Monday, 4 June 2012

Where you don't mind waiting for a train.

There's nowhere better to be left waiting for a train, than Valencia-Estació del Nord railway station, Spain. Especially if the sun is shining and you can step outside to take a look at its glorious facade. Built in the early 20th century by Valencian architect, Demetrio Ribes, the facade showcases the essential elements of Valencian life, oranges, the freshwater lake at Albufeira (where much of the rice for the traditional 'paella' is grown), Valencian traditional dress and the 'barraca' houses.
Enter the station and you'll find a wood-panelled treasure of a ticket-office. The walls are beautifully decorated with tiled mosaics, each giving a 'Pleasant Journey,' style message in a different language. I can spot the obvious Spanish and English, but then struggle with what seem to be Italian, Greek, Russian, maybe Japanese, and some others that I'm not really sure of. (Please drop me a line if you can shed light on the others).


Whatever you do, don't miss the small, glass-fronted 'office' in the right-hand corner of the ticket-office. This is possibly the most spectacular sight of all. Enormous scenes, painted on tiles (the areas is famous for tile-making), show aspects of Valencian life in stunning detail and colour. You can see ladies in traditional dress selling beautiful flowers, the old-fashioned 'barraca' houses near Albufeira freshwater lake and, of course, trees laden with oranges.
You could easily get lost in the beauty of it all.

But don't get so distracted, that you miss your train...

N.B., a word of thanks to the contributors to the Thorn Tree travel forum who identified some of the languages for me. 

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