|Sand Tiger Shark: Oceanografic|
|Fishes around an artificial reef: Oceanografic|
My main objective of visiting Valencia was one component of this enormous institution, the Oceanografic. It is the largest aquarium in Europe and the 10th largest in the world. I reckoned it would take me about 3 - 4 hours just to visit the Oceanografic. Having lesser confidence in other Valencian landmarks I sacrificed visiting other historic buildings, churches and squares and just focused on the Oceanografic. I booked a hotel nearby. This was slightly away from the city centre and nowhere near the public transport networks. On reaching the hotel by midday, I took a short cab ride to the Oceanografic. The advance ticket booked online came in real handy, as it was a Sunday and long queues were present on the ticket window.
|A gigantic Manta Ray "flying": Oceanografic|
|A white Beluga Whale playing with its "toy"|
|A Walrus at the Polar section of Oceanografic|
The crowning glory (and a bit controversial) is the Dolphin Show. It is conducted twice a day. We manage to catch it on a fluke. A large stadium like Dophinarium has been built. About six dolphins take part in the displays conducted by a similar number of trainers. There are other dolphins in adjoining tanks, seemingly used alternately to avoid taxing the same set of dolphins. The dolphins dance and perform acrobatic displays along with their trainers. It reminds one of the circuses of the era when animal shows were not banned. That may be an unfair comparison though. The dolphins look happy! They are rewarded with fish after every display. A film is shown about how the dolphins are treated and how this training is actually a part of the conservation program. One may feel a bit disconcerted but the show is awesome, to say the obvious. We all applaud wildly at the end of the show!
It took us nearly five hours of relentless exploring to see the Oceanografic. Needless to say, there is nothing else one can do on the day. We do stroll around the nearby Science Museum, the Hemisferic, and other structures of the Ciutat de les artes i les Ciencies. We walk back to the hotel and slump in our beds while the sun is still up and shining at 8.30 pm. The next day is the short and fast ride to Madrid by the Ave train.
|The peculiar ultramodern architecture of the Hemisferic|