Foto Friday: Santiago Calatrava

My dad has this habit of suggesting things. If I’m visiting a certain city, he’ll mention a show I should go see or a person I should meet up with. Never mind that I don’t know the person — it’s his cousin’s best friend from fourth grade — or have any interest in the show — but it’s about birds! everyone likes birds! — he will insist that I check it out. Over the years, I have learned to smile and nod and say, “Sure thing, Dad. I’ll definitely look into it,” with no intention of doing so at all.

When I studied abroad in Spain two years ago, I thought I would be free of my dad’s suggestions. He doesn’t speak Spanish. Who could he know in Spain? So imagine my surprise when right before I left, he called to tell me there was something I just HAD to check out.

“Yes, bridges. By a man named… Calatrava.”
“Uh, okay…”
“Did you write that down?”
No.“Of course.”
“They’re in Valencia.”
“Dad, I’m in Madrid.”
“You can’t go to Valencia?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, try to see them.”
“Sure thing, Dad. I’ll definitely look into it.”

When I booked my trips — to Seville to see Marci, to Barcelona, to Paris — I thought nothing of my conversation with my dad. But the program I was in, IES, arranged a couple weekend trips for us, including one to Valencia.

I was actually late to the Valencia trip because I was coming on my own from Seville, where I had spent Marci’s birthday with her, refusing to drink sangria. (Sorry!! I probably should have had some…) So when I did finally meet up with my classmates, I was exhausted. I was half-asleep as we rode on the tour bus with our guide narrating the history of each sight as we passed.

I woke up when I saw this:

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This is the entrance to L’Oceanografic, Valencia’s amazing zoo/aquarium, and part of their Ciutat de les Arts i de les Ciencies, most of which is designed by — you guessed it — Santiago Calatrava. I rolled my eyes when I heard our tour guide intone his name through her microphone. My dad was never going to let me hear the end of this.

But as I saw more of Calatrava’s architecture, I fell in love, with his work and the city that embraced it, and I decided that maybe I should listen to my father more often.

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Like this:



Did someone order a pep talk?


The only thing that sucks about weekends


  1. Angela


  2. Alex

    You forgot about the ORXATA! :-D

  3. Haha. This was the FIRST trip to Valencia. I didn’t have orxata until I went with you!

  4. Those pictures and the architecture is amazing.

    Dad knows some stuff after all.

    — phhhst’s last blog post: I Just Want to be a MACHO MAN. Macho, macho man. Come on, put a little wiggle in it before you start reading….

  5. Hehe, apparently he does. ;)

  6. Wow, that really is some beautiful architecture. The bridges are way prettier than the ones I saw in Dublin.

    — Michelle’s last blog post: HP – those crazy givers

  7. Yeah, to be honest his bridge in Valencia wasn’t all that impressive compared to the complex of museums.

  8. Trisha

    Do you have ANY idea how many hours (and I mean 2-4 at a time) we spent, growing up, sitting in our car near some architecturally significant construct waiting for dad to finish taking slides of it? Once in a great while one of us would have the honor bestowed upon us of getting to stand near said construct and be in the picture. Oh wait, that was typically when he needed a height reference.

    Be eternally thankful he is has been reduced to just making suggestions.

    At least that is what my therapist keeps telling me.

  9. Lol yeah yeah, the older ones always have it the worst. >P

    Actually no, I know it’s true. There are boxes full of slides in our closet to prove it! I definitely put in some hours too — although he’d graduated to film by the time he could torture me — but yes, suggestions were far better than actually having to GO to everything.

  10. wow, kho… those pictures are absolutely amazing! the vantage point on all of them is like… perfect. :)

  11. Thanks! I took like a billion pictures that day, so a few were bound to come out good. ;)

    Also, it’s hard to take pics of those buildings that don’t show their beauty.

  12. great pictures:) Its too bad the U.S. doesn’t invest in more amazing architecture like that.

    — Shelby White’s last blog post: Creatively & Effectively Succeeding

  13. I agree! Although we do have some nice stuff around… I think the problem is you have to fly all over the country, unlike in Europe where one city is filled with all sorts of gems. I swear that continent (or whatever it is) is like one giant beautiful canvas!

    I think in time the U.S. could get there, though…

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