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Jorge Alarte in Dénia

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While we were in Dénia’s historic center, before setting off on the bike tour around Montgó, look who we passed on the street!

Jorge Alarte in Denia

Jorge Alarte, the Secretary General of Valencia’s socialist party! He and his entourage were making some sort of tour of the town. “Hola!” I called out. He turned, with his sleepy hangdog expression and returned my greeting.

Alarte has been the leader of the Valencian PSOE since 2008. Despite the corruption troubles of the opposition party, though, the Socialists haven’t been able to make up ground in the polls under his leadership. He’s from Alaquás and recently has had to battle back against outrage over his salary.

Alright, it wasn’t like bumping into David Villa, but it was still unexpected and a little exciting!

Short Term Rental Valencia

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July 7, 2010 at 2:17 pm Comments (5)

Murder in the Cine Oriente

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Back in 1950’s Ruzafa, a gruesome crime took place which has become known as the Murder of the Cine Oriente. The cinema on Calle Sueca no longer exists, but it captured the headlines of Valencia for an entire summer.

Photo credit: missmass

For days, the patrons of the cinema had been complaining about a terrible odor. The owner explained it as dead rats, owing to the poison he’d recently spread around. But the stench was truly atrocious and didn’t go away, even after the rat cadavers where cleaned up.

Meanwhile, a bag had been found at the nearby train tracks, holding the extremities of an adult human. The legs and arms were cleanly shaven, with freshly painted nails. Shocking, but not nearly as horrific as the decapitated, armless and legless body that soon appeared locked in trunk, in an empty lot on Calle Sueca.

With these discoveries, the rancid odor at the Cine Oriente took on a more ominous tinge. Despite thorough searches of the premises, the police could find nothing. They began interrogating the cinema’s employees… but the janitor was strangely nowhere to be found. He lived with his mistress, María López, who explained that urgent business had called him away to Barcelona. Her story, though, seemed a little suspect. The janitor may have been a useless drunk, but at least would have informed his boss about a sudden departure.

A more thorough search of the cinema was immediately undertaken and finally, battling through the overwhelming stink, behind the cinema screen inside a box of cookies filled with dirt and manure, they found the partly decomposed head of the janitor.

María López confessed immediately. The janitor had been drunk, and they had been fighting when he fell backwards down the stairs and smacked his head on the ground, dying immediately. Panicked, she decided to chop up his body and hide the pieces, using a handsaw and knives. She painted the nails and shaved the limbs to confuse police. After her original hiding place inside the cinema began to stink and draw suspicion, she started removing the pieces one by one to various locations, but ran out of time before she got to the head.

A good story, but a little difficult to believe in its entirety… there was no contusion in the back of the janitor’s skull, nor did this version explain the crowbar stained with blood and hair, which was found in her apartment.

María López would serve 6 years for homicide, and another 5 months for the mutilation of the corpse.

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July 6, 2010 at 11:41 am Comments (0)

Paseo de las Rocas 2010

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Crazy weather tried, but wasn’t able to totally dampen the Corpus Christi festivities this year, and we made sure to show up for at the Palacio Arzobispal for the Paseo de las Rocas.

Close your eyes, and imagine a magical land called Pony Paradise, where diminutive horses are fed sugared hay on cotton candy sticks, and get deep horse-muscle massages from enslaved jockey midgets.

Corpus Christi 2010

Now open your eyes again, because the Paseo de las Rocas is the exact opposite of Pony Paradise. It is HORSEY HELL. At the Palacio Arzobispal, the smallest horses are selected to drag the mammoth Rocas up the hill. Fat, sadistic Valencians “encourage” them with vicious stick beatings, laughing as the ponies bray and buckle under the weight, sometimes collapsing onto their knees.

Naturally, it’s one of my favorite events! I always make sure to show up early, to jeer at the stupid ponies and take pictures of their hilarious suffering. Hey now don’t look at me that way, my family was slaughtered by a wild band of crazy horses. They are my enemies.

Valencia Guards
Corpus 2010
Rocas Valencia
Paseo Rocas
Giant Corpus Christi
Corpus Giants
Waiting for NIE
Apple Dance
Moma 2010

Hotels for Corpus Christi

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June 7, 2010 at 3:26 pm Comments (4)

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)

San Antonio – Pics & Video

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Dieser Artikel auf Deutsch: Der Große Antonio in Valencia

January 17th is the day of San Antonio, patron saint of animals. In Valencia, celebrations center on the neighborhood and church which bear his name, where people bring their pets to march in a crazy parade and get blessed. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many 4-legged creatures in one place — dogs were the most numerous, but they were joined by cats, hamsters, rabbits, goats, pigs, fish, lizards, birds… and just about everything else you could possibly consider a "pet".

As you might expect, we got a lot of fun pictures. Enjoy!


















bride-bitch cat-on-a-leash












Fallas 2010  T-Shirt

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January 18, 2010 at 2:44 pm Comments (5)

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