Valencia

España

Valencia, the third-largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona, is a city that bridges together the past and the future. From the centre of the city, you can find century-old buildings such as the Cathedral of Valencia, still bearing bullet holes from a distant war, and the Plaza de Toros de Valencia, where bullfighters still battle raging bulls in an adrenaline-filled show. As you stroll closer to the sea, you will come upon the famous futuristic City of Arts and Sciences, created by native-born architect Santiago Calatrava. This former flood-prone riverbed now bears revolutionary buildings including an opera house and performing arts centre, a science museum, an IMAX cinema and planetarium, an oceanographic park and several restaurants, floating atop a massive swimming pool.

Valencia is a bilingual city of Valencian and Spanish and a cultural hub for a few world-famous celebrations. Two of these celebrations are Las Fallas (Falles in Valencian), a festival held in March in commemoration of Saint Joseph, and La Tomatina, a massive tomato fight in August in the nearby town of Buñol.

This booming Spanish city is also widely known for its exquisite cuisine and as being the birthplace of the mouthwatering paella (a simmered rice dish with meat or seafood). Other traditional Valencian dishes include fideuà (similar to paella, but with noodles), buñuelos de calabaza (pumpkin donut holes), fartons (an elongated confectionary sweet) and orxata or horchata in Spanish (a cool drink made of ground almonds usually eaten with fartons).

Valencia’s popularity as a tourist destination has been steadily increasing in light of the not-so-distant world famous metropolitans of Barcelona and Madrid, due to its distinct architecture and one-of-a-kind festivals.

CosmoCaixa Barcelona

España

CosmoCaixa is a 30,000 square meter science museum in Barcelona, Spain. The building was designed in 1904 with a Modernista style by architect Josep Domènech i Estapà. CosmoCaixa was named the first interactive science museum in Spain and is one of the largest in the country. The museum is an exciting facility of nine floors, six of which are underground, and a large patio offering views of the city. When visitors first enter the building they walk 30 meters down a gigantic spiral ramp surrounding an Acariquara tree from the Amazon. On the main floor of the museum visitors can test out science experiments first hand and produce their own waves, sandstorms, tornadoes and rock formations. A 1,000 square meter jungle greenhouse lies within the museum with 30 meter tall Amazonian trees floating above the water. This Flooded Forest contains a wide biodiversity of animals including fish, turtles, snakes, frogs, stingrays and even a capibara.  The museum also hosts a planetarium, where visitors can have an interactive look at the stars, as well as many temporary exhibits, including the “Languages and the Brain” exhibit which tackles linguistics. CosmoCaixa is an exciting facility, booming with knowledge and information about life and science.