Katie Thompson is a student at Ohio State University and an ISA Featured Photo Blogger. She studied abroad with ISA in Valencia, Spain.
One of my favorite aspects of Valencia is the mixture of terrain and pace. Valencia offers a hodgepodge of historic sites, busy city life, quieter streets, beach culture, modern architecture, and lastly (my personal favorite): green space. Parks, gardens and landscaped street corners and fountains are scattered throughout the city.
The first and perhaps the most well-known green space of Valencia is called the Río. Hundreds of years ago this “river” was an actual river but is now a long yet narrow green space that spans the length of Valencia. The Río is home to many soccer fields, playgrounds, marked paths for running, walking and biking, as well as gardens and cafes.
With the Río spanning across the middle of the city, there are more than a dozen unique bridges that cross it. Each time I needed to cross the Río I made sure to explore a new path and discover a different bridge. My favorite bridge, however, is called la Puente de las flores – Flower Bridge. This bridge was appropriately named; the vibrant red, pink and white “flores” are visible all the way down the Río.
The eastern part of Valencia, although significantly more modern, still offers many green spaces. On top of a parking garage and overlooking the Valencia Science Museum, Umbracle, a small botanical garden, offers a greenhouse-like space with palm trees lining narrow paths and with views of the modern city. On the opposite side of the Science Museum, along the Río, is a collection of dirt paths lined with pink flowers. Around each bushel of flowers is an impressive view of the modern architecture of Valencia.
Finally, my favorite green space in Valencia was a small place tucked between streets on the north side of the city, called Parque de Marchalenes. This park is situated on the site of an old train station and is home to a maze of narrow paths through a forest. Walking around the park will lead you through unique patches of flowers, trees, and ponds, and benches where anyone can sit and enjoy the beauty of the Valencian environment.
The world awaits…discover it.