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Los Baños del Almirante

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Right off Calle Palau, within 2 minutes of the Cathedral, lay the Baths of the Admiral — a bathhouse originally constructed in 1313.

Unlike the baths we visited while in Granada, these are of Christian origin, though with their arched doorways and star-shaped skylights, clearly owe a lot to Moorish aesthetic.

We’d been meaning to visit for more than a year, and finally did a couple weeks ago. Our visit began with a short video demonstrating how a 14th century lady might have bathed herself. Afterwards, we took a short guided tour of the building. The baños consist of three rooms — cold, warm and hot. Unlike the Arab baths, guests would only sponge themselves and sit in steam, and not fully emerge in water.

The architecture and history are neat, but this isn’t exactly Valencia’s most interesting cultural offering. The Baños have been fully restored, but have lost any sense of their antiquity. The introductory video was a little cheesy, bordering on distasteful, and our guide was unenthusiastic, bordering on comatose. But again it was all for free, so it’s difficult not to recommend a visit.

The doors open every half hour for the visit. Just wait outside until invited in.
Tue-Sat: 9:30 – 14:00 and 17:30 – 20:00
Sun & Holidays: 9:30 – 14:00
605.275.784
Location on our Valencia Map

Bragains from Spain

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June 29, 2010 at 9:38 am Comments (2)

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.

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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.

Location on our Valencia Map

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Review Decode Car Hire


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

Global Champions Tour – Horses Gone Wild

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The Global Champions Tour is currently occupying the Ciudad de Artes y Ciencias. It’s a bizarre and compelling venue for an equestrian competition.

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They’ve laid down half a foot of sand in the pool near the Science Museum (specially imported from Lyon, because… you know, that Lyonnaise sand!) and set up courses, stables and a multitude of ritzy shops. Our favorite store? Horse Gym 2000, of course! With a horse treadmill. I will never, ever get tired of the ridiculousness of humanity.

We spent some time walking around yesterday, and had a lot of fun. Tickets start at just €5, which really seems like a bargain. The competition is exciting… we saw a few hurdle springing events, where the riders are judged on both form and speed. If you’re into horses, you really should get down there. And if you’re not? Hell, it’s still a interesting way to spend an afternoon. Today’s the last day, so get going!

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Unlocking your Movistar iPhone (Good Luck)

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May 9, 2010 at 9:51 am Comments (0)

Granada – Hammam, Arabic Baths

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By the end of our trip to Granada, we were physically and mentally exhausted. In just a few days, we had seen so much, and had been running around the city like maniacs, indulging only in short pauses for tapas and beer. La Alhambra, Cartucha, the Alpujarras, Lorca’s House, etc, etc. So we decided a fitting final undertaking would be a dip & massage at an Arabic bathhouse.

Arabic Bath Granada

Having been the capital of Al-Andalus for centuries, Granada’s Arabic influence is still very strong. You see it in the architecture, restaurants and street markets. And our last day in the city was a very oriental one — a great meal in an Arabian restaurant, then tea, baklava and cherry-flavored shisha at a cafe. Relaxing, and put us in the perfect mood for a bath.

Hammam, the Arabian bathhouse we chose, is very centrally located, along the river Duerro. Unfortunately, the night we showed up also happened to be couples night. Advice: unless you want to share the pools with horny teenagers practically f*#@ing each other, avoid couples night.

Tongue-swallowing horndogs aside, we had a great time at Hammam. It started with a back massage, and then we were released into the baths. There were 3 different pools, filled with warm, hot and cold water, that you’re meant to alternate between. We took advantage of a resting area with tea, a sauna and a large, hot stone slab to lie upon.

In all, we probably spent an hour in the various rooms. The interior of the bathhouse was awesome — it was clean and tastefully done in Arabic style, and I would’ve believed that we were in Turkey. A great end to our stay in Granada.

Link: Arabic Bath in Granada

We didn’t get a lot of pictures of Hammam’s interior (for obvious reasons) but enjoy the images of Granada’s Arabian influence….

Buy your Granada guides here. Click for: USA, UK, Germany, Spain

More from Our Granada Trip

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March 5, 2010 at 5:10 pm Comment (1)

The Glory of the Baroque: The Church of Saint Martin

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A Valencian foundation called The Light of the Images was created in 1999 with the mission of restoring and exhibiting aspects of Valencia’s rich cultural heritage. Their latest project is called The Glory of the Baroque — an exhibition which runs through three of the city’s oldest churches.

Baroque-tour-valencia

On Sunday, we went to the Church of Saint Martin, which had been under renovation for a very long time. The church dates from the 14th Century and its restoration is, indeed, glorious. White and gold dominate the interior; marvelous, bright golden designs cover the ceilings. The paintings, sculptures and walls have all been renovated or restored and the church almost feels as though it had just been built. Literally breathtaking: both Juergen and I gasped upon entering.

The church has been converted temporarily into a gallery, with centuries-old religious ornaments and curios on display alongside intricate garments. You can even ascend a terrace in the main chapel and look down on the church from above.

The Light of the Images is doing fantastic work, and you have plenty of time to enjoy it; the Glory of the Baroque runs through September, 2010. If you’ve walked around the city center recently, you’ll have noticed a baroque white path on the sidewalks. It leads to the different churches in the exhibition.

Yet another must-see in Valencia!

The Glory of the Baroque, Website
Location of the Church of San Martin

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Neat place to stay in Valencia

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January 12, 2010 at 11:07 am Comment (1)

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