Five Things to Do in Valencia

Valencia
Valencia

Valencia is one of the largest cities in Spain, but to me, it was a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of tourist season in Barcelona. Valencia is just a 5 hour bus ride from Barcelona. My bus ticket cost approximately 30 euros, but only because I bought the ticket at the bus station in Barcelona. Note: The Alsa website only accepts Spanish credit cards. However, I was informed after the fact, that they do accept PayPal.

Five Things to Do in Valencia:

Bike through the Jardines de Turia to the Beach

The Jardines de Turia are 9 kilometers of old river bed that were transformed into a beautiful, public park. The park runs through the center of Valencia and its designated bicycle lanes make for a smooth, scenic ride through the city. The end of the park is only a short distance to the sandy, sprawling beaches of Valencia.

Bicycles are by far the best mode of transportation in Valencia and can be rented for as little as 9 euros per day. Hostels usually have deals for bike rentals as well, I rented a bike for 10 euros for two days through Feetup Hostels The Red Nest and Passion Bikes.

Visit La Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias

La Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias is must-see cultural center for art and science lovers. La Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias is home to Europe’s largest aquarium, L’Oceanografic, Palau de les Arts, L’Hemisferic and the Museu de Les Ciencies Principe Felipe. The center is conveniently located at the southeastern end of the Jardines de Turia and is easily accessed by bike or public transport. I visited the Museu de les Ciencies during Pixar’s 25th anniversary exhibit. It cost 8 euros for a ticket to the exhibit, which included entry to the museum.

Get wild in Bioparc Valencia

The Bioparc, unlike most zoos, has no fences separating the animals from visitors. Instead the zoo utilizes natural barriers, such as boulders and foliage to give visitors the illusion of being in the animal’s environment. This is the one thing I regret not doing in Valencia, as many people told me it was an amazing experience.

Eat Paella Valenciana

Valencia is where the Spanish rice dish, paella, originated. Traditional Paella Valenciana recipes contain rabbit and chicken. Most restaurants throughout Valencia serve paella, however I was told by a local that the dish is generally only served at lunchtime. Click here for more info about Paella

Visit the Torres de Serranos

Built at the end of the 14th century, the Torres de Serranos is one of the 12 gates found along the old medieval city wall of Valencia. Originally built as a defense mechanism, the tower later housed prisoners. The Torres de Serranos is one of the largest Gothic city gates in Europe. On Sundays entry to the Torres de Serranos is free.

Links:
Wikipedia entry on Valencia

Survival Spanish for travellers

Learn Spanish in Valencia

Basic facts about the Schengen.

So you’re planning an extended trip to Europe, great! You most likely have already mapped out the cities you’d like to visit, sought out friends for advice and possibly went ahead and downloaded the best apps for travel… but have you thought about a visa?

It is always a good idea to research a country’s specific entry requirements before planning a trip abroad. For non-EU citizens planning to backpack or travel throughout Europe for more than 3 months, in addition to having a valid passport, you will need to familiarize yourself with the Schengen Area Agreement.

What is the Schengen Area Agreement? It is a border agreement between 26 European countries to allow EU citizens to travel and settle freely within the area. Non-EU citizens, with the proper documentation, are also permitted to travel freely within the Schengen area, but are limited to 90 days out of an 180 day period.

Schengen countries include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Liechtenstein.

 

You may be asking yourself, but what if I want to travel throughout Europe for longer than 90 days?

Traveling for more than 90 days throughout Europe is possible, if you plan accordingly. You can split up time between the Schengen area and non-Schengen countries. Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom are all part of the EU, but are non-Schengen countries.

For example, you can spend 45 days in the Schengen area, then fly to say, the United Kingdom, and spend however many days the UK tourist visa will allow, then re-enter the Schengen area for your remaining 45 days.

Again, it is best to research country specific entry requirements before considering travel to the United Kingdom, or another non-Schengen country, as you may be asked for additional documentation.

For more information about the Schengen area visit:

The European Commission’s Migration and Home Affairs website.

SchengenVisaInfo.com

 

 

Some interesting facts about space

Interesting facts about space

Man on the moon
In Space

The nearest galaxy to our own (the Milky Way) is Andromeda, approximately 2.5 million light years away. It is also the most distant object you can see with your naked eye; you can see it on very clear nights with no light pollution. The Andromeda galaxy is approaching our own at the rate of 140 kilometers per second and will one day collide and merge to create a singular giant galaxy. Scientists estimate this will happen in around 4 billion years time.

The Soviet Union’s Space program achieved many of the initial milestones in space exploration. The first man-made structure to orbit the Earth was the USSR’s Sputnik 1 in 1957, the first human in Space was the Soviet “Yuri Gagarin” in 1961 and the first space station (Salyut 1) in 1971 was launched by the USSR. However, it was the USA and NASA who put the first men on the moon with the Apollo 11 spacecraft; Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin being the first men to step on the moon and Michael Collins the spacecraft’s pilot. Armstrong spent roughly two and a half hours outside of the spacecraft. After landing, all three crew members had to spend 21 days in quarantine where they were visited by Richard Nixon, the president of the USA at the time.

