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.
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.
In 2010, we’re making good on our promise to see more of Spain! We recently spent a weekend in the gorgeous medieval city of Segovia, an hour north of Madrid. The entire casco antiguo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and for good reason. Within the old walls of Segovia are any number of treasures, including a bustling Plaza Mayor, an imposing cathedral, twisting alleys, and an abundance of restaurants serving the famous Segovian cochinillo (roast suckling pig). But the highlights are the Alcázar and the mind-blowing Roman Aqueduct, found at opposite ends of the city.
Segovia is about 4 hours from Valencia by car, so doesn’t really qualify as a “day trip”. But if you’re in Madrid and have some extra time, you should definitely make the effort. Enjoy our pictures of this beautiful ancient city.
Juan Bravo – Segovia’s 15th Century War Hero
The inspiration for Never Ending Story?
The Roman Aqueduct is over 2000 years old
Goodnight, little piglet, try not to think about the next picture
Built in the 16th Century, the Gothic Cathedral is mightily impressive
The Parany trapping technique involves the planting and cultivation of high stands of trees (mostly enclosed on private property), interlaced with poles to which sticks impregnated with glue or lime are attached. The migrant song birds are attracted to the tree groups as ideal night roosts. To ensure a high catch illegal electronic lures are also employed. The plumage of the birds settling on the sticks becomes glued together and the birds fall helpless to the ground. There they are collected by the trapper who kills them – often by crushing the bird’s skull between thumb and fingers.
Keep in mind, this information comes from a site dedicated to banning the practice, and might not be the most objective summary. The last sentence is particularly manipulative. Who wouldn’t be against crushing birdy skulls by hand?!
The Valencian government recently legalized parany, to the elation of “hunters” throughout the Comunidad. But their joy was short-lived, as the national government stepped in and banned it again, three months later.
We don’t know enough about parany to weigh in either way. Honestly, skull-crushing seems like a painless way to die, but if it’s endangering entire species, it should probably be stopped. Leave a comment and let us know your opinions on this controversial topic!
One of Valencia’s unique architectural highlights is the miramar — translating literally into “look at the sea”.
The miramar is immediately recognizable; a small square-shaped tower plopped on top of a building’s roof. Miramars were intended to give homeowners a better view of the city and the sea. Normally, the tower is accessed from the building terrace. The main, square room has glass windows on all four sides, in order to provide the best view possible.
It’s a Valencian oddity which gained wide-spread popularity among the upper-crust starting in the 17th century. You can still find them in the city center and especially in the maritime district. Of course, as buildings got taller and taller, people kept building miramars at greater heights, until eventually giving up.
Nowadays, very few in Valencia probably boast a view of the sea. Still, they’re an interesting and unique piece of the city landscape.
When we went to Alcoy for the Christians & Moors festival, we were delighted to be introduced to la Mentira, the city’s official party drink.
Mentira is a delicious and highly intoxicating blend of coffee liquor and lemon slushie. Served in a bucket. And no: I’m not lying! “Mentira” is Spanish for “lie”, so when the wasted Russian guy dressed as one of King Arthur’s knights told me the drink’s name, I didn’t believe him for a second. But, really — that’s what it’s called. Anyone know why?
We're Jürgen and Mike, from Germany and the USA. We've been living in Valencia on-and-off since 2008. Much of our time is spent traveling the world with For 91 Days... but Valencia is the city we call home, and to which we'll always return.