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Parque de Marchalenes

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The Parque de Marchalenes (or Marxalenes, in Valencian) is situated in the middle of the north-western neighborhood of Valencia which shares its name, and was inaugurated in June of 2001. (Location on our Valencia Map)

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Source: Google Maps

At 80,000 square meters, Marchalenes is one of the largest parks in the city and has a lot to offer residents, from sports fields, to playgrounds to a cafeteria. It’s dedicated to the Huerta, or “garden”, of Valencian past, which provided sustenance to rural households, and often included ornamental gardens. These concepts are represented in the park’s layout, along with a “forest” lake that provides water via aqueducts to the rest of the grounds.

As part of Marchalenes’ homage to the huerta, a number of old buildings have been preserved for the present day, such as the Casa de Voro — a small, typical rural building constructed in the 1900s on top of a barraca. There’s also a number of medieval farmhouses (alquerías) and even an old oil factory. Many are still under construction, so can’t currently be visited.

The Ayuntamiento has a PDF about the Parque de Marchalenes which is as informative as it is difficult to find. The park, which is still in the process of reconstruction, is an interesting little slice of the city. It’s not necessarily the most beautiful of Valencia’s green areas, but certainly vibrant and popular with the neighbors.

Location on our Valencia Map

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Travel Blog


September 30, 2009 at 6:21 pm Comments (0)

Authentic USA Rodeo in the Plaza de Toros

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Last night, we caught the American Rodeo in the Plaza de Toros on the first of its two nights in the city. Quite a spectacle — the show is two hours long and packed full of entertainment. In all, 7 rodeo disciplines are practiced. In between each, the crowd is treated to mini-events like lasso-spinning and rodeo clowns.

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The first event was possibly the most spectacular — bareback bronco riding. Watching those cowboys get tossed around made my back hurt. A couple riders got tossed during the saddle-riding event, and it was all pretty exhilarating. I had expected the bull riding to be more intense, but although the bulls were bigger and certainly more frightening in aspect, they were less maniacally violent than the broncs.

An unexpected highlight was the barrel riding — the cowgirls’ only chance to shine. The only Spaniard in the rodeo is a Valencian barrel rider, and when she burst out of the gate and around her three barrels in lightning speed, the hometown crowd went crazy. Shame she didn’t win… but the purty lass from Kansas was faster.

We also enjoyed the calf roping, where a cowboy would first lasso, then tackle, then bind the legs of a calf. This event probably sent the Animal Cruelty protesters, who had gathered outside the arena prior to the rodeo, into apocalyptic rage. I thought it was kind of cool, and would later practice on my French Bulldog at home.

All of the events were great fun and the only disappointment was the entertainment between each. The rodeo clown’s jokes were woefully unfunny, and even more so for the crowd, who had to wait for the English-Spanish translation. At one point, he mocked the announcer with a swishy walk. Gay jokes might fly in the Southwestern US, buddy, but not in Europe, where most people don’t automatically associate homosexuality with weakness and negativity.

But that aside, the rodeo was great fun, and the crowd was eating it up… dancing, shouting “YEE-HAW”, and waving their cowboy hats into the air. It remains curious to me that Spain, with its equestrian culture, has waited so long to try out an American rodeo. The show repeats tonight (Sunday 27th) at 20:00h, and I would guess tickets are still available. Starting at €22, you certainly get your money’s worth of entertainment… and the cowboys and cowgirls aren’t bad eye candy, either.

After Valencia, the rodeo rolls into Benidorm, Marbella and Albacete. Check their website for more information.

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Spa Hotel Valencia

September 27, 2009 at 12:31 pm Comments (4)

War Criminal Arrested in Valencia

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During Argentina’s Dirty War of 1976-1983, the military government sponsored and supported violence against its own citizens, attempting to root out dissidents and radicals. By most accepted accounts, over 30,000 Argentines were murdered.

One of the war’s more notorious practices was the “Death Flights”. Suspected dissidents would be drugged and put on a plane, then unceremoniously dumped into the Atlantic. Hundreds of such flights occurred, with thousands drowned. One of the pilots suspected of participating in them, Julio Alberto Poch, was arrested yesterday in Valencia’s Manises airport.

Poch is a pilot for the Dutch Transavia airline, who offer cheap flights to Amsterdam. Spanish agents detained him in accordance with a Argentine warrant. The accused murderer had been living in the Netherlands, protected from extradition thanks to his dual Dutch citizenship.