Approximately 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered in water and the land is mainly composed of iron, oxygen, silicon and magnesium with the majority of the iron being contained in the Earth’s core. The Earth tilts at around 66 degrees, bulges at the center around the equator and its rotation is slowing at a rate of 17 milliseconds every 100 years. The Earth is the only planet in the solar system not to be named after a Greek or Roman god.

With the launch of Sputnik 2 was Laika, the Siberian Husky, who was the first animal to orbit the Earth. However, it was fruit flies, not Laika, that were the very first animals ever in space. In February 1947 the United States put fruit flies in V-2 rockets in order to study the effects of radiation. The very first mammal being a monkey named “Albert II” that was used by the United States to measure vital signs.

In the 1950s the United States government were considering detonating a nuclear bomb on the Moon in order to intimidate the USSR during the “Space Race”. Some theories suggest that the Moon was formed after a giant collision between Earth and another planet called. The tides on the Earth are created by the Moon’s gravitational pull. The Moon has no atmosphere and is completely unprotected against cosmic rays and, due to the Earth’s gravitational pull, the Moon suffers from seismic tremors about 7km under the surface.

Where can you find the majority of the Earth’s iron? (in the core)

How much of the Earth’s surface is covered in water? (70%)

What is the name of our galaxy? (The Milky Way)

When will the Andromeda galaxy collide with our own? (in 4 billion years)

Who was the first human in Space? (Yuri Gagarin)

When was Sputnik launched? (1957)

How long did Neil Armstrong spend outside of the spacecraft? (two and a half hours)

Which member of Apollo 11 did not step on the moon? (Michael Collins)

What was the name of the first space station? (Salyut 1)

How long did the crew members of Apollo 11 spend in quarantine? (21 days)

What were the first animals in space? (fruit flies)

What was the name of the first animal to orbit the Earth? (Laika)

Why did the USA send Albert II into space? (To measure vital signs)

What is the composition of the Moon’s atmosphere? (It doesn’t have one)

What happens 7km under the surface of the moon?

What did the US government want to do on the moon to intimidate the USSR? (detonate a nuclear bomb)

How was the Moon formed? (Theories say the Earth and a planet called “Theia” collided and shattered)

What protection does the Moon have from cosmic rays? (none)

Sources

Earth Facts

Moon Facts

http://www.space.com/17764-laika-first-animals-in-space.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_exploration

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_11

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andromeda%E2%80%93Milky_Way_collision

Andromeda Galaxy Facts

Facts about New York City

New York
New York

A permanent Dutch settlement was established at Fort Orange (now Albany) in 1624. The following year Peter Minuit bought Manhattan Island from the Indians in exchange for some objects worth about 60 Dutch guilders and founded the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam (now New York City). It is difficult to calculate how much this would be worth in modern times and estimates vary between $1000 and $19000 but in any case it was extremely cheap. The Indians had no concept of property ownership at that time and did not fully understand what it was to own land.

New York City is famous for its skyscrapers which are concentrated in Midtown and Lower Manhattan. There are 5,845 high-rises, 98 of which are higher than 600 feet or 183 m. The tallest building in New York is One World Trade Center, which is 1,776 feet or 541 m. One of the most famous skyscrapers is the Empire State Building 1,250 feet or 380 m. It was the tallest building in New York between 1931 and 1970.

In 2014 the population New York City was almost 20 million. There are more than 26,000 people living in each square mile. 51.6% of New Yorkers are women and 17.4% are black. On average there is a birth every 4.4. minutes and a death every 9.1 minutes. New York was the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790. It has been largest city in the USA since 1790.

The terrorist attacks on September 11th 2001 shocked the world when American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, were crashed into the North and South towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Within two hours, both of the 110-story towers collapsed. The attacks killed 2,996 people (including 19 hijackers) and caused at least $10 billion in property and infrastructure damage. The cleanup of the World Trade Center site was completed in May 2002 and in 2006 construction of One World Trade Center began at the World Trade Center site. The building was officially opened in November 2014

Since the 1920s the nickname for New York City has been the “Big Apple”. The city of New York will pay for a one-way plane ticket for any homeless person if they have a guaranteed place to stay. The “New York Post” established in 1803 by Alexander Hamilton is the oldest running newspaper in the United States. Times Square is named after the New York Times.

Tourism in New York City is a major industry and there are over 54 million foreign and American tourists each year including day-trippers. One of the big tourist attraction of New York city is the Statue of Liberty which is a giant statue given to America in 1886 by the French. It is visited by 4m people each year. The Statue of Liberty was designed by Gustave Eiffel who also designed the Eiffel Tower. In high winds of 50mph Lady Liberty can sway by up to 3 inches, while her torch can move 5 inches. From the ground to the top of the torch the statue measures 93 metres, and weighs 204 metric tonnes.