El Micalet, Valencia

València is the third largest city in Spain with about 800,000 inhabitants. I was traveling there for a meeting of the International Planetarium Society, which worked well as the cost of traveling to Europe and back could be expensed. I flew directly to Madrid from JFK in New York and then took a smaller, hour-long flight to València.

Our conference was in la Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciències and occupied much of my time. This afforded few opportunities to explore the city center, which is about a 15-minute bus ride away. However, by the end of the conference, I was making more of an effort to venture into town and explore the bars and discos by night.

València does seem to be heading in the right direction, though one still sees the sales pitch in the tourist brochures that suggest some level of desperation. València remains overshadowed by the more popular tourist destinations of Madrid and Barcelona. Still, València is a nice city and, as it was my first exposure to Spain, I enjoyed the new food, the Spanish people, and the culture.