the chance to watch birds and mammals acting naturally.
Near the entrance are a large flock of Flamingos. These are fairly common in many parts of Southern Spain so often go unnoticed despite the noise they make. The mud mounds that can be seen in the photos are their nests where they will hopefully lay one egg. Flamingos in Madagascar Habitat:
A large group of Pelicans sit in the sunshine or swim around diving for food. There are fish in the lake in the Bioparc and they get enough from the keepers. These are Great White Pelicans and are very big birds. The wingspan can range from 226 to 360 cm with the latter measurement the largest recorded among extant flying animals outside of the great Albatros. Adult males, weigh from 9 to 15 kg, females are considerably less bulky and heavy, weighing from 5.4 to 9 kg:
In Madagascar, we find seven different species of lemurs, including the highly-endangered grey bamboo lemur. What the Madagascar Immersion area is all about is to be part of the Lemur’s world. You literally are right there with them only a few inches away. Don’t touch them. The flora is also directly from Madagascar and the overall exhibit is really big. You can spend as much or as little time as you want here.
Palms in the Lemurs area:
enjoy interesting projections about the African continent in the theatre situated at the entrance. You’ll immediately encounter the first set of animals: rhinoceroses, zebras and ostriches, all running around a huge area together.
In the African savannah, we’ll see zebras, impalas, blesbok, marabou storks, cranes, giraffes, lions, striped mongooses, exotic birds, African elephants, white rhinoceroses, etc… as well as the subterranean life that exists in anteaters' dens and African termite nests.
Impalas. The impala is a medium-sized antelope found in eastern and southern Africa. Two subspecies are recognised—the common impala, and the larger and darker black-faced impala. The impala reaches 70–92 centimetres at the shoulder and weighs 40–76 kg. It features a glossy, reddish brown coat. The male's slender, lyre-shaped horns are 45–92 centimetres long:
No animal has a more distinctive coat than the zebra. Each animal's stripes are as unique as fingerprints—no two are exactly alike—although each of the three species has its own general pattern:
There is only one species of giraffe with nine subspecies. Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi was named after the UK Tring Museum's founder, Walter Rothschild. It is also known as the Baringo giraffe, after the Lake Baringo area of Kenya or as the Ugandan giraffe. The Nubia sub-species of the Giraffes are normally found in northern Uganda and west Kenya. But they're incredibly rare, with fewer than 1500-2,000 specimens left in the world:
Elephants. The elephant yard has been opened in 2007:
The Meerkat or Suricate (Suricata suricatta) is a small carnivoran belonging to the mongoose family (Herpestidae). It is the only member of the genus Suricata. Meerkats live in all parts of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, in much of the Namib Desert in Namibia and southwestern Angola, and in South Africa. A group of meerkats is called a "mob", "gang" or "clan". A meerkat clan often contains about 20 meerkats, but some super-families have 50 or more members. In captivity, meerkats have an average life span of 12–14 years:
In equatorial Africa, the primates are the main attractions -- gorillas, mangabeys, monkeys, herds of bongos, forest buffalos, red river hogs, leopards, chimpanzees, drills, talapoins, pygmy hippopotamuses and sitatunga antelopes.
Red River Hogs:
The Sri Lankan Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) has a tawny or rusty yellow coat with dark spots and close-set rosettes, which are smaller than those that appear on the Indian Leopard. They are solitary hunters, and like other Leopards, silently stalk their prey until it is within striking distance. Once close to the prey, it unleashes a burst of speed to quickly pursue and pounce on its victim:
The Western Lowland Gorilla is one of two subspecies of the Western Gorilla that lives in montane, primary and secondary forests and lowland swamps in central Africa in Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. It is the Gorilla most common to zoos. The main diet of the Gorilla species is roots, shoots, fruit, wild celery, tree bark and pulp, which are provided for in the thick forests of central and West Africa. An adult will eat around 18 kg of food per day. Gorillas will climb trees up to 15 meters in height in search of food. Females do not produce many offspring, due to the fact that they do not reach sexual maturity until the age of 8 or 9. Female gorillas give birth to one infant after a pregnancy of nearly nine (!) months. Unlike their powerful parents, newborns are tiny and able only to cling to their mothers' fur. The infant will ride on mother’s back from the age of four months through the first two or three years of life. Infants can be dependent on the mother for up to five years:
The Cape Thicknee (Burhinus capensis) also known as Spotted Thicknee. A curious bird due largely to its long legs and large yellow eyes. Native to tropical regions of central and southern Africa:
We had a lunch in the Samburu restaurant. Delicious Paellia Valenciana costs 8€. Pleasant breeze. You can sit inside (AC) or outside near the amphitheatre of the elephants and rhinos. Price of adult menu is 15,20€ (first course + main course + dessert, drink and bread) and child menu is 8,90€ (Main course + fruit or yogurt + drink and bread). Also you can choose only one main course. Open: weekdays: 13.00-16.00, weekends: 12.30-16.00.
