20.12.2012 - 20.12.2012 18 °C
Today was a fun day, which I had been looking forward to ever since I heard about the wonders of Valencia. Today we got to rent bikes and go to Europe's largest aquarium. We left our apartment a little after nine this morning, and walked down to the bike rental shop and picked up a 9€ bike for each of us. They were pretty scuffed up, but they served their purpose, even though they didn't have any gears. We rode on small one-way streets and hopped on and off our bikes as we avoided pedestrians and cars. But finally we made it to the park and had a nice quick ride through it. When we came to the area of town where the aquarium was, we were surprised to see how large and modern it looked. There were many shallow, and very blue, pools of water by the buildings, which were all very oddly shaped and most of which were bright white. The walkways around the pools were made of grey, square stones and white mosaic tile. My dad said that he was surprised at how little people think about the durability and upkeep of a building and its surroundings when they build it. To this I replied that if people kept that in mind all buildings would be boring and old... he agreed. After slowly biking around the area we stopped for a little picnic of crackers, cheese and granola bars. We finished off our lunch with some chocolate, and for a couple of us some oranges. After packing up we locked our bikes at a bike rack and bought ourselves some outrageously expensive tickets to the aquarium.
The first couple exhibits we went to consisted of some small, but unusual, fish, as well as some odd and brightly coloured birds. I enjoyed seeing the different types of fish, especially a 70 metre long tunnel you could walk through while watching the fish that swam around you. The birds were also interesting, as most were species I hadn't even heard of before. In their enclosure they had ponds which had very large fish and some small turtles as well. After this we sat down for a little to enjoy the sun that had finally revealed itself. Some of the exhibits were outside, making the weather an important aspect of our day. We had planned to go see the giant turtles after this, but were disappointed to find that they had left until spring, to avoid the cold weather. But we quickly revised our schedule and went off to see the sharks. In the indoor parts of the aquarium there was always music playing, and it changed depending on what kinds of animals you were looking at. The music at the shark tank was very mysterious and a little disturbing, which I found suited the scene quite well. This part of the aquarium was one of my favourites, as there was another tunnel. Though not as long as the last one, I found that I liked it better. This was because the water was higher around the tunnel, so when a fish swam overtop, it looked as though it had gone through the glass and was just floating above us, out of water. It was a very cool effect, and we spend while admiring the underbellies of sharks, rays and other sea creatures. My favourite animals in this area were the sawfish and the sunfish, both of which are extremely odd looking creatures.
After the shark tank we went to see the belugas, which for me was a little underwhelming. Although I loved seeing their cute little faces, they never once came up to the glass and half of their tank you were unable to see. Plus, there were only two, and even though one had recently given birth they had taken the baby away and he/she was nowhere to be found. Also seals kept swimming in from the other half of their enclosure which made it very hard to concentrate on the belugas. But nevertheless, I enjoyed seeing them again.
From belugas we went to dolphins which were in an outside arena because of the show that was happening soon. Hannah and my dad went to sit near the front, while my mom and I chose the farthest and highest corner, which was the only place that got sun. But when the show started we made our way down to the seats they had graciously saved for us, and sat down right next to the world's cutest baby, who was sleeping away in his snowsuit. The show went on for about 20 minutes, and tied (if not beat) the sharks for my favourite part of the day. It was a spectacular performance that included synchronized flips from the dolphins, as well as their trainers being moved through the water by the dolphins pushing their feet. One time during the show two of the dolphins jumped very high in the air and, by keeping their noses on the trainer's feet, brought the trainer into a spectacular jump and dive with them. But the show unfortunately had to end, and as we had nothing else to see in the aquarium, our day there had to end as well. But since we had the bikes until 7:30, we decided to ride around the park for a little while before riding home, which went very smoothly. Along the way we picked up some dinner (pizza and a salad) and went home to enjoy a simple, tasty and warm meal. After dinner Hannah and my mom went out shopping together, and my dad was forced to go alone as I opted to stay in and relax, as I had done some shopping the previous evening.
We all hope that you are enjoying beginning of the holiday season, and we wish you good luck and success in Christmas shopping as well.