Friday, August 29, 2008

Over-enthusiasm or just downright badly behaved?

There was a huge group of what appeared to be mainly antipodeans in the city for La Tomatina. All were with the same tour company. Their behaviour in the early hour of the morning shocked many locals and tourists alike -all over the historic centre, but particularly in the Plaza de la Virgen the night before the Tomato fight in Buñol. Is this really the way to behave in a foreign city?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

La Tomatina - the world's messiest food fight - Pictures

Random Pictures from La Tomatina!

La Tomatina - the world's messiest food fight - the tour

The Tour


Lunch table 1

Lunch table 2

A snooze by the pool ran a small but intimate luxury coach tour to La Tomatina again this year. An international bunch from Ireland, Finland, Belgium, USA and Australia joined us for a trip to Buñol for the hour's mayhem, followed by a shower, a swim and lunch at Cheste on the way home. A great bunch of people and it was a lot of fun!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Swiss at F1 Valencia

Can't let the Formula One weekend theme finish without a mention of Claude and his little band of Swiss Petrolheads. We had a very pleasant weekend with them - I say Swiss but actually only 4 were - the other two were Californian and Portuguese.

Tomatina Madness starts early in Valencia

As I write this the Plaza de la Virgen is swarming with people, singing, chanting, playing bongos and whistling, loudly. It is 1 am and most of them are wearing yellow tee-shirts with a logo on the front that looks a lot like a Heinz ketchup bottle with La Tomatina written where the TK should be and fanatics on the back. there are at least, if not more than a thousand of them. They all have to be up at an ungodly hour to get to La Tom in the morning. Maybe they just won't go to bed! We'll let you know how it all went tomorrow after the luxury coach tour.

Alonso and his merchandise

Is this being awfully mean?
It's just that there seems to be an awful lot of merchandise left after his early retirement from the F1 European Grand Prix here in Valencia on Sunday?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fire in the city

A pall of smoke hung over the Plaza Ayuntamiento (Town Hall Square) yesterday afternoon. Within minutes sirens and flashing lights were everywhere as police and firemen converged on the street. It would seem that the contents of a garbage truck had caught fire. All was tipped onto the pavement and some waitrasses from a nearby cafe were already hosing it down as the firemen arrived and took over.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Valencia European Grand Prix

The first grand prix in Valencia got off to a cracking start with Felipe Massa stamping his authority on the field from pole position.
Lewis Hamilton held onto his second position despite suffering from flu-like symptoms and neck spasms before the race. Robert Kubica started from third and, after an incident with a plastic bag which lodged under his car during an early lap, added another good result to his scorecard this season. Current champion Kimi Raikkonen had an awful day. Starting fourth on the grid, he was quickly passed by Heikki Kovaleinen, still buoyant from his win in Hungary. Raikkonen fought back but, during his second pit stop, pulled away before the fuel hose had been removed and knocked over one of the pit crew. While the crew member was being treated for injured ribs and a damaged foot, Raikkonen’s engine blew up in a cloud of smoke, putting the Finn out of the race.

Renault driver Fernando Alonso had another bad day when Kazuki Nakajima (Williams) ran into the back of him on lap one, damaging the rear foil and forcing the Spaniard to retire.

Despite early predictions that this would be a good track for overtaking, there was no real evidence of this. The pace was such that few drivers were tempted into passing manoeuvres after the first lap.

The day clearly belonged to Felipe Massa as the Brazilian celebrated his 100th grand prix race with a convincing win, spoilt only by a 10,000 Euro penalty for the Ferrari Team when they released Massa alongside Adrian Sutil’s Force India after his second pit stop.

The top eight finishers were:
1 Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 
2 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
3 Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber)
4 Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren)
5 Jarno Trulli (Toyota)
6 Sebastian Vettel (STR-Ferrrari)
7 Timo Glock (BMW Sauber)
8 Nico Rosberg (Williams-Toyota)

After 12 races, the leader board looks like this:
1 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) 70
2 Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 64
3 Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari) 57
4 Robert Kubica (Sauber BMW) 55
5 Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren) 43
6 Nick Heidfeld (Sauber BMW) 41
7 Jarno Trulli (Toyota) 26
8 Fernando Alonso (Renault) 18
9 Mark Webber (Red Bull) 18
10 Timo Glock (Toyota) 15

1 Ferrari 121
2 McLaren 113
3 BMW Sauber 96
4 Toyota 41
5 Renault 31

ps Is it me, or did the Ferrari crew ignore Raikkonen when he returned to the pits after his engine blew? I hope the fuel guy recovers soon.