It’s hard to believe that Transavia would employ a criminal as one of their pilots — a man who dumped drugged “passengers” to their deaths in the ocean, and later boasted about it (according to an Argentine judge). Terrifying. I’d like to believe that the airline didn’t know, but the warrant was issued last year. All of a sudden, €53 from Valencia to Amsterdam doesn’t sound like such a great deal.

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September 24, 2009 at 9:22 am Comments (0)

Valencia Spa Hotel with History: Las Arenas

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Pamper yourself! Enjoy a weekend in the Sea View Junior Suite (aka Suite Malvarrosa) of the Spa Hotel Las Arenas right on top of Malvarrosa Beach. From the suite, you would have had a fantastic view for last week’s air show. But who really needs any outside distraction, when staying in the spa? The whole purpose is to forget out the outside world.

The free minibar and access to the spa helps with that

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The suite also offers:

  • Double Bed
  • Terrace Furniture
  • Office equipped with: Coffee maker, microwave, ice machine and plate, cutlery and glass service.
  • Safe
  • Wifi
  • Pillow Menu ( yummy)
  • Two 32” TVs one in the living room and the other in the bedroom.
  • Bath with Jacuzzi and independent shower cabin
  • Comfortable dressing gowns and slippers
  • Magnifying mirror

Make your reservations here: Las Arenas

Everyone who’s visited Malvarrosa Beach has seen the hotel. But did you know that the two smaller buildings in front pre-date the hotel, and have been spas for decades? The beach didn’t use to be so wide, and the water nearly reached them.

Here some more information about the history of the Las Arenas hotel:

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The hotel is located within the old Las Arenas SPA which dates back to the late XIX century and was a meeting point for the most select members of society. In those days the SPA offered its guests warm sea baths with waves, with surprising effects for sufferers of arthritis and injuries as well as neurological illnesses. In addition to the baths, the complex had swimming pools, a pavilion overlooking the sea which housed a restaurant, a summer cinema, dancing, swimming competitions, popular celebrations etc. In the afternoons and the in the evenings an orchestra would play music by the swimming pools and was one of the main attractions in Valencia during the summer season.

In the year 2002 building work on the New Hotel Las Arenas Health Spa Resort began. During that year all that remained was one of the two pillared buildings and the swimming pool, as the other identical building had been destroyed during the Spanish Civil War. The building that remained was fully restored and the other was rebuilt as a perfect replica of the original.

The Pool area dates back to 1933 and was completely restored during the original project, respecting the dimensions of the 33m long pool, as well as the children’s pool and sun terrace area. The famous old “Las Arenas” Trampoline was also restored.

Now, the entire pool area has been used to create a luxurious and modern spa, located around and underneath it, respecting the historical elements of the original spa both in the decoration as well as with the Antique marble pools and the famous poster designed by Renal for the grand opening.

Amongst the columnarios and the pool a four story building was constructed, which was to become the hotel. The building and decoration is classical in style, using only top quality materials imported from different countries. A clear example of this can be seen in the floors in the public areas of the building which are made entirely out of Italian Marble, or the marble in the Suites which was imported directly from China.

Another element that has been carefully restored is that of the indigenous flora which existed originally at the SPA. Prior to commencing the building work the plants had been painstakingly removed and transferred to a nursery and then replanted after the work had finished in order to regain the beautiful scenic landscapes. Amongst the species that have been saved are two very large Ficus, various Tamarinds or Tall palms. Antique marble baths from the SPA were also used during the landscaping as decorative features. This has meant that the Resort enjoys over 8000m2 of elegant gardens with spectacular views of Playa Las Arenas.

Source: Las Arenas Spa Hotel Website

Link: Book Las Arenas Spa Hotel

Location on our Valencia Map

On a budget? Check out these places in Valencia: Hotels, B&Bs and Hostels

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September 23, 2009 at 4:00 pm Comments (7)

Valencia.Art – Festival of Contemporary Art

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The 5th edition of Valencia.Art, a festival celebrating Contemporary Valencian art, is set to take place in the Centro del Carmen (location) on the first four days of October.

This is the first time that the festival isn’t being held in a hotel, and the stunning grounds of the Carmen Center definitely represent a step up.

29 galleries from around Spain and Portugal will have stands set up around the center. Entrance is free.

Official Website (Spanish)
Location of el Centro del Carmen

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September 22, 2009 at 3:25 pm Comments (0)

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