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Formula 1 in Valencia: The Aftermath

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Link: See Schumi in Valencia

Formula1 Valencia

The first Formula 1 race in Valencia is over and since we couldn’t afford tickets (and didn’t get press passes … yeah right – Holavalencia is still too small!), we went down to the track afterward. Being a photographer, wandering around the deserted track was more exciting than watching the race on TV.

As you’ll see, they’re far from being done erasing the traces of Formula 1 left around the Harbor.

Formula1 Valencia

Formula1 Valencia

Formula1 Valencia

Formula1 Valencia

Formula1 Valencia

Formula1 Valencia Box

Formula1 Valencia Hanging Out

Formula1 Valencia Harbout

Formula1 Valencia

Formula1 Valencia

Formula1 Valencia

Formula1 Valencia

Formula1 Valencia

Formula1 Valencia Green House Effect

Formula1 Valencia

Formula1 Valencia Leftovers

Formula1 Valencia Structure

They even had a helicopter airport:

Formula1 Valencia Airport

Formula1 Valencia Helicopter


August 28, 2008 at 2:21 pm Comments (10)

Buñol – La Tomatina!

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This Wednesday, the 27th of August, the small town of Buñol will once again play host to one of the world’s most famously bizarre festivals: The Tomatina.

You’ve probably seen the images — hundreds of people throwing millions of tomatoes at each other, turning the city’s streets into a mushy, red mess. The celebration has been going on for 63 years, and serves as a way to get stress out before the beginning of fall. It’s always on the last Wednesday of August.

Buñol is just 45 minutes by train from Valencia, and Renfe has special service there on Wednesday. Below is a copy of their information flier. There are a lot of trains both there and back but please note — I have no idea how crowded or full the trains will be. Also note that the trains leave from Sant Isidre not the main train station.

There are numerous operators offering bus rides for about €30 — which is far more than what Renfe charges. There’s information on buses here.

August 26, 2008 at 12:06 pm Comments (2)

Valencia Formula 1 – Turn Those Motors On!

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It’s unbelievable, and goes against everything I’ve ever stood for as an educated member of civilized society: I am excited for a car race.

I can’t wait, despite being completely ignorant about Formula 1. In fact, here is the entire compendium of my knowledge of the sport:

Things I Know About F1

1 Approximately half of the drivers are named Rikkïï Hikkööniken.
2 The cars a bit more cool-looking than those of NASCAR.
3 One of the best drivers is black, and he has to put up with a lot of racism.
4 Red Bull has a team. They don’t have wings.
5 Car go fast VROOM

That’s it! The extent of my knowledge.

The most likely reason for my giddy state is that excitement is contagious, and all Valencia is excited about the European Grand Prix. It’s the only topic of conversation in the cafés, there are F1 paraphernalia and information stands in all the main city shops & squares, hordes of fans have invaded, and everyone just seems geared up. By most accounts, the unique race track at the harbor is a great one, which should offer the opportunity for a lot of drama. And it’s great to see the city, still unaccountably over-looked as a tourist destination, in the limelight.

So who am I rooting for? Honestly, it makes absolutely no difference to me, so I’ll pull for the best looking. Now… which of you will it be?

Timo Glock, congratulations. I’m your biggest fan.

More information at

August 22, 2008 at 6:12 pm Comments (8)

Valencia’s Roman Origins

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In 138 BC, Junius Brutus established a small colony of Roman soldiers on an island in the river Turia, known as Valentia. Although the area had been previously inhabited by unorganized Iberian tribes, this is considered to be the founding of Valencia.

Ruins of the Circo Romano found near C/ La Paz in 1989 (

Pompey: Boo!

Valentia wasn’t an important city, paling in comparison to the wealthy northern port of Sagunto. But though it constantly battled the twin threats of flooding from the Turia and invasions from the ever-present Iberian natives, Valentia slowly gained traction and prominence… until 75 AD when Pompey razed it to the ground in retribution for having supported Quintus Sertorius in a civil war. Valentia was completely destroyed, its ruins existing uninhabited for half a century afterwards. Though general history respects him as a wise and noble leader, you’d probably have a hard time finding any monuments to Pompey in Valencia.

Over the next few hundred years, people began to return and Valentia was rebuilt as a more important part of the Roman empire. This is the period which saw the torture and death of San Vicente Mártir, an event credited with bringing Christianity to the city, and the establishment of administrative works and efficient Roman infrastructure, including a “Circo Romano” — a chariot track. Able to enjoy a couple centuries of relative peace & prosperity, Valencia became a major Mediterranean port.

Martyrdom is a bucketful of giggles

Good times, of course, didn’t last. Once the Roman Empire began to crumble, Valencia and the rest of the peninsula fell into the hands of the Visigoths

If you’re interested in Roman ruins, the best place to see them is actually in nearby Sagunto. The small city, about an hour north of Valencia, boasts a magnificent Roman forum (still in use) and many other ruins. But if you don’t have the means for a day trip, the archaeological site at the Plaza de la Almoina also has ruins from Roman times. It’s right in the middle of the city (location) and is a must see.

And for history buffs, a visit to the History Museum of Valencia is an absolute must (location). A fascinating journey through 2000 years of they city’s history, from 138 BC to the present day. There are English guides, and all of the audio-visual exhibits are in English as well.

August 19, 2008 at 6:29 pm Comments (3)

Holidays in Valencia

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For most of humanity, public holidays are a breathlessly awaited godsend. But when you work independently, and are living in a new country, they can be an unexpected nuisance.

Ach, get up there already.

Like today, for instance. I woke up early, intending to get a paper and sit at my favorite café for breakfast. Oh, the plans I had for the day! A haircut, shopping, registering for social security… yes, I’ll need a hearty breakfast for power!

On stepping out, it took me awhile to notice how silent the city was. No cars, no businessmen, even the ever-present hippie drug dealer at the corner was absent. And of course, everything was closed. Assumption Day!

Assumption Day is a national holiday?! My plans were destroyed, my life sent into utter turmoil, all because Mary had to ascend into heaven.

Never again will I be caught off guard! Here is a full list of holidays in Valencia. Be prepared! But note: these dates are for 2008 — some of the holidays (like Easter) might fall on other days in 2009.

January 1st – New Year’s Day
January 22nd – San Vicente Martir
March 19th – San José – Also: End of Fallas
March 20th – Holy Thursday
March 21st – Good Friday
March 24th – Easter Monday
March 31st – San Vicente Ferrer – Falls on the Monday after Easter
May 1st – Labor Day
August 15th – Assumption Day – Lame!
October 9th – Day of the Valencian Community
November 1st – All Saints Day
December 6th – Day of the Constitution
December 8th – Immaculate Conception
December 25th – Christmas

Just an observation, and probably something most Christians wonder about at some point in their upbringing: if the Immaculate Conception was December 8th, doesn’t that make Jesus the ultimate preemie?

August 16, 2008 at 8:33 am Comments (0)

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