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The Mestalla – Go While You Can!

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We went to the VCF-Mallorca match yesterday. It was a horrible game — uninspired soccer from the home team, ending in an embarrassing 0-3 defeat. So, let’s concentrate on something more interesting: The Mestalla.

mestalla-gate-valencia

mestalla-curve-valencia

mestalla-open-seat

This is one of the best stadiums I’ve ever been to. We’ve been sitting in the cheap seats — La Grada de la Mar — which is a decision I can whole-heartedly recommend. Only €15 for a good bird’s-eye view of the action, plus an incredible panorama of the city over the stadium’s western wall. If you suffer from vertigo, though, I recommend choosing seats further down. The terrace is incredibly steep.

puking-valencia-fan

The Mestalla was inaugurated in 1923, and has played an important historical role in the city ever since. During the civil war, it was used as a concentration camp and storage area, and in 1957 was almost destroyed by the massive flooding that devastated Valencia. But like the city itself, it came back better than ever. Over the years it has added more and more seating (the terraces of La Grada de la Mar are clearly a new addition), and can today seat more than 55,000 spectators.

But if you want to experience a Valencia CF match in the Mestalla, don’t delay, because it’s being replaced. The Nou Mestalla is scheduled to open in 2009, close to the Palau de Congressos (location of future site). Not quite as central as the old Mestalla, but still within walking distance of the city center.

Until recently, I had been privately critical of the new Mestalla. Ridiculously, I (an American, who’d been to 2 matches) had developed a sense of allegiance to the old stadium. Well, my ridiculous loyalty didn’t prove to be very strong — after watching the 2-minute introductory video for the new stadium, I abandoned it entirely. And now, I can’t wait for the future to arrive.

Website of the New Mestalla
Valencia CF’s Home Page

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March 31, 2008 at 3:45 pm Comments (5)

San Vicente Ferrer

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Hey Valencia, we get it. You love fiestas.


Party Time (source)

We thought it was over after Fallas but, nope, we had forgotten about the rest of the Easter Week festivities. And now this Monday — almost like a sick joke — comes another holiday, this time to celebrate San Vicente Ferrer, the patron saint of Valencia. I give up.

Will there be…

  • Parades? Check!
  • Stores closed? Check!
  • Quasi-Christian processions and holy images? Check, check!
  • Mascletàs? Sadly, no.
  • But orphans recreating San Vicente’s “miracles” on stage? CHECK!

So, fine, let’s just get it over with. And then please… no more fiestas. It’s enough, seriously.

March 29, 2008 at 9:10 am Comments (2)

Ficus macrophylla – The Strangler Tree

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In the neighboring parks of Glorieta (location) and Parterre (location) three monumental trees immediately grab your attention. These are Valencia’s most prominent Moreton Bay Figs (Ficus macrophylla). Their mammoth, twisting roots provide great seats in the shade, and an easy photo opportunity for uninspired tourists. “No, honey! Stand on the root. That’s right! Now wave to Daddy! Haw-haw, that’s great! Just great!!”

But these hulking monsters aren’t quite as benevolent as we usually assume large trees to be.

The characteristic “melting” appearance of the Moreton Bay fig is due to its habit of dropping aerial roots from its branches … When its seeds land in the branch of a host tree it sends aerial, ‘strangler’ roots down the host trunk, eventually killing the host and standing alone. (Source: Wikipedia)

Scary. Add to that the facts that (a) they’re usually pollinated by wasps, and (b) they produce figs (ech!), and all of a sudden these gentle giants don’t seem so gentle.

And the posing tourists would be none too happy to learn that our dog Chucky loves crawling around the roots looking for the perfect pooping spot (see diagram). And I’ve seen many, many other dogs do the same.


Don’t worry, we clean up after her!

March 28, 2008 at 6:49 pm Comments (3)

Orange Blossom Blooming

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orange-blossoms-Valencia

It’s spring now in Valencia and at the plaza nearby the orange trees have begun to spread the lush smell of orange blossoms.

Here some more random images from last week:

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giant-valencia-Lady

turia-River-Bed-Valencia

under-bridge-valencia

March 28, 2008 at 4:39 pm Comments (0)

Menú del Día: Ao Yama – Japonés

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You are in for a treat.

Today we went to this Japanese Restaurant called "AO Yama" which had been suggested to me by Inma from my Spanish Language School (Inma: I owe you big time). As their Menú del Día, they offer a "Buffet Libre a la Carta" for €8.90, which means you can order as much as you want from their menu. You don’t have to go up to any buffet — just tell the waiters what you want, and they’ll keep it coming!

Amazing!

Their lunch menu offers over 40 different dishes – Everything from soup, fried rice, various chicken, beef, fish and vegetarian dishes, sushi and yummy desserts, all as much as you want, and all for €8.90! I just can’t get over it. Everything was super delicious.

Beverages are not included!

Got a secret restaurant tip? Feel free to share it on our Valencia Restaurant Forum.

Here are some of the dishes we chose.

Fried Mushroom Rice, Philadelphia Sushi Rolls and a variety of Spring-Rolls:

spanish-spring-rolls

Double Fried Beef in Honey:

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Chicken Sautée:

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Fried Chicken in thick lemon sauce:

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Sesame and Green Tea Ice Cream:

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AO YAMA

Joaquín Costa, 3

46005 Valencia

Tel. 96 374 89 43

Location on Our Valencia Map

March 26, 2008 at 8:51 pm Comments (5)

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