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Granada – Sacromonte and Our Flamenco Disaster(s)

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One of the coolest most interesting neighborhoods in Granada is Sacromonte, famous for its inhabited caves. We found it fascinating. Sure, the caves have been decorated, painted and furnished, and facades have been attached, but there’s no getting around the fact that these people are living in large holes in the ground.


Granada is one of the most important cradles of flamenco, and Sacromonte is famous for its performances. We’d been warned, though, that watching flamenco in a Sacromonte cave is a rip-off tourist trap. And we’re not silly tourists, who give their money out for no good reason! Right, Jürgen? … Jürgen?

Wait, Jürgen, what are you doing talking to that maliciously grinning gypsy lady? No! Don’t go in her cave!! Don’t wave me over! Don’t… are you accepting a drink?! Have you lost your freaking mind?

As a photographer, the opportunity to take pictures inside a cave proved more compelling to Jürgen than the need to avoid rip-offs. We knew that our “cave tour” of 2 minutes would cost us dearly, and it did. €7 per person. But, Jürgen got his pictures, and even talked the exultant scam artist into posing for a portrait. Enjoy:


Our other encounter with flamenco came during our first night in the city. We found a blog that praised Peña Flamenca La Platería as one of the best, most authentic flamenco joints in the city. That blog will go unnamed, and we can strongly urge you to skip this place. What a joke! We were ushered into a huge room with 20 other foreigners, and given a glass of the most terrible, watered down sangria I’ve ever had. And the show was awful — they weren’t even trying. The hideous singer brayed like an ox, the guitarist was clearly drunk (he even stopped playing at one point), and the dancer was chubby, boring and unskilled. It was the worst flamenco I’ve ever seen, and we left during intermission.

The Canadian couple in front of us, though, had clearly never seen flamenco before. They clapped and hooted, and whispered excitedly to each other “Isn’t this amazing?” I wanted to clonk their heads together.

We prefer Café del Duende in Valencia for Flamenco.

More from Our Granada Trip

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February 18, 2010 at 5:58 pm Comments (3)

Arctic Monkeys Headlining MTV’s Winter Fest

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MTV’s annual Winter Fest is fast becoming one of the best events on the calendar. Great bands come all too infrequently to Valencia, but MTV not only gets them here… they give them to us for free.

Last year’s concert with Franz Ferdinand at the City of Arts & Sciences was tremendous, and 2010’s is shaping up to be even more so. The headliner for the concert on February 13th is going to be the Arctic Monkeys. YES! They’re incredible live (see video below — the song kicking in at 0:55 is one of my favorite musical moments of the past decade.

The other acts haven’t been announced yet, but we’ll let you know when they are.

Official Site

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December 23, 2009 at 10:31 am Comments (6)

Gran Nit de Juliol

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feria de juliol

Got any plans for today? You’d better not! Valencia’s Feria de Juliol is reaching it’s climax with more events than you could possibly attend to.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the more important events today:

  • Beach Rugby at Malvarrosa, next to the Las Arenas Hotel. Today from 10 am to 8 pm (we better get going) and tomorrow from 10 am to 4 pm. More info! Thank you Noakos for the times.
  • At 7pm in the Plaza de Toros, there’s a special form of bullfight: “Corrida del arte del rejoneo
  • All museums will be open and free from 10pm until 2am
  • Street performances and theater starting at 8pm throughout the city.
  • Concert at La Lonja at 11.15 pm
  • Beach Firework at midnight.
  • Concert at Torres Serranos at 0:30am

We’ll probably be hanging around Plaza de la Virgin and Reina around 8pm for Samba, African and Mexican dance and acts.

Feria de Julio continues until the 26th with many more events including our favorite La Batalla de Flores.

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July 18, 2009 at 11:03 am Comment (1)

FIB – Festival Internacional de Benicàssim

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Oasis. Franz Ferdinand. The Killers. Kings of Leon.

These are the headliners at the biggest music festival in Spain, which is taking place from the 16th to the 19th of July. This festival features an unbelievable lineup of well-known acts, including Maxïmo Park, Paul Weller, Lily Allen, Peaches, Calexico, Pete Doherty and (personal favorite) TV on the Radio.

Over 45,000 people are expected to show up every single day, which is astonishing, especially given the difficult financial times we’re living in. Approximately 44,995 of them will be British and 44,990 shirtless and drunk.

Benicàssim is a tiny coastal town in Castellón province, and this festival effectively quadruples its population. If you’re lucky enough to have gotten tickets, give us a shout to let us know how the festival is!

Official Website

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July 16, 2009 at 11:18 am Comment (1)

Feria de Julio – 2009

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During the month of July, Valencia really pulls out all the stops in an effort to help its citizens forget about the suffocating heat. The events which make up the Feria de Julio are almost numberless, and on almost any given day, you’ll be able to find something interesting to do.

There’s no way to delineate everything that’s going on, so if you’re in the city make sure and stop by a tourist office and pick up one of the festival brochures.

We can, however, make a note of some of the highlights:

Concerts in the Viveros

Migues Bosé, Amaral, Anastacia and James Taylor are just some of the big names which will be performing in the Viveros Gardens. Tickets are around €18 and can be bought in the Corte Ingles.

Batalla de Flores

This is one of the stranger Valencian traditions, in which falleras on floats, armed with tennis rackets, are assaulted with heavy little flowers hurled by the crowd. Really. – July 26th at 20:00 on the Paseo Alameda


Every Saturday night, between the Playa de las Arenas and the Veles e Vents building. These are pretty impressive fireworks, and they get underway at midnight.

Ballroom Dancing

This was one of our favorite events from the past year — ballrrom dancing at the Plaza de la Virgen. It’s a real competition, and the skill on display is incredible. – July 11th at 22:00 in the Plaza de la Virgen

Again, these events barely scratch at the surface of everything that’s on offer. What are you most excited about? Leave a comment if you know of another event which deserves to be highlighted!

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July 5, 2009 at 12:03 pm Comment (1)

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