Mike O’Neill

Sunday, August 24, 2008

La Tomatina - the world's messiest food fight

If you want to visit Buñol this year for the world's messiest festival, go here, has the very best tour to this loony festival, A luxury coach will carry you to and from Buñol to the fiesta. once you've eperienced that - we'll take you to a lovely spot for a shower, swim and a lovely lunch (all included, and wine, sangria and beer too) then back to Vlaencia for around six pm - the price is just 55 euros includes everything and a pair of protective goggles - book now!


Yesterday was qualifying day here in Valencia and was a big disappointment for Alonso who is in 12th position. Massa takes pole postion with Lewis Hamilton taking second.
Last night there was more rain in the city which is going to change the level of grip on the circuit, but this morning the sun is shining and it's a hot and beautiful day.


1 Felipe Massa
2 Lewis Hamilton
3 Robert Kubica
BMW Sauber
4 Kimi Räikkönen
5 Heikki Kovalainen
6 Sebastian Vettel
7 Jarno Trulli
8 Nick Heidfeld
BMW Sauber
9 Nico Rosberg
10 Sebastien Bourdais
11 Kazuki Nakajima
12 Fernando Alonso
13 Timo Glock
14 Mark Webber
Red Bull-Renault
15 Nelsinho Piquet
16 Jenson Button
17 David Coulthard
Red Bull-Renault
18 Giancarlo Fisichella
Force India-Ferrari
19 Rubens Barrichello
20 Adrian Sutil
Force India-Ferrari

Saturday, August 23, 2008


European Grand Prix, Valencia
Valencia 22 to 24 August
Track: 5.44km 57 laps
Qualifying: 14.00 Sat
Race: 14.00 Sun

The 12th Grand Prix of the 2008 season will be held on the streets of Valencia this Sunday. Some of us who stood by the opera house one March evening last year, watching Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton hurtling across the Turia riverbed in their McLarens can hardly believe that the time has passed so quickly! At the time, the idea of a Formula 1 race through the streets of Valencia seemed almost surreal and yet here they are....

With one day of practise still to come, Ferrari seem to have got the measure of this new circuit and both Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa have posted some very quick times. Fernando Alonso, determined to give a good account of himself, is also going extremely well. Sadly, ‘Nando crossed the white line entering the pits and was fined an eye-watering 10,000€ [and we complain about the local traffic penalties!]

First impressions of the track? ‘Nando was very impressed, saying: ‘It is not a normal street circuit, it is a little bit more than a street circuit’. Robert Kubica, currently fourth in the Driver’s Championship said on the subject of overtaking: ‘I think here in Valencia we have some opportunities in two places or maybe three’. Flavio Briattore, Renault Team boss said: ‘We really need to congratulate the people of Valencia for the job they have done.... It is an amazing job, really. The ambience is fantastic.’

The McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovaleinen have yet to get their settings fine-tuned but their times are still looking good. Hamilton will be looking to build on his lead in the Championship but Raikkonen and Massa will be equally determined to regain their positions at the top.

Qualifying starts at 14.00 today and the race proper will start at 14.00 tomorrow. There are mixed opinions as to the weather tomorrow. Some forecasts promise a mix of sunshine and cloud while others suggest light showers may be coming. Whatever the weather, Formula 1 is welcome in Valencia!

After 11 races, the scores look like this:

1 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) 62
2 Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari) 57
3 Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 54
4 Robert Kubica (Sauber BMW) 49
5 Nick Heidfeld (Sauber BMW) 41
6 Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren) 38
7 Jarno Trulli (Toyota) 22
8 Fernando Alonso (Renault) 18
9 Mark Webber (Red Bull) 18
10 Timo Glock (Toyota) 13
11 Nelsinho Piquet (Renault) 13

1 Ferrari 111
2 McLaren 100
3 BMW Sauber 90
4 Toyota 35
5 Renault 31

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

European Grand Prix, Valencia Formula One Urban Circuit 22-24 August 2008

This weekend sees the First Formula One European Grand Prix on the Urban Circuit by the Port here in Valencia.
To help you make the most of it we publish our handy tips here. If you have extra time and are interested in more than just the racing we have some excellent suggestions for your own tours around this beautiful city here and a guide to the best shopping here.
Restaurants and bars listings are here
and if you are still around for the 27th August then join us on our La Tomatina tour - details here - book now! the seats are going fast

