I am having a little addiction problem. At this time, according to the original plan, I was supposed to be merrily chugging through Seville and Cadiz, and perhaps even Toledo… but instead, I’m back where I was a week ago: in Valencia, Spain.
“Woman, why can’t you just move on?!” you exclaim. My answer: Because Valencia is great. And thus let us continue our Reasons I Love Valencia series.
Today’s reason: I love Valencia because it has a giant, snaking park that used to be a river!
If you gaze at any map of this city (such as the one conveniently pictured below) you will see that Valencia has a sexy emerald belt draped around its waist. From whence did this feature come? Well apparently, there used to be a fat river winding through Valencia, but when it flooded and badly damaged the city, the government diverted the water to the outskirts of town, leaving behind a big empty riverbed.
The head honchos in town started plans to turn that riverbed into a highway, but the people of this town united and hollered: “NO! That riverbed shall be a park, not a mass of concrete!” And thanks to their rallying, Valencia now sports miles and miles of luscious grass, trees, and playing fields! It’s called the Jardín del Turia, and stretches 10 kilometers long.
Words cannot express to you how important green space is for my happiness, and thus in my overall rating of any city. Perhaps this preference is embedded into my bones, having grown up in Boston, so famous for its “Emerald Necklace” chain of parks, and also being a fan of Drake Park in Bend, Oregon. But one thing is for sure: green space keeps me sane.
Now here’s a question for you: What do you think is a more useful green space shape for a city: a big rectangle like Central Park, or a scrumptiously long, thin river of green? For all that it may get me beaten up by New York fanatics, I vote for the river-shaped park as superior!
My reason is, with a long skinny park, you are able to access the grass from a greater swath of the city because you get a much longer perimeter. This means more people can be made happy by the green!
A girl just came in this hostel dorm and flopped on her bed, exclaiming: “I like this city so much! And yet, I had never even heard about it before.”
I’m supposed to take a train somewhere else in Spain sometime soon (I really should, right?), but instead, I may just extend my stay here yet another night. While I’m at it, maybe I should check out a meeting of Valencia Addicts Anonymous! But first… off for a run in that riverbed park. Yum!
The author, Lillie Marshall, is 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 3.7 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!