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Valencia’s Feria de Abril

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We’re really late with this one, but here are some images we got from this year’s Feria de Abril, which was held (confusingly) at the beginning of May in the Turia riverbed.

The festival grounds were pretty small, and everything was focused on horses and flamenco. Feria de Abril is truly a Sevillan festival — one of Spain’s largest and most popular. Here in Valencia, there are a number of groups of people from Andalusia and they get together to celebrate as a consolation prize for not being able to do so in their homeland.

The party was really winding down by the time we arrived, but we did see one crazy thing. Let’s just say — driving under the influence is not a good idea, even if what you’re driving is a horse. This older gentleman was just plastered and directing his poor horse into tent after tent, knocking tables and chairs over and nearly trampling a bunch of people. It was probably more funny than scary, but still!

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May 17, 2009 at 4:53 pm Comments (0)

Valencia vs. Sevilla – A Great Night at the Mestalla

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soccer-zoom

A beautiful Sunday afternoon, bright sun and a dramatic sunset on the horizon over the city, a packed and raucous stadium, an important match and thrilling come-from-behind victory for the home team… last Sunday’s match between Valencia and Sevilla at the Mestalla offered everything a soccer fan could want.

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We had been late in deciding on going to the match. And Sevilla being such a popular team, all the tickets sold out early. On Saturday, I had been frustrated in my attempts to purchase tickets at the official outlets, and had pretty much given up on the thought of attending.

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However, about an hour before the game, we happened to be walking close to the Mestalla (location), and I figured I might try my luck at the stadium ticket windows. TIP TIP TIP! Apparently, a large number of seats are held until just before game time, because after waiting in a short line, I scored 4 excellent tickets on the stadium’s north side. Obviously, I can’t guarantee it always works this way, but for anyone who’s desperate for tickets to a sold out game, this is a last-minute opportunity definitely worth a shot. I would ignore the numerous scalpers offering tickets at a slightly inflated price… who can tell if the tickets they have are even legit?

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First goal by David Villa
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Sevilla went up early in the match, but had a player sent off just before half-time. With the extra-man advantage, the second half belonged entirely to Valencia. It took awhile for the equalizer to come (on a penalty kick), and even longer for them to go up (another penalty). Just before the game ended, Valencia sealed the win with a third goal — the packed stadium was going nuts about the hard-fought and decisive 3-1 victory over an excellent Sevillian side.

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I’m not sure how much longer the old Mestalla stadium is going to be in use — construction on the new Mestalla is constantly being delayed. But if you’re a fan of classic city soccer stadiums, don’t wait too long to visit. It’s almost always a great experience… especially if the good guys win.

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April 21, 2009 at 6:48 pm Comments (6)