As a young, Scottish globetrotting anthropologist I’ve been lucky to find an eight months post, teaching English in Valencia. The city and its people have made me so welcome and especially the EMT bus service. Within my first few days, I received a ‘joven’ card, which entitled me to a wide range of Valencia’s free public transport. I use this ‘tarjeta’ daily both for work and leisure. This is my love story with the ’95’ bus and my private thank you too.

The 95 bus glides along the Turia gardens through Campanar to Cabanyal. It links the Bioparc and the Oceanogràfic aquarium so it provides the perfect route for lovers of flora and fauna. The aquarium is the largest of its kind in Europe containing 45,000 specimens from 500 species in different diverse marine habitats.

Equally, one cannot help visit Bioparc. With 150 African species ranging from Nile hippos to Madagascan lemurs all enjoying the arid savannah, wetlands and bamboo forest, up close and personal interactions leave visitors with a deeper understanding of the significance of protecting our animal counterparts.

For fashion lovers, there are several stops of interest. When I arrived in October I took the 95 to the Hemisféric in the City of the Arts and Sciences to the annual Clec Fashion Festival. Its focus was on global warming and protecting the oceans from pollution and rising sea levels. So seas of people dressed in arctic blue and white made their way to the catwalks in their charity shop finds, very conscious that the EMT buses offered a safe and sustainable way to travel while helping them to maintain a low carbon footprint. Each year, the theme is different with of course a new dress code and interactive activities like prizes and sets for digitally documenting one’s experience individually or with friends.

Thinking of art, I used the 95 to visit the recent the immersive Sollera show at the seaside, which ran until Christmas, showcasing the life and works of Valencia’s most famous painter. This particular exhibition closed at Christmas but the 95 route, returning to the old town stops directly at the city’s major art gallery where original examples of his masterpieces can be seen. One can even visit the Cervelló Palace from this stop which was the residence of kings and other important figures from the 19th century. The decadent aristocratic palatial rooms are sumptuous and well worth taking in.

Another stop, which is perfect for culture lovers who want to deepen their understanding of Valencia’s rich ethnographic tapestry, was the Fallas museum. I saw all the posters from previous years, the beautiful portraits of  fallera women and of course the winning ninots which have been spared from the fire. It was fascinating to see the variety and the change in taste from social commentary to more nostalgic pieces.

This year’s winner falls into the last category with its scene of an older man and his granddaughter in a traditional horchateria. Horchata (in Castilian Spanish and orxata in Valencian) is a delicious nutritional drink made from ground chufa nuts (tiger nuts) originating from the southwest of Valencia. Locals normally consume this beverage in summer as a refreshing non-alcoholic option to combat the heat along with a traditional pastry known as a farton. There are several striking horchateria located throughout the city but the Horchateria de Santa Catalina is one of the oldest in the city with over two centuries of tradition. The interior comprises of gorgeous Moorish tiles decorating the walls with brightly coloured mosaics illustrating Valencia’s rich cultural heritage.

The 95 continues to the City of the Arts and Sciences which is one of the twelve treasures of Spain. Here in El Saler shopping centre, I came upon a wonderful display of Falla attire for both men and women. And of course if one wants to feel transported to another planet then the Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava’s City of the Arts and Sciences is the cherry on top of the cake. Not only has this avant-garde architectural masterpiece been used as a filming location for multiple movies (Intergalactic, Tomorrowland and Brave New World) it even featured in the episode “Smile” from BBC’s iconic Doctor Who! But if you’d like to learn more about planet Earth then the complex offers a riveting interactive science museum as well as a state-of-the -art planetarium showing films and educational 45 minute documentaries for all the family to enjoy.

Of course I love other routes: the 24 to the rice fields of El Palmar’s Albufera and their top paella restaurants, the C2 to the football stadium and the brutalist buildings of the university, the C1 circling the city with all its tourist destinations and the 73, which takes me home from the Mercat Central  with my fresh produce. But the 95 really was the vital artery of Valencian life – showcasing the very best of culture, art, fashion and architecture  throughout the city.  As long as you don’t get lose exploring all the 95 bus has to offer you’ll have a whale of a time! And you may even spot one in the Oceanogràfic too!

Report by Olivia Bastin  

Article copyright ‘24/7 Valencia’

Photo copyright Olivia Bastin/ ’24/7 Valencia’

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1 Comment

  1. Cameron

    Wow! What an insightful article! I can’t wait to ride on the 95 bus!

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