Monday, August 04, 2008

33rd America´s Cup- BMW Oracle Appeal against Tuesday’s Decision

BMW Oracle Appeal against Tuesday’s Decision
Following Tuesday’s surprising decision by the New York Supreme Court of Appeal re-instating Spanish yacht club CNEV as a valid challenger for the America’s Cup, Golden Gate Yacht Club have announced that they have lodged their own appeal. In a statement issued yesterday they stated: “We believe the Challenger of Record has to be a real yacht club. It cannot be something that is manufactured with a defender to set up a one-sided event. This decision would set an absurd precedent,” Tom Ehman, the club’s spokesman said. “We believe we have an excellent case for winning on appeal.”
GGYC had thirty days in which to decide whether or not to proceed. The good news is they took the decision quickly; the bad news: summer recess and the Court is unlikely to set a date much before October.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Formula One Grand Prix - Surprises at Hungary

Anyone who thought Lewis Hamilton had the Formula 1 world championship sewn up should have seen the way Felipe Massa surged through from third on the grid to take the lead on the first corner this afternoon. The Ferrari ‘Tifosi’ went wild as Massa re-affirmed their faith in the prancing horse emblem. Masa stayed very much in control of the race, with Hamilton seeming to lack the pace to mount a serious challenge. When the British driver pitted after 41 laps with a puncture, the Brazilian must have felt pretty confident.

Meanwhile, Heikki Kovalainen drove a mature race and, towards the end, began reeling in the Ferrari. Massa’s engine surprisingly blew up on lap 68, just two laps from home, giving two novice drivers the best results of their careers. Timo Glock, who had performed so well in qualifying, brought his Toyota home in second place ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.

Masa later said ‘racing can be a cruel sport. We had given it our all, but these things can happen’. Today’s results move McLaren ever closer to Ferrari’s grip on the constructor’s prize. Since the British Grand Prix, McLaren have whittled Ferrari’s 33 points lead down to just 11 points.

Renault have moved up to 5th overall, thanks to superb driving by Fernando Alonso and Nelsinho Piquet, who between them today contributed one third of Renault’s total points this season. Alonso later said: "We fought hard today and we were on the pace with a car that was working well, which is encouraging for the rest of the championship”

The top six finishers were:
1 Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren)
2 Timo Glock (Toyota)
3 Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)
4 Fernando Alonso (Renault)
5 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
6 Nelsinho Piquet (Renault)

After 11 races, the leader board looks like this:

1 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) 62
2 Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari) 57
3 Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 54
4 Robert Kubica (Sauber BMW) 49
5 Nick Heidfeld (Sauber BMW) 41
6 Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren) 38
7 Jarno Trulli (Toyota) 22
8 Fernando Alonso (Renault) 18
9 Mark Webber (Red Bull) 18
10 Timo Glock (Toyota) 13
11 Nelsinho Piquet (Renault) 13

1 Ferrari 111
2 McLaren 100
3 BMW Sauber 90
4 Toyota 35
5 Renault 31

The next (and 12th) race of the season comes from Valencia on 24th August. Tickets are currently at a huge premium but anyone looking for accommodation should contact Tim at and he will do his best to find last-minute deals.

Hungarian Grand Prix

Hamilton on pole in Hungary
Tomorrow’s eleventh Grand Prix race comes to us from the Hungaroring, a 4.38km circuit just 18 km northeast of Budapest
Lewis Hamilton was top of the leader board for most of the second qualifying session today, until Timo Glock put in a scorching lap to displace him. Then Felipe Massa topped both of them.

Q3 put Hamilton back on top and, with just seconds to go, Heikki Kovaleinen stormed through to make it one,two on the grid for McLaren with Massa taking 3rd, alongside Robert Kubica’s BMW Sauber. The top ten grid looks like this:

The grid line-up:
1 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
2 Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren)
3 Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
4 Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber)
5 Timo Glock (Toyota)
6 Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)
7 Fernando Alonso (Renault)
8 Mark Webber (Red Bull)
9 Jarno Trulli (Toyota)
10 Nelsinho Piquet (Renault)

Timo Glock starts from his highest grid position in 5th (previous best 8th) and, judging by his performance in qualifying, finally seem to have found the balance that has eluded him so far in the Toyota.

Fernando Alonso turned 27 this week (yes, twice world champion and still only 27!) and celebrated with a 7th on the grid. He and team-mate Nelsinho Piquet have yet to find enough speed from their Renaults to match even their closest rivals.

Because the Hungaroring is rated as one of the most difficult circuits on which to pass, many newspapers are already predicting a third win in a row for Hamilton. At the press conference today he said: ‘I think it puts us in a great position to challenge for the win but I have no doubts that it will be a tough race tomorrow.’

The race starts at 14.00 and (for those of us without satellite) can be seen live on TV3 (in Catalan!)