Sunday, 21 October 2012

Church of San Martin

This beautiful church is just off Plaza de la Reina and was well worth the €1 charity donation to have a look around.  Building on the church started in 1372 and it has been added to and amended many times since.  The church is very plain and unassuming from outside but inside it is pretty spectacular.

It was very tricky to get a decent picture but I think you can see how plain a building it is.

This could well be the most bling tastic church I've ever seen!

Fallas Museum

Fallas is a big fiery deal in Valencia.  It's the festival held in Valencia each March, commemorating Saint Joseph and it involves a lot of partying and fire.  Yes, fire.  Because each area of Valencia, creates a huge statue, which are known as a falla, and on the final night of Fallas, all but 1 are burnt to the ground.

We happen to live around the corner from the Fallas Museum where the winning fallas go after they win.  As these date back to 1936 they represent a lot of Valencian history.  Each statue is a sight to behold; a lot are funny and many are quite grotesque and almost creepy and it's a great place to go to get an idea of what the festival involves especially if you can't be in town for the festival.  For this reason it's likely that I'll take my family this week, especially as it's free at the weekends.  That and it's super close to our flat, look-

(Remember the Palau de Artes is just at the end of our road.)

Now, this blog post is a bit of a fail because you aren't allowed to take photos in the museum, but I have scouted some photos to give you an idea of Fallas and the fabulous fallas which can be found within.

So if any friends are reading this, feel free to visit between 14th and 19th March so that we can all drink, throw firecrackers around and watch the fallas burn!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Mercado Colon

We discovered this little oasis on Friday (day off, another holiday), having varied our route to wander into town.  It now occurs to me that I must ensure I do this more often because otherwise I will not discover such gems and will simply see the same places every time.  Anyway, back to the mercado (market.)

On Friday we ducked inside to get out of the rain, but went back on Saturday to have a coffee on our way into the city to do some shopping.  It is stunning.  A covered space with bars, restaurants and stalls selling beautiful jewellery and crafts, it feels calm and quiet, unlike a lot of this city.  I was surprised that the drinks were so reasonable (€1.80 for a coffee con leche and also €1.80 for a small beer) given the rather smart surroundings.  We were there at around 1pm ad it was full of smartly dressed over Valencians; it seemed like the place to be.

This is definitely somewhere to call into for a drink on the way into the city when my parents visit.

Friday, 12 October 2012

9 October Celebrations

On the 9th of October each year Valencia celebrates the Dia de la Communidad Valenciana.  Now I don't know much (OK, anything) about Valencian politics but it was a spectacle to behold with clashes between the nationalists and separatists present.

Tuesday was a local holiday so we were able to attend this (and then head off to the beach as it was a scorching 32c and I thought I'd melt right there on the pavement.)  Despite my lack of understanding about the background to this I really enjoyed the noise, the crush of people, the traditional outfits and the fights that broke out.  Now I'm off to read that Wiki article and find out more about it all.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Exploring Xátvia

I was off work yesterday as we have a 4 day weekend so Rich and I decided to jump on the train and explore somewhere new.  Valencia is a beautiful city but sometimes it just does you good to get out of the city.  I'd heard good things about Xátvia which is only 30 minutes or so away by train so off we went.  The train only set us back €6.40 each as well so it was a cheap day trip.

When we arrived in Xátvia, it became apparent that many of the attractions such as the churches and gardens were closed because it was Monday and the tourist train we had counted on to take us up the very steep hill to the castle wasn't running due to lack of people.  Well that didn't stop us and full of our bocadillos (sandwiches) we took to the streets (and later, uneven pathways.)  You can see I wasn't dressed for it but I didn't care, this is one seriously beautiful town.

It really was magical, especially as we didn't see another soul on the ascent and there were only a couple of other people in the castle, we practically had the place to ourselves.  The walk down was helped by stunning music being played over loud speakers, which was just lovely and even more romantic.  The only thing I regret is setting off with water.  It was 32c yesterday and you can see from the pictures that the castle is pretty high up!

We will definitely need to go back to Xátvia when everything is open, possibly with parents.  It really is stunning.