See What Tomorrow Will Look Like by Visiting the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain

The last time we thought about Valencia was when we ordered the 1961 epic movie “El Cid” from Netflix. However, our recent trip to Spain showed us there were many contemporary reasons to consider the ancient and relatively humble Valencia as a first class vacation destination.

A place where yesterday meets tomorrow

Since the time of El Cid – over the last thousand years or so – Valencia has seen Christian and Muslim conquerors come and go. Its history also includes being the birthplace of two Catholic Popes and three of the kings of Europe.

More recently, the city hosted the America’s Cup races and the Formula One European Grand Prix, but for the most part Valencia had taken up a quiet place in Spain’s colorful history – until the decade of the 1990s.

Enter the City of Arts and Sciences

If Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry (1921-1991) had lived to see the creation of the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias by renowned Valencian architect, Santiago Calatrava, he may not have selected Marin County, California as the 2161 building site of the Starfleet Academy. Instead, he might have asked Senor Calatrava to design it for him in Valencia.

Construction on Calatrava’s amazing complex of otherworldly buildings began in 1998 along the old bed of the redirected Turia River at a reputed cost of more than $2.5 billion dollars.

The main structures

The Umbracle is the huge promenade entrance to the City of Arts and Sciences. Numerous lofty arches are covered in verdant vines that protect a garden and several species of tropical plants and trees.Along the colorful walk you will also find the ‘Stroll of the Sculptures’ an outdoor gallery of nine unusual figures by contemporary artists.

The Prince Phillip Museum of Sciences opened in 2000 and its design is often said to resemble a whale’s skeleton, or a dinosaur’s spine. Whatever your muse, this magnificent exhibit is actually an interactive museum that will prove fascinating to anyone interested in the scientific disciplines that study everything from questions about the origin of the universe to contemporary issues like the enigma of climate change.

The Queen Sophia Palace of Arts sits amidst a setting of Mediterranean blue reflecting pools. When it opened in 2005, it became the signature performing arts center in Spain for opera, theatre, and dance. At 248 feet, it is the tallest opera house in the world. The site encompasses four multi-purpose auditoriums and the smallest hall seats 400, the largest 1,700 people.

Proudly, the Queen Sophia Company hosts the Centre of Perfeccionament Placido Domingo, which is a celebrated program for young talented opera artists. As the name indicates, the program honors Spain’s most famous tenor, Placido Domingo.

The Oceanographic is like an underwater city and is the largest aquarium in Europe. It features over 500 species of fish and mammal inhabitants collected from the world’s oceans. The oceanographic compound covers some 20-acres and includes an unusual aquarium restaurant with floor to ceiling glass walls where curious fish can watch you savor the catch of the day along with your paella.

The Hemispheric is a visually striking eye-shaped Planetarium in the midst of a stunning turquoise pool. This popular attraction has a computerized astro-projector that shows the night sky with all the planets and stars on a screen so large you feel like an astronaut.

There is also a laser show displayed on a 900 square foot screen, and visitors can watch IMAX and 3-D journeys through space. It is no wonder that the Hemispheric Planetarium is now one of the top five buildings visited in Spain.

The Agora is the latest structure created by Calatrava’s architectural genius. This surrealistic multi-use sports arena is 262 feet high and seats over 5,500 spectators. The Agora is the venue for the Valencia Open 500 and is expected to take its place among the greatest sports facilities in the world.

The combined images

The various buildings of the Valencia City of Arts and Sciences have been called ‘techno-palaces’ and they certainly live up to the name. The scope of this unusual complex is breathtaking and an architectural marvel. The light, reflecting waters, shapes, and structural designs are a photographer’s dream. This is an intellectual Disneyland and could be a megalopolis base in the Galactic Empire in Star Wars.

Don’t miss the rest of Valencia

Visitors to Valencia will want to tour other attractions in the ancient city, like the Barrio del Carmen. Our bet is that your most cherished memories of Valencia will include both Calatrava’s brilliant gift of a glimpse of the future right along with the historic monuments of the past.

If you go

Valencia is 220 miles south of Barcelona on the sunny eastern coast of Spain. Valencia is easy to reach by airplane, train, bus, auto, and ship. If you arrive in Spain through Barcelona, be sure to check out our favorite boutique and unique hotel in Barcelona, the L’Antic Espai.

We flew to Barcelona from New York, with a stopover in Dublin via Air Lingus. We enjoyed the Irish hospitality in the air. We think you will too.

Happy travels!

Travels with Wayne and Judy

Wayne and Judy Bayliff are photojournalists who travel the world looking for exceptional vacation getaways. They photograph and write about romantic, luxury, unique, historic, and exclusive resorts, lodgings, eateries, cruises, and airlines. Their subjects are sometimes unusual, but always fun!

The Academy Of Global Performing Artist/Entertainment Content Creator Careers

Global Performing Artists Career/Entertainment Content Creator Career – Exactly What Is It?

