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Valencia Likes Fireworks. A Lot.

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October 9th, the Day of the Valencian Community, got off to a bang as soon as the clock struck midnight. On Thursday night, we grabbed a spot on Paseo Alameda for the international fireworks festival.

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I’m going to make a claim which I can neither prove nor provide statistical data for, but which I believe to be true nonetheless. Valencia is the best place in the world for fireworks. If you are a fan, Valencia is your Mecca. Once in your life, you must make a pilgrimage here.

My God. An entire hour of fireworks, with one brief 5-minute intermission. Who needs an hour of fireworks? Who even wants that?! And it wasn’t boring for even a minute. Highlight after explosive highlight left our ears bloody and bruised, yet still unprepared for the ridiculous finale. It’s hard to be surprised by fireworks or to see something truly “new”, but a spinning fireworks wheel on a gigantic crane? That was new.

You know how when you see a kid who can yo-yo really well? You kind of feel awed by him… his yo-yo’ing is sweet, it requires a lot of skill, and it’s something you don’t see every day. Still, you can’t shake the feeling that the kid is a freak. A weirdo. It’s simultaneous appreciation and alienation. That’s how I feel about Valencia and its obsession with fireworks.

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More Firework Videos: Nit de Foc 2009 / Nit de Foc 2008 / Color Mascletà

October 10, 2009 at 5:32 pm Comments (5)

Pictures from Valencia: Green Oranges

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When I was taking the picture below I didn’t even notice how weird it was. 3 or 4 attempts to build a gate into that wall? Anyone know the story about this monastery near Plaza España, and its multiple gates?

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Cheap rental cars in Valencia

 
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October 8, 2009 at 9:37 am Comment (1)

October 9th – Day of the Valencian Community

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October 9th is the Day of the Valencian Community, kind of like 4th of July in the States. Though, I suppose it’s different, because it’s a celebration for a specific Spanish state and not the country as a whole. We don’t have any equivalent holiday for just Ohio (where I’m from). But then again, Ohio doesn’t have its own language, a millennium of heritage, or really much worth celebrating at all. Besides buckeye cookies.

Valencia Holiday

King James the First of Aragon reclaimed Valencia for Christianity on October 9th, 1238, and it’s the day remembered as the birth of the Kingdom of Valencia. Here’s a rundown of the commemorative events which will be taking place on the 9th, this year.

October 8th @ Midnight – International Festival of Pyrotechnics

Preceding the official events of the 9th, the city invites pyrotechnic artists from all over the world to put on a massive fireworks display in the riverbed of the Turia on the evening of October 8th. (Alamada metro station)

Noon – Lowering of the Senyera

The Senyera is Valencia’s flag, and at noon it will be lowered down from the Ayuntamiento’s balcony. This was pretty eventful last year, with Catalan nationalists intruding on the celebration.

12:20 – Civic Procession

After the Senyera is lowered, it will be paraded around the Ciutat Vella by functionaries like the mayor and various Valencian groups. There will be a special stop for a flower offering, at the statue of King James in the Parterre park (location). This procession will end at Plaza Ayuntamiento where the Senyera will be handed over again to the city. Followed by a Mascletà.

17:00 – Public Dance

Don’t miss folk music and traditional dancing in the Plaza de la Virgen.

17:30 – Entrance of Christians & Moors

Starting at the Glorieta park (location), a procession of Christians and Moors takes the city’s streets. This should be colorful and probably more entertaining than the 12:30 civic parade. The parade’s conclusion, there will be a mascletà in the Pl. del Ayuntamiento.

It’s going to be a full day. Don’t forget that shops will be shut and restaurants more expensive. This is one of the biggest holidays on the Valencian calendar!

Firework Video / Mascletà Video


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October 6, 2009 at 12:56 pm Comments (2)

Lo Rat Penat

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October 9th, the Day of the Valencian Community, is coming up in a couple days, so it seems like a good time to introduce Lo Rat Penat — custodians of Valencian language and culture.

Founded in 1878 by Constanti Llombart, Lo Rat Penat (which means, I believe, “flying rat” and refers to the city’s symbol) has a long history of promoting “Lo Valenciano”. In the past few decades, a large portion of their mission has been aimed at distinguishing Valencian from the very similar Catalán language. They offer courses in Valencian, and have a number of Valencian-language downloads on their website. They also sponsor and take part in many of the cultural activities during the year, with a strong presence during Fallas and the Day of the Valencian Community.

Rat penat

Lo Rat Penat has its seat in the palace of Los Barones de Alacuás on C/ Trinquete de Caballeros in the historic central neighborhood of La Xerea (location). The building is unmistakable, with a huge bat on the corner. I’ve walked by a hundred times, and always assumed that it must be a museum of some sort, due to the giant murals visible from the street.

It’s not. And they don’t let you walk around the premises. In fact, the guy at the desk was kind of baffled that I wanted to come in at all. But hey, you adorn your building with a giant bat, you’re going to pique the curiosity of passers-by!

Anyway, it sounds like the society does a lot of great things for the culture, and if you want to learn more about the language, this is a good first stop.

Official Web Page
Location on our Valencia Map

Hotels in Valencia

October 5, 2009 at 10:54 am Comments (4)

Sorolla’s “Vision of Spain” Returns to Valencia

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After a massively successful stay in Madrid’s Prada museum, an exhibition with Joaquín Sorolla’s famous series of paintings, “Vision of Spain”, as its centerpiece has returned to Valencia.


El Encierro, one of Sorolla’s Visions of Spain

The exhibition broke attendance records the first time it was in Valencia’s Bancaja Cultural Center. I can attest to it — every day, and especially in the final weeks,the hours-long lines stretched around the block. For the show’s return, there will be 48 separate works, including a number of paintings which weren’t present before.

Sorolla is one of Valencia’s favored sons. He achieved a remarkable level of success while alive and has become even more popular since his death in 1923. He concentrated on both landscapes and social themes, and made incredible use of the naturally stunning Valencian sunlight in his paintings.

You can see the exhibition at the Bancaja Cultural Center every day from now until January 10th. That’s plenty of time, so there’s no excuse to miss the best work of Valencia’s most famous modern artist.

Street Photography Valencia

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October 1, 2009 at 8:50 am Comment (1)

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