Thursday, July 31, 2008

THE MESSIEST FIGHT IN THE WORLD - LA TOMATINA FESTIVAL IN BUÑOL





THIS YEAR -2008- IT TAKES PLACE ON THE 27TH AUGUST - TO PUT YOU IN THE MOOD HERE'S SOMETHING FROM SOMEONE WHO VISITED THE WORLD'S CRAZIEST AND MESSIEST FIESTA WITH THISISVALENCIA.COM
If you want to visit Buñol this year for the world's messiest festival, go here and send us an email we'll put you on to the best tours

La Tomatina is probably the worlds biggest and certainly the messiest food fight. So when I heard that thisisvalencia.com were organizing a coach trip, I jumped at the chance to go. I have never experienced anything like it in my life, up to 40,000 people crammed into tiny streets. Mental! I mean I've read about it in various guide books, but nothing prepared me for the real thing.
We meet up with the thisisvalencia.com party at 8:45 outside the Palau de Musica for the short coach ride to Buñol and arrived at about 9:30 in the morning.
We followed the crowd down to the town center, which was already heaving. It was like an invading army swarming down into the town, from every street and lane more and more people pilled into the crowd. The more experienced were wearing goggles. I even saw one person wearing a snorkeling mask.
All the buildings were covered in plastic (to protect them from the tomatoes). The locals were all on their balconies and rooftops watching the invaders.
Once we got into the main street things really started to heat up. The only relief from the heat was when one of the locals would throw a bucket of water on us from the safety of their roof. When this happened the crowd started to go mad, chanting Agua, Agua, Agua.
With so many people the buckets of water weren't really sufficient, some people had hooked up hoses and were dousing the crowd, that's when things really took off. Men started ripping off each others camiseta´s (t-shirts) and within minutes a fully fledged tee-shirt war was underway. The sodden camisetas became the first weapons of the invaders.
The streets had lights strung across them, because La Tomatina is a week long fiesta. But within 20 minutes each string of lights looked like bunting, with more ripped t-shirts than light bulbs hanging from each string.
The smell of so many people was starting to really fill the air, but it wasn't possible to do anything about it, there was simply nowhere to go. It took my nervous band 15 minutes to move from the center of the road to the pavement. We did this in the vain hope of evading the growing Guerra de Camisetas. After about an hour, we were totally wrapped up in the fight, moving to stand under water when possible and throwing the Camisetas at everything and everybody. (This is strictly against the rules by the way, you are only supposed to throw squashed tomatoes).
Then the cannon sounded, this was the cue for the trucks bearing the tomatoes to fight their way through the crowd. Each truck carried about 25 people on the back of it and about another 10 people hanging onto the sides, trying to climb in. The people in the back of the trucks were throwing great handfuls of tomatoes at everybody they passed, no one was safe.
The crowd went wild, the ground was covered in slippery tomato puree and people were picking up great big handfuls and chucking at first nervously at the people they knew, but by the time the second truck arrived, it turned into every man for himself.
By the time the third truck arrived, we were standing in tomatoes up to our shins. People splashed it with there feet, picking it off their bodies, clothes, heads, other peoples backs and chucked it indiscriminately at everybody and everything.
As soon as the second cannon shot sounded people stopped, we were now barely able to stand. The crowd fell silent for about a minute and slowly the noise started to build as friends separated in the fighting met up and began to laugh at the ripped clothes and tomato covered people all around them. Some people lay down on the road reluctant to leave.
As we made our way back to the bus things fell silent again. Somebody stopped us to take a picture of us. I was drained, dazed dumfounded at what had just happened. I would have believed it was a dream if it wasn't for the tomato juice running down from my face and the tomatoes under my feet in my shoes squelching between my toes with each step.
I am looking forward to the next thisisvalencia.com outing. It is a good way to see the best that the Valencia region has to offer. Organized by people who know the region and all the great festivals.
Now visit our main site for more on not only La Tomatina but everything you want to know about visiting the beautiful city and region that is Valencia.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

AMERICA'S CUP SHOCK


In a surprise announcement released just over one hour ago, The New York Supreme Court decided by a 3-2 majority that the Spanish Challenge from CNEV in July 2007 was valid after all. The surprise is that most observers had assumed that BMW Oracle were the accepted challengers and that a ‘Grudge Match’ between Oracle and Cup-holders Alinghi would take place in 90ft catamarans. The only questions appeared to be where? and when?

