WELL AND TRULY BANISHED BUT THEN...

DAY 1 Saturday 1 September 2018

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The Central Market is one of the glories of Valencia.

 After a slice of tortilla at a local cafe and coffee in the Central Market with friends James and Blanca, I take the Metro to Sant Isidre (patron saint of farmers and peasants) in search of the Turia.

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An unpicturesque part of town; its skyline dominated by high rise flats and the overhead wires of several intersecting railway lines.

On the map it looks like a short walk to the diverted Turia, but when I enquiry at the station the girl looks mystified. “No es posible”; shaking her head when I show her the map. “It’s under the motorways” she says. 

Well and truly banished.

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Photo of a street map at the Metro station showing the diverted River Turia bounded by the Autovia V-30. 

 Screenshot image of the diverted Turia bounded by the V-30. Weep ye Naiads. 

Screenshot image of the diverted Turia bounded by the V-30. Weep ye Naiads. 

At 6.30pm I board the bus to Chelva, after a onerous journey wheeling my too-big suitcase in and out of lifts and several Metro interchanges.

On the bus, I hear a broad Yorkshire accent; I’m sitting in front of a woman from Hull who’s been working as a hairdresser in the region for over 10 years.

As the bus nears Chelva I can see the usual ugly concrete flats on the outskirts, but then a very grand Baroque church tower on a hill nestled amongst terracotta tiled roofs and stuccoed walls.

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Typical View

Ben meets me off the bus and we visit a supermarket and then an old man who sells me 8 free-range eggs for the price of six.

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From my kitchen window

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The sound of water is everywhere; it roars up from iron gratings and trickles from spouts in the walls and fountains.

The house and garden are charming and the town a delight of narrow winding streets; an old Arab town, a Jewish Quarter and a grand town plaza overlooked by the cathedral, a large town hall and importantly cafes and bars.

But I discover that above all this is a place famous for its waters!

Over 100 springs rise under the town and the sound of flowing water is an integral part of its soundscape.

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Typical alley in the old Arab area; many of the houses and alleys are painted powder blue.

Ben and Helma invite me to baked salmon accompanied with a very nice red wine.

This is my kind of place.