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As my travel companions can tell you, I am not the swiftest when it comes to using a map. In fact, even WITH a map, I have a tendency to get turned around, lose track of the local sights, and go in really big circles. For example, when Kevin, Michael, and I were in Valencia, we spent an eventful evening heading right back to where we started. Clever, huh? I will have to say that it was at night, during Las Fallas, and we were working off of three different maps.

On this particular day, however, I had one mission that I needed to accomplish: see the Botanical Park. I knew where it was, had walked by it about a dozen times, and it treated me like a temptress treats a heartsick lover: visible but untouchable. In fact, I had even SEEN it over fences, through gates, and from the street, but finding the entrance was another matter altogether.

Here’s the secret: Go to Calle Quart and look for the building with the portholes in the walls. It is between Calle Túria and Calle Beato Gaspar Bono (here’s a map). There is a single entrance, which is unassuming and minimalist. Go in the doorway, and you will be able to pay a very reasonable admission fee to enter the park (I paid 2 €).

When I entered the park, I was not alone. There were school groups, tourists, exercising elderly people, and cats exploring the park along with me. Cats, you say? This park has become a haven for several groups of cats. Regardless of the other groups, the garden was quiet, serene, and had much to discover in its planned and more spontaneous areas. The sound of doves cooing in the trees was really almost surreal, and the exhibits were well-documented, laid out in groups, greenhouses, and zones. I would definitely recommend a longer visit next time.

Oh, yeah, the cats:

One of the buildings abutting the park: