Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Botanical Gardens of the University of Valencia

As stated in a previous post, I love botanical gardens.  I thinking back, I guess I always have as I loved going to the botanical gardens frequently when I lived in Athens, GA too.  I love that in every city the botanical  gardens offer something new.  The botanical gardens in Valencia boast a collection with about three thousand species of trees and plants, specially the palm and the cactus. This botanical garden was founded in 1567 for the study of medicinal plants. The gardens have been restored since that time and contain a variety of greenhouses, a stunning shade garden, as well as different areas for aquatic plants, a rockery and an impressive grove of trees.  Currently, the gardens dedicate its investigation to the knowledge of the vegetal diversity, the conservation of the rare species, endemic or threatened Mediterranean flora and the conservation of the natural habitats.  We all learned a lot as we walked the grounds.

From the entrance to Botanical Gardens, you could see the Torres de Quart at the intersection.  The Torres de Quart were a part of the old wall that surrounded Valencia built in the 15th century. The exterior of the towers still shows signs of the bombardments suffered during France's siege of the city in 1808. The building has been used through the centuries for different purposes, from a woman's prison to a military prison.  You can climb this tower, but dusk was quickly approaching so we just viewed from the outside.  Seeing the pock marks on the outside was really crazy and cool.
Since we were in the neighborhood, we had to stop by the La Casa de los Gatos.  We enjoyed riding the bikes through the quiet dark streets as we took in the sounds of people gathering in the squares enjoying food and live music.  

Traveling on a bike at night without a light was challenging.  We traveled through the Turia Riverbed to our apartment so there were not any cars, but there were also times when there were not lit paths either.  I have never biked so fast in all my life trying to keep up with Bobby.  Surprisingly, the park was still bustling with activity as people exercised in the cool of the evening.  Although I would have preferred to have a light, it was really fun to be out at night and experience a little of the night culture.

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