Tag Archives: nature

Faces and places of Valencia

While I’m not a huge fan of hop-on|hop-off buses, it’s worth taking one when you arrive in Valencia, on Spain’s southeastern coast, for a snapshot of the city. But you’ll need to get off the bus and take to the streets to really get a feel for this amazing (and dramatic) place…

Another world

Science, technology, art and nature merge perfectly in Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences – and it’s no surprise this is one of the 12 Treasures of Spain.

Futuristic buildings house an IMAX theatre complex, a science museum, an arts palace, and the largest aquarium in Europe. To be here is to be awestruck.

© Louise Creely 2016

Wait, did someone say aquarium? I’m in! There are hundreds of aquatic and marine species at the Oceanogràfic, some in massive underwater towers that represent the major ecosystems of the planet.

But we can’t stay here forever watching those cruising sharks and graceful manta rays, or the cheeky sea lions and sassy penguins… or can we?

© Louise Creely 2016

© Louise Creely 2016
A wild life…

© Louise Creely 2016

What could top the underwater wonders of Oceanogràfic? A walk on the wild side at Bioparc Valencia of course.

This has to be one of the best zoos you will ever visit. It’s so carefully and cleverly designed that the animals seem less hemmed in and more relaxed in their environment.

And you feel like you’re right there with them in the forests of Madagascar, the savannah and equatorial Africa. I could go on (and on), but they speak for themselves really……


© Louise Creely 2016

Blending in on the viewing platform…

© Louise Creely 2016

© Louise Creely 2016

© Louise Creely 2016

Street scenes

Back streets, cobblestone alleys, abandoned buildings – the urban canvas inspires edgy and incredible artwork. It’s definitely my gallery of choice – and here in Valencia I’m in street art heaven. Here’s two of my favourites (more coming soon).

2016-10-27 11.36.59



Last stop… 

It’s hard to miss Estación del Norte when you’re leaving Valencia by train – but this is one gorgeous station. Opened in 1917, the original porcelain tiles, carved woodwork and lamps instantly transport you to a time when train travel was fresh, exciting – and slower!

It’s a fitting end to our visit, and we leave feeling we have barely scraped the surface of this delightful city. Adiós y gracias, Valencia.

© Louise Creely 2016

Bien viaje!

Paddling the Noosa River

On the day the world was ‘officially’ supposed to end, EB and I took off up the Noosa River on Australia’s Sunshine Coast for some paddling.

Copyright: Louise Ralph

Past paddling days along the upper reaches of the Noosa River

There’s nothing like camping and paddling along a gorgeous river, far from the silly-season crowds, to bring back a little perspective. That was the plan, anyway.

Our intention was to camp at Harry’s Hut on Noosa River’s upper reaches, which is only accessible by 4WD or on  foot. But height became our undoing.

We’ve been here many times, but this was the first time we’d negotiated the rough track in the Douglas Albert – and with our double kayak on top. We laughed at the distinct possibility that we’d almost get there, then not be able to get under or around a thick low-hanging branch.

Try a fallen tree, propped in the fork of a tree on the opposite side of the road, just low enough to shave the roof of our motorhome (and the kayak with it).

With shallow gullies either side and dusk settling around us, we had no choice but to shrug, do a 25-point turn (okay, slight exaggeration) and head back to the more accessible Boreen Point camping area, on the edge Lake Cootharaba.

We found some privacy beside a paperbark forest, far enough from the camping hordes settled in for the long holidays.

Copyright: Louise RalphWaking to a chorus of crickets the next morning, we set off to paddle across the lake towards the lower reaches of the Noosa River – and into a haze of smoke from bushfires on both river banks.

Along the sheltered edge of the lake, a sting ray nestled on the sandy bottom, its white-spotted brown body just visible.

Flashes of silver surrounded us as fish leapt out of the water. Now if we’d been fisher-folks…

Copyright: Louise RalphThe egrets we usually see here had evacuated, but a brahminy kite circled above us and darters extended their snake-like necks from safe perches to watch us passing.

The world didn’t end, and Christmas is upon us. Time to eat, drink, be merry – and plan our next trip or three.

Oh and to see if Santa will deliver a light-weight, waterproof, smashproof camera for our paddling, hiking and cycling adventures.

Cheers reindeers, and happy travels,

Lou and EB

Copyright: Louise Ralph