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Azahar Coast – Serra d’Irta

Lovely beach near apartment on a sunset stroll.

Day hike along rocky shore further North on a wave crashing sort of day.

We wondered if this is new cave was made by January’s storm Gloria.

At the North end of the Natural Park is Torre Badum and cliffs!.

Way in the distance is Alcossebre – this tower signaled to Torre Ebri many years ago. (We hiked there earlier this month)

Like 12.6 kilometers away to be more precise!

View in the other direction of the wonderful cliffs and Peniscola.

Peniscola – remember we stormed those gates earlier this month to see Papa Luna. Just ask El Cid. Link to our first blog posting.

Benicarlo Museum was showcasing these mock-ups for Fallas Festival starting next week.

Oh Baby – You are looking good!

The museum gave us a guided tour of these nearby Iberico Ruins El Puig de la Nau (pronounced more or less like: L Push Day La Now) Puig is a small hill.

A Really large town site from the 7th-4th Century BC. A massive Greek wine cup and a pottery making area as well as weaving area were discovered here.

Back to modern life and our last Wine O’Clock at Sea Experience.

We will remember all the beautiful sunrises at this peaceful Alcossebre location on Costa Azahar.

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Via Augusta to Sagunto

This felt more like a southwest sunrise! Gorgeous!

Beautiful spring day for a walk along the Mediterranean. Natural iris in full bloom.

Thinking of Zoe as we walked by this Villa.

Which came first – the Cala or the country? We were wondering how Cuba got its name.

The wildest waves we have seen yet. Very much enjoyed the crashing into the shore and the little waterfalls.

A big one splashed into this alcove.

We went to the Carnival Disco-mobile Parade which started at 10 PM. A very LOUD very SLOW moving party with lots of spectators.

Via Sagunto connected to Via Augusta which went on to Tarragona and all the way to Roma. There is also a Theater here as well as some precious other remnants.

This was a fabulous defensible site!

The Iberians were here before the Romans. This is 4th century B.C. Iberian sculpture of a bull – that is around 2,400 years old.

Time to storm the Moorish gates!

This is the largest castle we have been to. It has an incredible view in all directions.

Very nice details to explore. Lots of people visiting on this sunny spring Sunday.

A partially rebuilt Temple of Diana – the only one Hannibal managed not to destroyed. Wasn’t he the guy with the elephants? He attacked Saguntum in 218 BC starting the second Punic War and then took his elephants across the Alps to attack Italy – he probably went through this entire part of Spain and the Pyrenees as well.

A preserved and renovated old 14th century mansion with an amazing collection of artifacts.

Marble mosaic Roman floors and wall details. Not sure where exactly in town these were found.

Amphora Vessels from the Iberians (farthest away and oldest) to newer through various Roman and medieval periods.

We are always reminded we are not far from the sea. This is an intricate marble carving from 2nd or 3rd century excavated in the Plaza del Moreria.

Seriously?! We drove inland to look for the Falla sculptures so we did not have time for a long lunch: All the patisseries and groceries are closed on Sunday’s, even in a large city. But we started a trend as the place was packed with locals when we left.

We had a 3:30 (15:30) reservation for a boat ride into the longest navigable underground river in Europe, Caves in la Vall d’Uixo. Touristy, but good fun with a Phantom of the Opera music and light performance in one of the cave alcoves.

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Culla and Villafranca del Cid

We enjoyed this unique sunrise but looks like a hazy sort of day ahead.

We crossed the Greenwich Meridian again for the third or fourth time near Albocasser, heading to the Alt Maestrat region again.

An attempt to capture the twists in the road from a safe overlook.

There are a lot farms – this looks especially prosperous.

There are multiple solar farms – a huge photovoltaic array.

Of course we expect windmills in Spain – even modern wind farms!

The village of Culla is nicely situated on a defensible hill. It also has an observatory so probably a good dark sky community.

We took a break to enjoy the views and contemplate the history. If it was clear, we could see Penyagolosa – there is an annual pilgrimage from here to there.

Made it to the Tower! Can now defend the kingdom!

Knights Templar and their Interest in Culla.

Very picturesque morning.

`We continued on, almost at the border with Argon, to Villafranca del Cid.  The history of this community is raising sheep, producing wool, and selling it to Italy. They realized they should make their own textiles to became more prosperous. There are many wonderfully preserved homes/buildings.

Inside this medieval building from the 1500’s, we had a personal tour of the displays explaining “Piedra en Sec.” Buildings and walls were built dry stacking stones because they were so numerous and were readily available (free).

We were given a map to find a walking route to learn more and examine more closely the Piedra en Sec techniques. We had been fascinated with these earlier in our trip at Valltorta.

This area was very concentrated with stone walls to enclose sheep – some had little sheep openings and buildings for shelter from weather.

Buildings have different ways to have the stones steps for reaching the roof to remove chimney rock allowing a fire to be built inside and smoke to escape. Some buildings are square, some round, some a combination depending on the artistic creativeness of the builder.

Absolutely love this extraordinary gate hinge detail. A hole is created in the rock that is built into the wall to allow post of gate to go into it and allow it to pivot. You lift gate up a bit to swing it open.

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Valencia – City of Arts and Science

We traveled to Valencia for a day to experience Santiago Calatrava’s architecture.

We had time to walk around for an hour or so before opening. This is Hemisphere building – Planetarium and IMAX which opens like an eyelid but we did not see that operate.

We are lucky to have such a beautiful clear morning to fully appreciate this City of Architecture complete with bridges.

Great signage for Museum of The Sciences: Museu De Les Ciencies

Lots of fun angles, shapes, and reflections.

Doesn’t this Fiat 500 remind you of the Mini Cooper Chase scene in the Italian Job? This is a 50 meter Communicating Arc, where you can talk to someone at the other end. Perfect acoustics. And a pretty nice reflection!

The fighter Jet gives a difference sense of scale. The columns are shaped to emulate trees. A truly grand space!

In addition to the Exhibit on Mars, we saw one on the Mediterranean, the Talking Brain, DNA Coding, and other sciences.

We even got to celebrate again the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing.

The legacy of Science: Severo Ochoa won this Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1959 for his discoveries about the decoding of deoxyribonucleic acid (RNA). We had not seen an actual Nobel Medallion before. There was a permanent exhibit on three science Nobel Prizes for Spain.

The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland – there is science in many stories – or so we learn! We are ready to take our own lunch downstairs.

The Umbracle is a green roof garden above the parking structure.

There were a lot of young people in groups, on the boats, and playing inside these bubbles. A very popular community park.

The next building to explore is the Palau De Les Arts – the Performing Arts Auditorium and Theater.

This looks very futuristic!

The center section is actually built like a bridge cantilevered over the top of the building.

This is the other side where the support is anchored into the ground.

A great day in Valencia!

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