Unless you haven’t noticed, we are both kind of nerds [Henry: “Kind of”? 😛 ] [Mariam: Well, Henry more than me :)] [Henry: I am nerd incarnate! ]. So the first places we went to when we arrived in Valencia was the massive Universitat Politécnica de Valènica (founded in 1968) and the (considerably less massive but way older) Universitat de València (founded in 1499).
The Universitat Politécnica de València is a wonderfully expansive place – upon arriving, we managed to casually walk 2km without even intending to do so.
And as you can see, we only did a cursory walkthrough of about 1/3 of the campus (maybe even less, if we were to ever do the math for real), and we somehow still managed to walk that much. You could easily hold half-marathons just by setting laps around the place!
Inside the campus, it was pretty serene – understandable, since it’s summer after all. If there were classes, there would be few of them. And almost certainly, the majority of the students were home for summer or otherwise off-campus.
That made it easy for us to casually walk and snap off pics of interesting sites and structures. One of the more striking things about this place is the sheer number of statues and sculptures that dot the campus. Here’s a few of our favourites:
One of the things we noticed was just how green the whole place was. Trees – palm or otherwise, lined up long, long stretches of road, and grass and flowers covered the campus.
Outside of that, there’s a pretty nice emphasis on sports (we feel). We saw soccer fields, a swath of tennis courts, and what seemed like (we didn’t verify) an Olympic track (given Henry’s growing obsession with running, it’s a safe bet he’ll be back with his running shoes and compression socks for a long trek around the lanes) [Henry: Oh yes, I will 😀 ].
For nerds like us, no trip to a university would be complete without visiting the library. This one is what you’d expect from a university library. It’s even quieter than usual though. The silence almost felt heavy. Good news for people who really need to focus!
In one of the buildings, there was a conference going on. We mingled among the attendees for some added university authenticity 😛 .
After that, we went back outside and kept on walking around. Henry also tried – and failed – an impromptu session of rock-climbing [Mariam: He was cute, trying to get up the rock 🙂 ].
Henry also tried to re-enact a training montage scene from a kung fu movie when he found a spot that was just deluged in bright yellow leaves.
Universitat de València
The Universitat de València was our next port of call. If we want to be technical about it, it was really easy to visit it, since several of its departments were literally located across the street from some parts of Politécnica.
However, its main campus and residences were about 2km away from Politécnica. We trekked along some main streets and some back streets to get Valencia’s oldest university, and we were glad for the opportunity to take a path less trod by the average tourist. We noticed quite a few unexpectedly-placed medical clinics and stores on the way.
When we finally arrived at the Universitat de València, we were struck by three things: Its buildings (that we could tell) were definitely older, its overall area seemed much smaller than Politècnica’s, and it felt overrun by construction! Now we can definitely see that it is one of the oldest surviving universities of the nation!
Some part of the campus was closed due to construction, so we wandered part of its perimeter (including some students’ residences and dining areas. We also went into its med school, which was quite gigantic and beautiful. Take a look, for example, the med school:
We really wish that we could have visited more and gotten more of a sense of this university, but from the parts that we saw, we could feel a sense of pride and beauty in many of the structures.
Overall, our visits to the two universities was a great little start to our stay in Valencia! We highly recommend it – even for the non-nerds out there!
Where to find the Universitat Politècnica de Valencia:
Address: Camí de Vera, s/n, 46022 Valencia
Phone: 963 87 70 00
Where to find the Universitat de València
Addres: Av. de Blasco Ibáñez, 13, 46010 València
Phone: 963 86 41 00