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Calming trip to Valencia’s nature reserve L’Albufera

On Wednesday, Costa de Valencia’s language students had the opportunity to discover Valencia’s nature reserve L’Albufera. The reserve’s name comes from the Arabic and means “little sea”, as its highlight is a huge freshwater lake, which has been connected to the Mediterranean Sea once. Today the lake is home for many fish and bird species and on its surrounding wetlands a major part of Spain’s rice is cultivated.

In a group of six, we made our way from the language school to the south of Valencia. After 35 minutes via bus, we arrived at our destination: The huge lake with its green shores lay in front of us; the water was smooth as glass. At the boat dock we were excited to see some fish swimming through the water!

Then we went on a boat trip! We went aboard a long wooden boat and left the dock.  From the water we had a great view of the green lakeshore. In the distance we could see a village and some mountains, and when we looked closely we could even see the curved shape of Valencia’s Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias. Along the journey, the skipper told us about the formation of the freshwater lake.

A long time ago L’Albufera was a gulf, but then a coastline shaped by the two rivers Júcar and Turia separated it more and more from the sea. The lake also was once much bigger; it even extended all the way to Valencia. This changed when residents built a dam to completely separate the lake from the sea and use the surrounding wetlands for rice cultivation.

As the skipper steered us into a small channel we were surrounded by reed, becoming closer to the vegetation and the animals. We could see several ducks, herons and terns. Here and there a libellee buzzed around and we could see fish popping up on the water surface. As we returned to the boat dock, the sun reflected on the lake while dark clouds covered the sky creating a very special atmosphere.

When we left the boat and walked along the lakeshore back to the bus stop, we could see two fishermen patching their nets.

This afternoon was a great way to escape city life and relax in the beautiful nature, before then returning to the vivid city of Valencia.