We move, now, to Tip 2 below.
Tip 2: from the Bioparc to Plaza de la Virgen.
Main Attractions: Jardín de Las Hespérides, Jardí Botànic de València, Torres de Quart, Institut Valencià d'Art Modern (IVAM), Torres de Serranos, Palacio de Benicarlo, Plaza de la Virgen, Basilica de Virgen de Los Desamparados.
We leave the Bioparc and continue walking southward along Av. Pío Baroja. We continue and "cross" the dried Turia riverbed along Pont du 9 Octobre - the first masterpiece of the architect Calatrava. The Bridge of 9 October is one of the many bridges in Valencia designed by the Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava Valls. It connects the districts of Nou Moles and Soternes spanning the Gardens of Turia . It was inaugurated in 1989 and owes its name to the national holiday of the region of Valencia, on October 9th.
After crossing the bridge (from north to south) we, immediately, rurn LEFT (EAST) and walk along Passeig de la Petxina - where the Turia Gardens (dried riverbed) is on our left. You may give up crossing the Pont du 9 Octobre and turn LEFT (EAST) and walk along Av. de Tirso de Molina - where the Turia Gardens are on your right. We walk 1.5 km. eastward until we arrive to the Pont de les Glòries Valencianes. The best option is to descend to the Turia Gardens and walk eastward until you arrive the Glòries Valencianes bridge. The last section of Passeig de la Petxina, before we arrive to Glòries Valencianes bridge - is Paseo de la Pechina.
WE do NOT cross the Glòries Valencianes bridge. WE continue eastward along Passeig de la Petxina and turn RIGHT (SOUTH) to Carrer del Beat Gaspar Bono to enter the Jardín de Las Hespérides: a perfect harmony of white, green and orange colors. Note, during the midday, hot hours - the gardens may be occupied by "homelesses":
We continue along Carrer del Beat Gaspar Bono southward until its end and turn left to Carrer del Quart. Here, we find the Jardí Botànic de València, Carrer de Quart, 80. Nothing special. Quiet, shady (remember: Valencia is very hot and humid during the summer months), full with birds and cats, a bit neglected, a small garden). Price: €2, children and concessions: FREE.
WE continue walking eastward along Carrer del Quart. In the eastern end of this road - we face the Torres de Quart, Guillem de Castro, 89. Nowadays, It houses the Locksmith Museum. Opening hours: MON-SAT: 09.30 -19.00, SUN: 09.30 - 15.00. On rainy days, the Quart Towers will remain closed for safety reasons. Tickets: €2 or €1 for groups, students, pensioners, large families and children over 7. Free entry on Sundays and public holidays. Mondays closed.
The Quart Towers were a part of this old Christian city wall build in the 14th century but the towers are from the 15th century. The exterior of the monument still shows signs of the bombardments suffered during Napoleon's siege of the city in 1808. The building has been used through the centuries for different purposes, from a women prison to a military prison. Built by Pere Bonfill, who was inspired by the Castell Nuovo towers in Naples, the Quart Towers represent a good example of late Gothic military constructions. They were conceived as defensive gates for the city and until 1874 were known as the Torres de la Cal (The Limestone Towers), due to the limestone that came into the city and had to come in through these gates. The back of the towers was opened to allow a view of the inside:
We turn left and walk NORTHWARD along Carrer de Guillem de Castro. The street is very long and we entered the street in its middle. It borders all the west side of the Old Town. In ancient times, the Christian wall of Valencia ran along almost all the street, but in the nineteenth century it was demolished; Even so, around the towers of Quart a bit has been preserved. We walk 650 m. northward along Carrer de Guillem de Castro - until we arrive to Institut Valencià d'Art Modern (IVAM), Calle de Guillem de Castro, 118. Nice modern art exhibitions with various galleries ranging from photography to video installations, paintings and sculptures. You may spend at least one hour here. Come here in the late, scorchy hot hours of late summer afternoon. IVAM's doors will swallow you up into a dark, shady and cool environment. Good cafe'. Do not expect many visitors here. Opening hours: TUE - SUN:11.00 - 19.30, FRI: 11.00 - 21.00, closed on Mondays. Prices: adult 6€, Students up to 35 years old 3€. Free Admission: Sundays, retired, unemployed, disabled.
Boltanski - Depart - Arrive'.
When we visited there was an exhibition of American documentary photography, some of which was quite moving, a mixed-bag of exhibits relating to urban life. Documentary Photography - USA the 1930s:
VLC - Valencia Local Artists in Comics:
It is worth a trip just for the permanent exhibition of Julio Gonzalez' (1876-1942) work. A friend of Picasso born in Barcelona. We had seen his later sculptures before in other galleries but some of his earlier embossed brass and copper figures on display here are a delight. Julio Gonzales is a must for lovers of modern sculpture:
The little sicklo:
Dancer with a daisy:
Head in front of mirror:
Our next destination is Torres de Serranos. You can walk from the IVAM museum to the Towers along the Turia Gardens (750 m.) or along Carrer de na Jordana (700 m.). We opt for the 2nd option. From Institut Valencià d'Art Modern (IVAM) we head north on Carrer de Guillem de Castro toward Passeig de la Petxina, 70 m. Turn right onto Carrer de na Jordana
280 m. Turn left onto Plaça de Pere Borrego i Galindo, 20 m. Turn right onto Carrer del Museu, 120 m. Continue straight onto Plaça del Carme, 40 m. Continue onto Carrer de Roteros, 140 m. Turn left onto Carrer de les Roques, 50 m. Turn right onto Carrer de la Blanqueria and Torres de Serranos, Plaça dels Furs will be on the left. The Serranos Towers are considered to be the largest Gothic city gateway in all of Europe ! They were constructed at the end of the 14th century by Pere Balaguer as part of the city's fortifications. They, provisionally, housed prison cells and served as a triumphal arch on many festive and solemn occasions. Construction on these large guard towers was finished in 1391. They were once the main entrance to the city in the long-since destroyed wall. Between 1586 and 1887 they were used as a prison for the nobility (much like the Tower of London or the Bastille of Paris) which is why they survived the demolition of the city walls in 1865. From an architectural point of view, they are both pentagon-shaped, connected by a common gallery, and decorated with Gothic designs on the borders. On the top there are parapets, and, around the entire structure, you can see the remains of the old moat. You can enjoy splendid views of the city and the river Turia from its terraces. You can walk through its many levels right to the top, appreciating stunning Gothic interior, ancient ornaments, military pragmatism and views over the rest of Valencia. The rear of the towers are open, and you can enjoy the panorama of the interior.Opening hours: TUE - SAT: 10.00 - 14.00, 16.30 - 20.30, SUN and public holidays: 10.00 - 15.00. Monday closed. Prices: adult - €2, children from 7 to 12 years, groups, pensioners and students with Youth Card: €1. Sundays: FREE:
Enter the Ciutat Vella (Old City) through the mighty arch of Serranos Towers. Head southeast on Carrer de la Blanqueria toward Carrer del Comte de Trénor, 40 m. Slight right onto Plaça dels Furs, 20 m. Turn left to stay on Plaça dels Furs, 20 m. Turn right onto Carrer de Nàquera, 75 m. Slight right onto Plaza Cisneros:
Head east on Plaza Cisneros, 20 m. Continue onto Carrer dels Franciscans, 40 m. This street hosts, also, attractive yellow houses (nice sight during the sunset minutes):
Head east on Carrer dels Franciscans toward Plaça de Sant Llorenç, 40 m.
Turn left onto Plaça de Sant Llorenç and Palacio de Benicarlo (Corts Valencianes), Plaça de Sant Llorenç, 4 are on the right. Palacio de Benicarlo (Corts Valencianes), Plaça de Sant Llorenç, 4. The Benicarlo Palace was built as the residence of the Borja family on top of a building that housed the Art and Grammar School. The palace was constructed in the 15th century to be the residence of the Borgia family in the capital of the Kingdom of Valencia. Since then, it has undergone several restructurings, although a half-pointed, arched doorway and a logia (gallery) of windows on the top floor still remain in the Gothic style. Today it is the seat of the Valencia Regional Parliament. The back of the palace hides a lush garden that evokes memories of the grandeur achieved by this ancient city in the past. Unfortunately, it cannot be visited. Opening hours: MON - FRI: 10.00 - 14.00. FREE. You will need to call in advance to get reservations:
Head south on Plaça de Sant Llorenç toward Carrer dels Franciscans, 5 m.
Continue onto Carrer de Navellos, 120 m. Turn left onto Plaça de la Mare de Déu, 15 m. Turn right onto Plaça de la Verge (Plaza de la Virgen), 35 m. and the Plaza de la Virgen is on your rihjt (see our blog on the Ciutat Vella):
Basilica de Virgen de Los Desamparados: