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III Festival de Mediterrani

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It’s all about the ladies at the third annual Festival de Mediterrani, at the Palau de las Arts Reina Sofia. With the slogan “ELLA”, the operas featured during the month-long event were chosen for their focus on strong female characters. Richard Strauss’s Salome, based on the play by Oscar Wilde features the infamous Dance of Seven Veils and its shocking finale. And Georges Bizet’s capricious Sevillian gypsy Carmen takes the stage, as well.

We’re not really into opera much ourselves, but the festival, which runs from May 30th – June 30th, incorporates much more. Concerts, chamber music, recitals, conferences, and a number of films screened free for the public, including Gilda and The Barefoot Contessa — all in keeping with the theme of ELLA, of course.

And here’s a tip you won’t see publicized very often: at least for the festival, the Palau offers a 50% Last Minute Discount on tickets purchased 2 hours before each performance. This obviously won’t work for any sold-out performance, but could provide a great way to see an opera you don’t necessarily want to shell out the big bucks for.

More information can be found at the Palau’s official website.

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May 28, 2010 at 8:54 am Comments (0)

The Glory of the Baroque: San Juan de la Cruz

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A couple weeks ago, we visited the Iglesia de San Martín and were introduced the Glory of the Baroque — Valencia’s incredible effort to restore a number of central churches to their former glory. This past weekend, we had a chance to see a 2nd church given the treatment: San Juan de la Cruz, on C/ Poeta Querol 6.


It’s hard to imagine, but the newly restored interior of this church — closed for renovation for the last 50 years — is even more remarkable than San Martín. Again, gold and white are the dominant colors. The church’s interior is absolutely resplendent and truly captures the glory of the days of the kingdom.

La Iglesia de San Juan de la Cruz was one of the first Christian churches constructed after James I’s conquest of Valencia. As was often the case, it was built on top of a former mosque. The current form of the church dates from the early 17th century.

The Glory of the Baroque runs until September of this year, and if you’re in Valencia, it’s an absolute must-see.

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May 27, 2010 at 6:30 pm Comment (1)

Festival de las Naciones

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Nation fest

It’s been going on for a couple weeks now, but we finally made it down to the Festival of Nations in the Turia riverbed, near the Alameda metro station.

The festival, which features stands from over 50 countries on 5 continents, seems to have grown in size and professionalism. They’ve laid down a wooden floor for dancing, and the stage is much larger than in previous years.

Last night, we enjoyed a hefeweizen (Germany) and a caipirinha (Brazil). Besides food and drink, you can find handmade goods from all over the world, and enjoy live performances almost every hour. It’s finally starting to feel like summertime in Valencia, and this is a great place to spend a couple hours with friends.

The festival runs through June 13th.
Official Website

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May 27, 2010 at 1:56 pm Comment (1)

Valencia Photography: Odd and fun

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It’s been awhile since we posted a pure Valencia picture post – I’ve got a ton stacked up, but for now enjoy these. Click on the thumbnail to view the whole image.

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May 25, 2010 at 2:19 pm Comments (0)

Card Trading on San Vicente Mártir

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The World Cup is coming up fast, which means approximately 89% of Europe’s children (and 78% of adults) are busy collecting and trading Panini stickers to complete their Official Panini World Cup albums.

Panini Stickers

I got hooked during the 2006 World Cup, when I lived in Berlin. With a mix of dogged determination, slight insanity and keen bartering sensibility, I managed to complete my album a couple days before the final between France & Italy. The sense of satisfaction and glee one feels while placing the last sticker is indescribable.

Chromos copa el mundo

On Sunday mornings, in an alley off San Vicente Mártir near the Iglesia de San Martín, there is a mini-market for trading card fans. I found that the hectic, disorganized and generous way the Spanish trade is quite unlike the coldly equitable method employed in Germany. After 20 minutes, I left with a huge stack of new cards, having gotten rid of nearly all my doubles. Jürgen was waiting for me at a nearby café, and I ran over ecstatically to show him my new acquisitions. My wild-eyed enthusiasm was answered with a bewildered look, bordering on disgust. But I did not care.

Even if you’re not into trading stickers, the bustle and excitement of the impromptu Sunday morning markets is an interesting slice of Valencian life. And if you are… send me a note! Maybe we can make a deal.

Panini World Cup Stickers

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May 24, 2010 at 8:44 am Comment (1)

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