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The Valencian Community Gets Yet Hotter

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Hot Valencia

Levante ran an article showing that the temperature in the Valencian Community has risen for the third decade in a row.

Average Temperature in the CV, by Decade
1970s – 14.40° C (57.92° F)
1980s – 15.16° C (59.28° F)
1990s – 15.23° C (59.41° F)
2000s – 15.52° C (59.93° F … almost to 60°. Woo!)

The current weather is unseasonably warm for Christmas (apart, of course from the polar wind that blew through this week) and November was ridiculous. T-shirts and jeans on Thanksgiving Day? No problem!

Although I’m enjoying the warmth, it’s difficult to get into a festive spirit. It doesn’t help that everyone in the world is flat broke, laid off or without clients. The city has scaled back the lights this year… even the tree in the Ayuntamiento looks like it’s crying. And does anyone else detect a strong whiff of desperation in stores’ promotional displays? Please, please shop here!! We have to feed our children.

Yeah, it’s going to be the worst Christmas ever. At least we’ll be tan.

December 19, 2009 at 3:43 pm Comments (0)

Thoughts from the American Midwest…

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I’ve been visiting family in Ohio for about 2 weeks now, which is time enough to reflect on some of the differences & similarities between my adopted and birth homes… here are 8 things which have been on my mind.

1) Nobody in Ohio walks! I was on Main Street of Springfield, Ohio. Granted, not the most cosmopolitan of America’s cities, but still: Main Street. I walked two blocks, and passed a grand total of two other pedestrians: (a) a scraggly old homeless woman and (b) a “sport walking”-walker. Apparently walking is only done for fitness anymore.

2) I would rather shop at a Spanish supermarket than an American one. No one needs a 100-meter aisle of cereal choices.

3) If Americans have heard of Valencia, it tends to be because of the City of Arts & Sciences. But not many have heard of Valencia. Everyone asks me where it is in relation to Barcelona.

4) Autumn usually brings out the rainy worst in Valencia, but Ohio is never more beautiful. (Though, Juergen reports nothing but sunny skies in VLC this October!)

5) Americans are much more courteous, patient drivers than Spaniards. The wave-to-honk ratio is drastically better.

6) They’ve actually begun showing Champions League highlights on Sportscenter. This might sound trivial, but is truly a huge step forward. Soccer exists in the average American consciousness in a way that would have been unthinkable 10 years ago. When a friend from high school recently asked me how Chelsea was doing, I almost spit out my beer.

7) Why, exactly, do toilets in the USA hold so much water? I had never thought about it before, but now it’s freaking me out. My poop does not need a huge pool to swim around in.

8) Fast food is a way of life here. I miss menú del días, but I can’t deny the giddy, shameful pleasure of ordering a menu at Taco Bell.

… any other expats out there have similar observations to share? Spaniards and Ohioans have a lot more in common than most would probably assume, but the differences are more fun!

Valencia Hotel: Vincci Palace

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November 6, 2009 at 1:45 pm Comments (3)

Today: The Tomatina

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If you’re just hearing about it now, it’s already too late. The Tomatina is just one part of the yearly summer festival in Buñol, but it’s become one of the most famous party traditions in Spain. Tens of thousands of people convene to throw tomatoes. It’s become a must among the “Experience Life in the Most Ridiculous Ways” crowd, and the images it produces are always stunning.

Not really our sort of thing, but there’s no denying that a good time is had by the revelers. Do a Google Image search on Tomatina to see what we mean. Absolute insanity!

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Me, I’ll take my tomatoes chopped up in a salad or pureed into ketchup, instead of thrown at my face by an outrageously drunk Spaniard.

Tomatina Videos

Tomatina 2010 Hostels

Tomatina T Shirts
August 26, 2009 at 1:19 pm Comment (1)

August Blues

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If you live in Valencia, August is the longest month of the year. All your favorite shops and restaurants are closed. Your neighbors and friends are gone, enjoying extended stays in their home villages. The oppressive heat is devouring your soul. And just when you’re ready to give up and spend the rest of the day on the balcony with a pack of cigarettes, a book and a cold bottle of white wine, you notice your dog ferociously scratching at her eye.

“Fine”, you sigh, “let’s go to the goddamn vet”.

You get back home hours later, and €50 poorer. But despite the hassle, you’re content, because now your dog looks like this:

And if August is miserable for you, it’s going to be terrible for her.

Guapa Fallera Mayor
August 14, 2009 at 6:31 pm Comments (0)

The Ateneo Mercantil

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We recently visited an exhibition dedicated to the 1909 Regional Expo’s centenary at the Ateneo Mercantil in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento (location) and found ourselves more fascinated by the building than the exhibition itself.


The Ateneo Mercantil was founded in 1879, to “attend to the cultural and educational needs of the employees of the commerce sector”, and it’s been a stable presence in Valencia for over 125 years. It helped to organize the Regional Expo in 1909 and was awarded a golden medal by the city in 1960. Today, the Ateneo Mercantil boasts over 3000 members.

Though such boldness might be frowned upon in its somber halls, Juergen and I left the public exhibition and thoroughly explored each of the Ateneo’s seven floors. Members have a lot with which to entertain themselves — a library, TV room, theater, billiard hall, restaurant, an internet station, newspaper library and more. And of course, the building sits atop one of the prime locations in Valencia, on the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. It’d be tough to beat the view from the Ateneo’s balconies for the mascletàs of Fallas.


Walking around, one is given the impression of an old boy’s club — the members are probably loaded with both money and connections. Though joining isn’t all that expensive (inscription fee of €500 and monthly dues of €16), you do have to be recommended by two current members, which probably precludes poorly dressed foreigners like us.

More information on their website (Spanish)
Location on our Valencia Map

Hostel / Hostal El Cid Valencia

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July 7, 2009 at 10:34 am Comments (0)

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