Desafio Espanol chief Augustin Zulueta told The Associated Press: "We're very hopeful that this means an end to this long process and that it will allow all of the teams to race the next America's Cup at Valencia."

The Court also gave CNEV 10 months to prepare for the regatta, meaning that a challenge could take place in 2009 as originally scheduled.

However, this will depend on whether Golden Gate Yacht Club, home of BMW Oracle, decide to contest the appeal. Tom Ehman of GGYC said today “We are surprised and disappointed by this ruling. We will now be taking legal advice and considering the next step.”

It is hard to believe that Larry Ellison, head of BMW Oracle will allow matters to rest here. He has invested millions of dollars since last July, both in legal fees, recruiting top yachtsmen and designers, not to mention building some hugely expensive state-of-the-art catamarans.

We will be back with more news as things happen and look for more news here

Mike O’Neill

Monday, July 28, 2008

What a Weekend in Valencia City!











There was so much on in the city this weekend that it was hard to decide what to miss!
Friday Night was Eclèctic Nit at the City of Arts And Sciences, a mix of street theatre, spectacle and music from 7pm until the early hours of the morning. We had great fun watching flaming horses, performing snails, Japanese drummers, and then took our seats for DO-DO LAND de Puja, an aerial ballet to rock music. The highlight of the evening was an inspired performance from Cuban rappers Orishas.
Saturday was Formula 3 and GT racing at the new Valencia Urban Circuit. This weekend was the dress rehearsal for the Formula One Grand Prix in August. full report here
Saturday evening it was up to Canet beach to see how the Electrodomestico Festival looked. NOT VERY BUSY, we counted no more than 50 people at the live bit whilst we were there, shame, because the band playing whilst we were there were quite good.
Sunday evening it was back to City of Arts and Sciences for the Australian Pink Floyd show. The music was note perfect and excellent but the show lacked excitement and didn't take full advantage of the fantastic setting.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Formula One - Hamilton's Flawless Performance at Hockenheim


The rain held off today at Hockenheim and, with a moderate 22ºC temperature and a light breeze, conditions were perfect for what turned out to be a defining race in this year’s championship. Lewis Hamilton cast aside doubts following his erratic early season behaviour to turn in a flawless performance.
more here

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Art in Gran Via Marques del Turía






There is a new exhibition down the tree lined avenue Gran Via Marques del Turía here in Valencia, sculptures by Ripolles, a Castellon artist. They are not my favourite kind of work, but having had a walk through them, they leave you feeling happy and smiley, which is always a good thing!

Formula One The German Grand Prix


The German Grand Prix returns to Hockenheim after a year’s absence while the circuit was being up-graded.
Conditions during qualifying threatened a repeat of Silverstone but, apart from an early cloudburst, the track allowed some fast times. Fastest of all was Lewis Hamilton, who beat Felipe Massa to pole with a stunning lap, backed up by team mate Heikki Kovaleinen in third. more here

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Anita & PJ Are Reporting Live From Benicassim


It's that time of the year again, Anita Darling is at Fib Benicassim reporting live for us from this great festival, click the link to see the news and the pics from Last night here
There will be a gallery of pics and the full diary later in the week here

JULIET'S ROSE


JULIET'S ROSE?
Among the chaos that is my city garden I found this beautiful rose. Revived by the recent rain, its perfume brought to mind Romeo and Juliet (What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet) and an article I read recently where the writer (anon) cast doubt on the accepted meaning. He alleged that William Shakespeare was amusing himself by making a sardonic aside about The Rose (a local rival to his own Globe Theatre) and its less than wholesome sanitary arrangements. Apocryphal or not I wish I could share the smell of my rose with you. I've named it 'Willie'.

Friday, July 18, 2008

JUST THIRTY MINUTES FROM VALENCIA ...


