Monday, September 23, 2013

Turia River Bed

"Valencia is famous for it's river without water turned into an endless garden that crosses the entire city like a snake from the most ancient neighbourhoods to the avant-garde City of Arts and Sciences”  ~José Miguel Vilar Bou

Turia River Bed Gardens is the central axis of the city, 9km of a green belt surrounded by ancient walls and buildings.  Since the river had always been prone to floods, with the flood in 1957 being particularly bad, Valencia decided to divert the course of the river. The government went further and developed the riverbed into an entire world of leisure and culture. There are numerous playgrounds and sports areas, fountains and well-trimmed artsy gardens.  Historically, the river banks got saturated with various architectural monuments, museum and culture centers.  Next to the river bed gardens you'll find: the San Carlos Royal Academy of Fine Arts, the Regional Military History Museum, the church and convent of El Carmen, the Corpus Christi Museum, the Fine Arts Museum, the Valencian Institute of Modern Arts and the Fallas Museum, to name a few.

Since biking is now our mode of transportation, this is how we travel in and out of the city center.  I love the gardens!  It truly is the pulse of the city as you can find people playing soccer, sitting on picnic blankets, rollerblading and skating, leisurely walking, playing on playgrounds, and more.

Our first full day in Valencia, we made it over to Gulliver's playground in the river bed.  Gulliver Park is a giant playground with massive slides, ramps, caves and stairs. The design of the park was based on the 1726 novel, Gulliver's Travels. Our whole family had fun scaling Gulliver’s body, climbing ropes, and going down the slides.
You can see Liam near his legs.
Amelie, Bobby, and Liam checking it out while I tried to get a few pictures.
Bobby testing the slide for safety and hotness.  
Yes, this is as steep as it looks.  Amelie, Liam, and I all braved going down while laying on our backs.  

Bobby and Amelie on Gulliver's foot which leads into a slide to come out of the boot.
Liam enjoyed walking up and sliding slowly down the slide inside the boot. 
We had a lot of fun exploring all over Gulliver!  Amelie did flip down one slide, but she is a tough girl and was not badly hurt. Bobby actually caught part of it on video.  Liam and I did not venture down after her.  It was hot and sunny when we went so we are wanting to go back on a day/time that won't burn our butts on the slides.  We also went during the siesta time which is why we are the only ones present.  We have learned a lot about Valencian culture since living here, including the sacred siesta time.

I do not have very many pictures of the river bed itself, and will definitely take some before we leave.  It's hard when you are riding a bike to stop for pics.  Stay tuned for more pictures. ;)

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