Have you ever taken a moment to think about the possibilities? For decades in the last century we’re always led to believe that many of the best-loved performers we’ve had the pleasure to experience here on these shores epitomized the thought of what a true global talent was. Actually, to be more precise the term most often used to describe them is/was “International Superstar”. This term has been bandied about quite loosely for some time without anyone who portends to know what it means stepping up to lay out its parameters for average folk. By the way, who are this mysterious cadre of beings laying such lofty accolades out there as if they were dispensing Pez? What are the definitions or standards that set those chosen as deities on earth apart from the rest of us? What extraordinary valuation is applied to their person or ability to entertain accords them this status purportedly recognized throughout he world? And what about those performing arts individuals on the other side of the world that wreak their own havoc as they stride among common folk through metropolitan towns and cities on a casual walk about? Just as important at this time, who out there, in the entire world has come close to filling the gigantic imprint left by the absence of the life or the presence of the world’s most arguably famous entertainer ever, Michael Jackson.

And here is where the spat begins. While most would agree with the estimation of Mike’s prowess and the assessment of the King of Pop’s legacy, there are many who will emphatically plead a case for the crown going to Sinatra, Bing, Hope, Madonna, Celine, Prince or a whole slew of others, including THE King – Elvis Presley (don’t forget about Marilyn). While all of these folks are very well-recognized for their endeavors and magnificent achievements, how many reached the level where the likes of Barbara Streisand, Liz Taylor or Michael have hung? Look far and wide into the pop culture of any other country and you will be able to make a case for a dozen or so other prolific icons.

Be that as it may, again I ask who lays out the parameters, rules or standards by which this lofty status is measured? It used to be simple. How much money an individual made or the product he was selling could often be used as justification to award the moniker “international superstar” (or global talent). That line became blurred a bit when publicity and press departments at various media companies began using fuzzy math to fudge the numbers in favor or perpetrating something that wasn’t exactly true.

Does the term “Global Performing Talent” imply that the artist is multifaceted, that they possess the skill to manipulate a number of performing arts talents making them some sort of “dynamo” in the entertainment arena?

Perhaps this was true at one point but it seems to suggests why so may performers having tried to cross genres in various fields of entertainment did so unsuccessfully (Jackson is but one of them. Does that preclude him from the title race?). There are those who have accomplished this magnificent feet quite admirably (Barbara Streisand and Frank Sinatra stand tall among their peers in this respect). Add to that another prolific element, the ability to be an outstanding content creator and a very few stand head and shoulders above the rest. Barbara Streisand comes to mind in each category. To aspire to a career reminiscent of hers should be the least a performer today should look forward to if they are to be memorialized, remembered and revered for eon’s like Plato (student of Socrates), Archimedes or Galileo. The one or two common threads that run through the lives of all these individuals is science and mathematics, the main basics of modern technological advancements today. Though the application of mathematics in traditional China being architecture and geography, a revolution in physics commenced by Newtonian kinematics in the West and the dawning of the Age of Enlightenment did more to bring together a confluence of events and help shape the beginning of this era of modern technology. Four centuries later, in this the 21st, we find ourselves once again being led into a new dimension and era of life that holds so much promise for the future. With the recognition of what is going on laid squarely at our feet it is time for the worlds societies to grab hold and embrace these changes that scream out a loud roar in our faces everyday, yet we sit complacent and if not complacent unnerved by the events taking place which we think we have no control over. Stop fearing change. Change is good no matter what tact it takes.

The Kenny Beck Academy and Superstarcase association of global entities offers this as the definitive explanation of the “Globalization of performing artists & entertainment content creator careers”:

Enter a new existence – a new extension, a new dimension of life. As the ability to perform certain skills in entertainment well undoubtedly lay claim as the judging premise of establishing “superstar criteria”, should this be the only test by which the claim should be made valid? Audiences, who grew up depending on the purported wisdom of television program exec’s to guide them to certain enclaves of entertainment where they were to be transported to mythical and fabled existences, have been thrown a curve ball now. Technology has entered the fray in a bold new assault in a no-holds barred attempt to dominate the presence, time and attention of all who dare challenge it’s ability to control the time/space continuum. How often have you sat down to interact with some new video attraction only to find yourself deeply immersed in its “antics for hours on end without realizing where the time has went. This is a point that I think to many of us are sorely missing when it comes to realizing the gravitational type effect these technically genius devices have on our psyches.

Performing, as the realization of a new dimension we have now entered becomes more prevalent to our reality and we as human beings become more cognizant of its existence portends the creation of something so unimaginably foreign that we may as well have been imbued with its quality by one of the alien masters who purportedly placed us here on earth to begin with. No? Actually, simply by coming to grips with and recognizing that we ARE in this new phase you will place yourself light-years ahead of your peers. You will be afforded the luxury of being one of the most astute individuals able to take advantage of something that others have not even begun to scratch the surface of yet. It happens every 4 or 5 hundred years or so.