As always, Karla thoroughly prepared for this excursion with a lecture on Gandía first.
A group ride share was organised and after picking up several members ‘en route’ we arrived in Gandia, a town in th southern part of the Valencian province, which was buzzing with the preparations for the Falla Fiestas on March 19th.
We visited the Santa Clara museum, where we were the only visitors. We strolled around enjoying the explanations by Karla about the religious works of art roughly from the 15th till the 17th centuries. There was Gregorian music playing in the atmosphere that made the visit extra special. All this heritage had been kept by the nuns of Santa Clara’s Monastery since the 1400's and only shared with the public in 1915 in this museum, which was the medieval hospital.
Needless to say, the famous Spanish Borja family who were patrons of the arts, were presented in paintings and murals as well.
Gandía sits on the shores of the Serpis river, now dry as a bone, but still a grand sight to view from the mirador.
After a quick cafe con leche accompanied by the parade of children, men and women dressed in the traditional Valencian costumes with bands playing the typical music that many of us have heard in these regions when fiestas are celebrated, we went on a pleasant walk to the Palau Ducal dels Borja.
This is where Francisco de Borja, the great grandson of Pope Alexandre VI, was born and raised. Long after his death, he became Saint Francisco de Borja and his great grandson Pascual de Borja brought the beauty of Italian baroque to the palace by building a series of rooms that celebrated in art and design the canonization of Francisco.
Our group lunch was catered by friendly couple at their charming Restaurant called EL GUSTO. It was a great end to an uplifting and educational day. Great stuff!"
* Trudi van Dorp, Cumbre del Sol