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Photos from the Oktoberfest in Valencia

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On Saturday we managed to go to the Oktoberfest. We had originally planned on going for the inaugural day, but the weather wasn’t playing along.


It was a blast, but only after about 90 minutes of (1) standing in the entrance line, (2) standing in line to buy tickets for food and drink, and then (3) waiting even longer for our beer to arrive. (If you’re going, here’s a tip: make sure you order the beer on a separate ticket, so you can pick it up yourself; if it’s on the same ticket as food, you have to wait at a table for service)

Valencia’s very first Oktoberfest was well received and even got extended until Wednesday. So slip into your Lederhosen and Dirndl and off you go.




Official Website: Valencia Beerfest Beer Link: PaulanerGreat Hostels in Valencia

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September 21, 2009 at 1:03 pm Comments (7)

Festival of Nations 2009

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Lacking a little culture in your day-to-day life? Feel like jamming out to some bongo drumming? Getting sick of Spanish paella and arroz del horno?

All valid reasons to head down to the Festival of Nations (Feria de las Naciones) starting today and running through June 7th. During the next two and a half weeks, stands from countries all over the world will be selling food, drink, art, clothing and more.

Multi-culti overdose! If I remember correctly from last year, most of the stands are from Latin America. Yup, Latin Americans and a lot of Europeans with ratty dreadlocks into capoeira.

Entrance is free, and the festival runs for so long that there’s not much excuse to skip it. There are a number of special events so, if you want to participate, make sure to check the program which can be found here.

Festival Location on our Valencia Map

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May 20, 2009 at 1:08 pm Comments (0)

Opening Today: Wine Festival in the Turia

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If you’re looking for me between the hours of 7 to 10pm tonight (April 1st), or from 11am to 10pm on the 2nd through 5th, head down to the Turia riverbed. I’ll likely be standing on a bench in the middle of the wine festival, favorite bottle in hand, slurring a rambling speech on Death & the Cosmos in my awful, broken Spanish.

That’s right — it’s time for Proava’s annual Traditional Valencian Wine & Ailments Festival, which was one of our favorite events of 2008.

This is the 21st edition of the festival, and will unite 113 companies offering wine, sausages, cheeses, liquors, and more. More than 200,000 visitors are expected to show up during the festival’s run. If it’s the same as last year, a €10 entrance will allow you to sample 5 glasses of wine and 5 tapas. It’s as much fun to wander around, deciding on whom to bestow one of your precious tickets, as it is to actually consume the goods.

If you’re lucky enough to be in Valencia between the 1st and 5th of April, this is an absolutely must-go event. And if, towards the end of the night, you spot me lying beneath a bench, give me a little kiss on the forehead and cover me with a newspaper.

Location on our Valencia Map

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April 1, 2009 at 10:35 am Comments (0)

La Cridà 2009 – Opening Ceremony of Las Fallas

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Here a video of La Cridà 2009!

On February 22nd, Las Fallas was officially opened at La Cridà — a huge annual spectacle which takes place on the last Sunday of the month.


This year, tens of thousands of onlookers crowded into the spaces in front of the Torres de Serrano (location) to watch an acrobatic show, followed by the official opening speeches by the city’s mayor, Rita Bárbarez, and this year’s lovely Fallera Mayor, Marta Agustín Ferrando. And, this being Valencia, the festivities were concluded by a huge display of fireworks over the riverbed.


From our point of view, the acrobatics were alright but upstaged by the insane musical accompaniment. The band played intense orchestral heavy metal — the vengeful howling and aggression didn’t seem to fit the “happy” tone of La Cridà, but was undeniably entertaining.


The Fallera Mayor’s speech, clear and uplifting, joyfully called on Valencians to participate in their most important festival. After she finished, the crowd sang along to a Valencian anthem, and the resulting atmosphere on this beautiful, warm Sunday evening was invigorating.


And the fireworks — what’s there to say? Valencia regularly puts on the best fireworks displays I’ve ever seen, and the Cridà’s was no exception. So that’s it! Fallas 2009 is officially underway… I hope we all survive it.


Stay tuned for a video of La Crida.

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February 23, 2009 at 8:08 pm Comments (5)

Despertà 2009 — Welcome to Hell, Kid

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What is Fallas?

Ah, Sundays. There’s nothing better than sleeping in on a lazy Sunday morning, taking your time with breakfast, coffee, the paper. Disbelief and a gratifying sense of shame when you realize that it’s already 1:30 in the afternoon and you’re still in your pajamas. These Sunday morning hours were so peaceful, though! You can be forgiven for wasting them in a haze of comfort.


Wonderful when it happens, but not all Sundays are like this. And in Valencia, the last Sunday in February manages to achieve the polar opposite. It’s 7:30 in the morning, and you’re on the streets, in the middle of World War III.

The Despertà is Valencia’s annual wake-up call for Fallas — the region’s most important festival and one of the biggest in the world. At 7am, thousands of people belonging to organized groups (Fallas Commissions) gather at Parterre Park (location) to collect their ammunition bags for an assault on the city’s sleeping populace. And at 7:30am sharp, all hell breaks loose. These freaks just start throwing firecrackers everywhere.


And I’m not talking cute <pop!> cherry bombs. This is the real shit. 15 seconds into the “parade”, a piece of shrapnel caught me just under the eye. An ugly, fat kid laughed at me before throwing a mini-grenade under my feet. A zombie-eyed homeless guy snuck up behind me, then offered me a firecracker. I think I screamed, I’m not sure, my ears were reverberating, reality seemed skewed. I was beginning to panic, and the Despertà had just started.


But it didn’t take long to succumb to the insanity. By the parade’s end, both Juergen and I were gleefully stomping on unpopped firecrackers, and whipping them at onlookers we decided weren’t having enough “fun”.


As most Valencian parades tend to, the Despertà leads its psychotic participants to the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, where the final act is a short, intense mascletà.


Got Fallas 2009 pictures? Please add them to the Flickr Fallas Group.

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February 23, 2009 at 9:37 am Comments (17)