Fallas seems as though it were just yesterday, but there can apparently be no rest in this city.
On the second Sunday of May, the festivals celebrating Our Lady of the Forsaken (La Virgen de los Desamparados) begin. Actually, the festivities truly begin the day before.
Mostly for ourselves, we’ve compiled a list of events ordered by day. Planning begins now! Use this as your cheat sheet to the party. And don’t forget that we’re “Virgen de los Desamparados”-virgins, so let us know if we’ve got any information mixed up or have forgotten something important.
Saturday, May 10th
Orchestral Concert in the Plaza de la Virgen
Fireworks near the Torres de Serrano (location) at midnight, following the concert
Danzà, in which more than 200 pairs dance in honor of the Virgen
The beginning of pilgrimages from many outlying towns into Valencia
Their will be crowds accumulating from 8pm onward, but the true action won’t begin until around 11pm.
Sunday, May 11th
Church services at 5am (!!!) and 8am
The Traslado: the move of the Virgin from the basilica to the nearby cathedral at 10:30am. Hordes of believers will be doing their best to touch Her Holiness during the move.
At 18:30 is the Official Procession, during which thousands of Valencians in traditional garb will be parading down the streets, while onlookers shower them with rose petals thrown from balconies.
Monday, May 12th
Traditional Market in the Plaza de la Reina (location), lasting all day.
At 20:30, two hours of choral music & regional dancing in the Plaza de la Virgen
Thursday, May 15th
Festival of the Florists, during which the temple will be completely adorned with flowers.
Wednesday, May 21st
Besamanos Público which marks the end of the festival. Unbelievable queues of people wishing to kiss the hand of the Virgin will form, beginning at 7am.
Of course, there are daily events during the course of festival, but most are entirely religious and boring not for us. Those listed above seem to be the highlights.
This statement is of course very subjective, since I’ve only been to 3 different horchaterias since living in the city.
The origin of the horchata can be found in Alboraya, a town bordering Valencia. And Alboraya’s Horchateria Daniel is the place to be. Huge and extremely popular, it’s also the birthplace of fartons – baked goodies to dunk in your Horchata.
I preferred sitting outside.
They also have a take-out counter – what you see in the cups is not beer, but Horchata!
Yummy fartons filled and covered with chocolate.
I drank a big class of horchata and munched down 5 fartons — 1 chocolate & 4 regulars:
And, yes, we skipped dinner.
Horchataria Daniel is easy get to since it’s right across the street from the metro station "Palmaret"
Avda de la Horchata 41
Tel. 96 185 88 66
Every Tuesday night, there is a Flamenco session at Radio City (location). We went this week, and had an excellent time.
I’m not an expert in Flamenco (and in fact, before I bought a Camarón de la Isla album 4 weeks ago, I had never really listened to it at all), but I think the performance in Radio City was pretty great. The performers all seemed to be a part of the same, extended Gypsy family. There were two singers, an older matriarchal figure & a younger one who looked as though she was giving birth, so pained was her expression while singing. Two guitarists provided the accompaniment — a grizzled, older dude who didn’t look up even once, and a much more lively & handsome younger man. ¡Gitano que guapo!
The musicians were fun enough to listen to (“fun” might be the wrong word — whatever it was they were wailing about cannot have been happy), but the highlight came when the dancers took the stage. First, a tall and very skinny guy stomped about, whipping his jacket from side to side and whipping himself into a frenzy. It was intense. At the apex of the dance he suddenly stopped and stared into the crowd, and at the same time the matriarch let loose with a wild gypsy howl — awesome.
And the second dancer, a woman, was even better. Every muscle was taut while she danced, and the tall guy was clapping the whole time for her, keeping the beat, yelling “Olé” and “Guapa” every once in a while. It really seemed as though the whole clan didn’t care whether an audience was there or not.
It must be said, though, that this was a stage performance, during which the audience was asked to remain quiet — not one of the wild, participatory sessions that can be found in Seville or elsewhere in Andalusia. Still, it was an incredible time.
The price is €7 and includes a drink. The show starts at 23:00, but show up a half-hour beforehand to ensure you get seats. There’s no need to buy tickets beforehand. As always, make sure to check the website of Radio City, to verify that this information hasn’t changed.
Just about every genre is well represented, especially books for kids. There were esoteric books, antique books with gilded pages, and historical tomes about the Valencian Community. With the weather in the city currently so serene (sunny, warm, light breeze) and the beauty of the surrounding garden, I could’ve spent all day browsing. It’s not only buying or reading books… just being around them kind of makes me happy. Kind of weird, I guess.
The festival runs until the 4th of May, so you still have plenty of time to go. Here’s a question to our Valencian readers — I enjoy crime novels (libros negros), and I’m eager to read a good one set inside Valencia. I tried asking a few of the vendors, but was met only with perplexity & shrugs. Can anyone suggest a good crime/mystery novel set in the city?
We're Jürgen and Mike, from Germany and the USA. We've been living in Valencia on-and-off since 2008. Much of our time is spent traveling the world with For 91 Days... but Valencia is the city we call home, and to which we'll always return.