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Darwin & Africa at the MuVIM

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Considering the unrelenting chill and rain which have been making life in Valencia miserable for the past few days, we stuck to indoor activities this past Sunday and visited the MuVIM – Valencia’s Museum of Illustration and Modernity (location).


The most publicized of the exhibits was Monomania — a “fun” collection of cutout monkeys meant to honor Darwin’s 200th birthday. We couldn’t believe that we trudged through the rain and slop in order to see this. Maybe we just didn’t get it, because this small room full of identical cut-out monkeys with “punny” phrases was extraordinarily underwhelming. Like, 30 seconds was too much time.

Luckily, the MuVIM is also offering two other extremely fascinating, complementary exhibits on the 1930’s French mission from Dakar, Senegal to Djibouti, Ethiopa. On the MuVIM’s bottom floor is a collection of artifacts, posters & photographs from the mission. The intention of the explorers was to justify continued French colonialism, and many of the pieces on display betray the patronizaion and patriarchy in which Europe held Africa. Fascinating — as much for the glimpse into Africa, as for that into the European colonial mindset.


A complimentary exhibit displays photographs of Africa taken by Françoise Huguier between 1988 and 1990, when he followed the route of the Dakar-Djibouti mission. Wonderful impressions.

All of these exhibits run until May 10th. At least 2 of them are worth your time.

MuVIM’s Official Website
Location on our Valencia Map

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March 31, 2009 at 6:28 pm Comments (0)

Day Trip to Jérica

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Set along a slope in the mountains of Alto Palancia, Jérica is a beautiful village with an abundance of sights. Easily reachable from Valencia by regional train, it makes an excellent day trip.


No more than 200 meters from the railway station (“Jérica-Vivier” on the C5, one stop past Navajas), Jérica has a population of less than 2000 people, but offers plenty to see.


The first stop should be to the tourist office, unmissable & found near the entrance to the city walls. Apparently, Jérica is not exactly overrun with tourists — the man working in the office absolutely came to life when we entered, brushing the cobwebs off his shoulder and eagerly launching into his long forgotten art of Advice Giving.


The first dated accounts of a settlement in Jérica are from Muslim times, in the 11th Century. The city towers — its most recognizable and impressive landmarks — date from this time. Walking around Jérica means a lot of ascending and descending. The city is small enough to make getting lost nearly impossible, and around nearly every curve, something else impressive reveals itself… an old church, a covered alleyway, a strange Christ icon, an old lady selling olive oil from her window, an ancient gate. It makes for a great couple hours of exploration.


Once you’ve had lunch (we enjoyed an excellent €8 menú del día at Tonico), you’ll have the necessary strength to walk up to La Torreta, an abandoned watchtower in need of repair set on Jérica’s highest point. From here, you’ll have an amazing view of the region. To the northwest you can see Viver, a similarly-sized town 2 kilometers away, and an impressive cliff face and valley to the south.


A round trip ticket on the Renfe train costs around €8,40. Jérica itself doesn’t demand more than a few hours, but there’s excellent hiking and biking opportunities in the area, as well. In that case, you’d probably want to stay the night.

This was a wonderful day trip. I think next time, we’ll be taking our hiking boots — the Alto Palancia area has a lot to offer the intrepid.

More images from Jèrica:



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March 31, 2009 at 4:34 pm Comment (1)

Pizarro-Cirilo Amorós: The Monuments of Fallas 2009

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7th Place

2008 Ranking: 8th Place
“Viatge pel temps”

One of the most central Fallas monuments this year was among the very best — at least according to us. We would’ve put Pizarro-Cirilo Amorós’s hilarious and beautiful “journey through time” in the top 4, and are disappointed about its 7th place finish (location).

With a strong theme unifying its different aspects, this was the Fallas monument that made the most “sense” as you walked around it. Famous characters from history find themselves in different epochs. So you have Diego Velázquez choking the life out of Picasso for modernizing one of his paintings, and Amy Winehouse offering a light to cavemen.


And the large elements of the monument, which represent the time machine, were striking as well. The old professor hangs on for dear life as a futuristic robotic woman points the way towards the future. Great stuff.


Falla Pizarro-Cirilo Amorós: Official Website
Location on our Valencia Map

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March 30, 2009 at 1:04 pm Comments (0)

Cuba-Literato Azorín: The Monuments of Fallas 2009

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8th Place

2008 Ranking: 10th Place
“Barbaritats voràs, en la falla, un cabàs”

Barbarians invade Valencia! Moving up 2 spots this year is Cuba-Litarto Azorín’s monument (location). With wacky characters and an interesting theme, this was a lot of fun to walk around. We heard more than one old lady cackling at the ninots.

Placed just 100 meters down the road from Sueca-Literato Azorín’s, it’s hard to avoid comparing the two monuments. You’d likely view one right after the other. In this case, we think the jury got it right — Cuba-Literato Azorín’s was slightly better.


Cuba-Literato Azorín: Official Website
Location on our Fallas 2009 Map

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March 27, 2009 at 5:03 pm Comments (0)

Vetusta Morla in Greenspace

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Greenspace (location) is temporarily closing its doors for renovation, and has invited one of Spain’s best bands to headline the final concert on March 29th: Vetusta Morla.

Vetusta Morla [Source:]

The sextet from Madrid won top honors in Spain’s Premios de la Música, earlier this year, and are held in high regard by critics. I discovered them about a month ago, on the recommendation of a indie-loving friend. Really great music, and I’m betting it sounds good live. Here’s a video for Copenhague, off their latest album Un Día en el Mundo.

Location of Greenspace on our Valencia Map
Vetusta Morla’s Website

March 27, 2009 at 12:32 pm Comments (0)

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