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Traditional Dancing in Plaza de la Virgen

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Incredible but true – you might not run into free lions wandering the streets, but encountering some kind of random traditional musical event in Valencia is certainly a possibility!

Video of the Alhambra

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July 4, 2010 at 4:28 pm Comment (1)

Fallas 2010: Mascletà March 11th

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loud-mascleta

Filmed with the Sanyo VPC – CS 1 (super tiny) available here: USA, UK, Deutschland and Spain

For the 2nd day in a row, no Rita? We’re not huge fans of all her politics, but during Fallas, you have to love Valencia’s mayor. She missed a great mascletà today.  Tons of falleras were in the crowd, to see a display that was classic in every sense, with fireworks that never let up and built steadily to a great finale. ¡Qué bote HolaValencia!

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La Planta Almirante:

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Bed and Breakfast for Fallas

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March 11, 2010 at 8:55 pm Comment (1)

Our Lady of the Forsaken Part 1: History & The Dance

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This weekend it was all about the Virgin. Thousands upon thousands of people took part in the various events which we previewed last Friday. Here’s the first of two parts from our report for 2009. The second can be found here.

Our Lady of the What? Why?!

In 1409, a Valencian priest confronted a mob who were preparing to lynch a mentally-ill homeless man near Santa Catalina. Father Jofre exhorted the mob to take pity on the poor soul, instead of stoning him to death. He would later base an important sermon on this and, as a result, Valencia would become the first city in the world to open an asylum for the mentally ill.

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The asylum was run by a group of nuns, whose symbol was Our Lady of the Forsaken (Mare de Déu dels Desamparats). Over time, this symbol grew in importance and today Our Lady Valencia’s most well-loved and famous icon. It’s important to remember that she embodies Valencia’s historically unique role in caring for society’s most down-trodden members.

Fireworks & Folk Dance

On Saturday night, starting at 11:30pm in the Plaza de la Virgen, the municipal band of Valencia performed a short concert which concluded with fireworks over the Towers of Serrano and a huge folk dance which occupied the plaza’s entirety.

The fireworks were alright, but the dance was the main event. If you could stand the unceasing, maddeningly tuneless flute music, and manage to get a spot from which you can watch the dance unfold, it’s really something.

Photos of the event:

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Many more photos here:

(more…)

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May 12, 2009 at 9:37 am Comments (2)

Our Lady of the Forsaken 2009 – Events

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This weekend, Valencia celebrates a festival in honor of its official patron saint, Our Lady of the Forsaken (Mare de Deu dels Desamparats, in Valencian). Here’s a preview of some of the highlights:

Saturday, May 9th

23:00 – Concert by the Municipal Band of Valencia in the Plaza de la Virgen (location)
24:00 – Fireworks in the Turia riverbed, near the Serrano Towers (location)
Following the Fireworks – A grand folk dance in honor of Our Lady in the Plaza de la Virgen

Sunday, May 10th

10:30 – Transfer of the Virgen from her chapel to the city cathedral. This is an ABSOLUTE must-see event. Check out our 2008 experience.
14:00 – Mascletà in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento (location)
18:30 – Solemn procession in the city center (starting at Pl. Virgen, then along Caballeros, Bolsería, Mercado Central, Pl. Reina, ending at Almoina)

Monday, May 11th

20:30Ronda a la Verge, which is I think a concert at the Plaza de la Virgen.

All Weekend

Bells: The bells of the Micalet tower will be rung by hand at various hours during the weekend, signifying different things. It starts today from 16:30 to 17:00 to announce the beginning of the festivities.
Bulls: Bullfights on both Saturday and Sunday… because there’s no better way to say “I love you, Holy Virgin” than blood sacrifice!

… and here I was kind of hoping for a quiet weekend.

Got questions about Valencia? Post them in our Valencia Forum.


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May 8, 2009 at 10:57 am Comments (0)

Flamenco en Café del Duende

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Flamenco en Valencia – Café Del Duende from Valencia Blog on Vimeo.

On Friday night, we checked out Café del Duende, which is a small flamenco bar on the western outskirts of the city center (location).

The bar is so small that you might have trouble believing that any sort of show could possibly take place — let alone a full performance with dancing. But the small stage, closely packed tables and the smoky, crowded atmosphere lend the performance a wonderful intimacy.

Friday night’s performance started at 11:30. By showing up nearly an hour early, we were able to claim the last open spots at a table, which we shared with a friendly Spanish couple. They weren’t the only locals in the place — only a small number of tourists seemed to be present.

The show was great; extremely lively, and the crowd was encouraged to participate during some of the more uptempo songs. The raven-haired woman sitting directly in front of the stage clapped along to the music the most insistently, pausing only to take another drag off her cigarette. But if a tourist were to clap, let alone shout out “¡Vale!”, she would spin around in her seat and punish him with a devastatingly haughty glare. Clapping and yelling was her domain! The Flamenco Queen!

We loved her.

Café del Duende offers a couple performances every week, so make sure to check their website if you’re interested. Entrance was €7, and drinks are modestly priced.

Café del Duende’s Website
Calle Turia 62
630 455 289
Location on our Valencia Map

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February 10, 2009 at 6:53 pm Comments (6)