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Back in the 1950's Valencia suffered a huge 'Gota Fria'(a massive and concentrated rainfall) that was so heavy that the Río Turía burst it's banks and flooded the city. The city fathers then did something quite amazing, diverting the river to an enormous flood channel that circles the city, and making the old riverbed into a huge and beautiful park. It is said that this park alone makes Valencia one of the greenest cities in southern continental Europe. The park winds through the heart of the city and boasts a wealth of outdoor activities, football, rugby and basketball pitches, running and walking tracks. Fountains and gardens and shady picnic areas, a Music Palace, beautiful bridges, a huge Gulliver for children to climb and play on, and, at its top end a new water park, where you can rent boats. The crowning glory of this fabulous park is the City of Arts and Sciences - a futuristic complex of Science Museum, Imax Cinema, Europes largest Oceanarium and the incredible new Palau de les Arts.

There are other lovely parks all over the city and now a new one is in the planning, The railway sidings behind the Main railway station are going underground and the entire area is to become Central Park with the station becoming a museum.

A few stops on the metro, bus or tram takes you out of the city to some of the outlying suburbs were there are more parks and green spaces and of course, there's always the Beach.

Malvarrosa is Valencia's beach, by the port, now a wonderful beach following a huge transformation, first for America's Cup and then for Formula One. Well worth visiting to watch the superyachts and to take a coffee on the waterfront.

Anita Darling and Lolita Devine in Valencia
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Anita Darling and Lolita Devine in Valencia