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Valencia - City of Contrast

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I’m standing in the middle of what used to be the Turia river in Valencia, Spain. A catastrophic flood that caused tremendous damage and loss of life was met by an incredible response that changed everything. Find out more on this edition of Here We Go Again!

Hi, I'm Tom Cantrell. In 1957, the Turia river that flowed through Valencia experienced catastrophic flooding. In response, the Spanish government enacted a plan to divert the river south in 1961. It took until to complete the plan. The citizens of Valencia then demanded something extraordinary and a plan was devised to convert the former riverbed in an enormous urban park. This set into motion the conversion of Valencia into city of contrasts between the old and the new. Here's how that played out.

Most tourists who visit Valencia are immediately drawn to the charming old town with its restaurants, plazas, markets, and cathedrals. However, it doesn't take long before you recognize the abundant contrasts that make Valencia a most interesting place to visit.

For example you can stroll the picturesque streets of old town or jog alongside a bustling metropolitan boulevard. Or explore the 13th century Cathedral of Valencia, which houses the holy grail and then visit Europe's largest aquarium at the ultra modern City of Arts and Sciences complex just minutes apart.

If it's shopping that interests you, there are hundreds of boutiques and souvenir shops tucked away on the streets and assorted plazas of old town. But if you're looking for something more upscale, the Nuevo Centro Mall with a huge El Corte Ingles department store is just a few minutes away.

Valencia's festivities are equally diverse. You can attend a causal regional wine and food tasting in the old river bed on one day and then get caught up in the formal pageantry of a parade marking an historical event the next.

The ultimate contrast, of course, is the city's close proximity to the Mediterranean and the primordial confrontation between land and sea. But, In the end, it's this community's reverence for the past and its progressive vision for the future that has truly made Valencia a fascinating city of contrasts.

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For Here We Go Again, I'm Tom Cantrell and remember: Stop wishing & start traveling. Now go make it a great day.

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