Turn off your TV. You will no longer need your weekly dose of Packed to the Rafters, or your episodes of House MD, or your regular fix of Modern Family. We’re following the adventures of new Dad, Brendan, as he and his partner, Viv, as they travel to exotic faraway places, negotiating long flights, hotel rooms and the ups and downs of daily parenthood with their baby daughter, Edie (Pants).
Entry 7 – El Parc del Turia
We’re in Bilbao, having crossed Spain via Cuenca and Arando de Duero. Edie has gone and got herself sick for the first time in her life and Viv and I have got a bit of it too. I suppose we can expect this to become the norm soon enough, so I’m told, but for now it makes us a little anxious. Edie is still cheerful enough, and she sleeps well in the car – which is a blessing in itself – so we’ve made the trip north quickly.
Time has changed its quality again, from the day to day of life in Valencia where one day blurred with the next, to travel time, where each day stands on its own, and thinking back to last week is like remembering the distant past. But before the news of new places, one last tribute to Valencia – our home of the last 5 weeks – and in particular to the Parc del Turia.
To the north of the old city, the dry riverbed of the Turia winds its way from the Bioparc in the west, to the City of Arts and Sciences in the east, and not so far from the port. The river was diverted after the floods of 1957 to run south of the city, and the old riverbed was gradually transformed into an elongated park about nine kilometres long and up to half a kilometre wide. The Parc del Turia is, to my mind, one of the great urban parks of the world. Dotted with playing fields, fountains and with running tracks snaking its length, it is the Aorta of Valencia, and one of the great tributes to the pre-eminence of public life in Spain.
We spent some time on the Turia every day. Our place was only a couple of minutes walk to its centre. I even took up running four to five kilometres along it every day, marking my progress against the 100 metre signs that measure its length. We took a soccer ball down and Edie sat in the pram, watching the ball move between us like she was watching a tennis match. And then there were the visits to the sights of the Bioparc and Arts and Science buildings, and of course the regular walks to the Carrefour supermarket at the Western end. I cannot rave enough about the park. Along with the wide white beaches and the city itself, I have to now acknowledge Valencia as my favourite Spanish city and my first destination for a home away from Australia. Beth and John are very fortunate to be here for three years, and we were also fortunate for their hospitality in showing us around and introducing us to the best of this wonderful city.