Just thirty minutes by car from Valencia city lies the small town of Olocau. A fugitive from the stifling city heat, I parked the car by the small cemetery and took the path that leads up to 'Puntal dels Llops', where I'd heard an archaeological dig was going on. It was first excavated in 1988 but, it seems, there are new findings.
The walk to the top took less than an hour and, whilst quite steep initially, the gradient became easily manageable, even in the high temperature.  Expecting a small pile of stones, I was delighted to see that the site comprises an atalaya (watchtower) and fortified town with seventeen dwellings over an area of 800m².  Although much reduced, in some cases these buildings were three stories high.  The surrounding muralla (defensive wall) dates back to the Bronze Age and is largely intact.  The archaeologists, working hatless in the mid-day heat, told me that its history as a settlement went back to Palaeolithic times and apart from the Iberians, there was evidence of Celtic and Roman occupation.
At a height of about 380m, the views were superb. Llíria and the Monastery of San Miguel were clearly visible to the south.  Look to the west and there is another stronghold, a similar ruin, and to the east, Sagunto.  Beneath Llíria lie the ruins of what was once the most important Iberian city in Spain.  Established in the 4th century BC, Edeta, as it was then known, was built where the monastery now stands. The town was rebuilt in its current location after the Romans destroyed it in 76 BC.  I could go on but then it becomes a history lesson. On the other hand, if you want to know a little more about the region, go into Olocau itself. Apart from an interesting church, recently restored, there's a pleasant walk up to the font and a small amphitheatre where, in July and August, you can enjoy various concerts.  


Out of interest, and by complete coincidence, if you are a cyclist the excellentbiciclubvalencia are riding to Olocau this Sunday 20 jul

U2 to play live in Valencia too?


Obviously spurred on by the success of landing Madonna's only Spanish date Diputación de Valencia's President, Alfonso Rus announced today that he is now trying, with the help of Enrique Ybarra, director general of the promoter Music Community , to get U2 to play at Cheste Circuit as part of their tour...
more news here as we get it

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Madonna Sticky and Sweet Tour only date in Spain at Cheste, 18 September 2008




Well, here's a big surprise, Madonna is coming to play live in Cheste in September.
It was confirmed that the lady will perform for one night only at the Circuit on the 18 September 2008, at a press conference this morning at the Diputación de Valencia. Diputación President, Alfonso Rus announced the concert and Enrique Ybarra director general of the promoter Music Community gave more detail.
One thousand road crew will take a staggering eight days to erect the stage, sound and Video equipment. Madonna will be coming with 16 dancers and one very large band by all accounts. This is the only date for Spain - though Ybarra did hint that there is a possibility of staging a further night at Cheste.

Tickets go on sale through ticktackticket.com and at fnac and Carrefour on friday 18july at 10.00am.
There are 70,000 Tickets on sale, 50,000 at 69 € standing, 4,000 standing special area at 99 € and 150€ in a vip section. Others with seating and special vip deals will be available.
more later and here

Monday, July 14, 2008

The President of Valencia FC visits the site of the New Stadium




The President of Valencia Football Club visits the site of the New Stadium with some of the previous presidents of the club. The stadium is coming on really fast and is expected to be finished by next year. ANd it's going to be Gorgeous!

Formula One Urban Circuit Valencia August 23-26


Lots of news coming out of Valencia on the Formula One Urban Circuit, Not least of which is the accommodation, or lack of. Every hotel seems to be sold out through conventional channels. thisisvalencia.com may just be able to help!, we have alternative accommodation on offer, and can help with a multitude of things Valencian - go to the site or email us - address on the site - we are sure we will be able to help you!

What were these doing in Plaza de la Virgen, Valencia?






Odd happenings at around 2am in Plaza de la Virgen. What do you think these were advertising, We have no Idea!
We had great video for you but blogger has a problem this afternoon and we can't upload our videos, so here are (poorer quality) stills

Opera in Viveros Gardens, Valencia



It was a night at the opera on a sultry Saturday evening in the lovely Viveros Gardens in Valencia. A night of the 'best ofs', All your favourite Arias sung by some great Pro (Semi-Pro?) soloists and a good orchestra. All conducted by someone who looked suspiciously like Gene Wilder. Of course, it wasn't him, but curiously, there was no printed program or any mention anywhere in the venue or on the program of who any of them were. Having searched around, we think it might have been the State Opera of Bulgaria.
We discovered a new (to us) drink, Limon Granizada and Beer Clara (shandy) - discovered by our good friends, the Roddises on a previous jaunt to Viveros to see Coppelia.
The rain came midway through the second half of the concert and many of the audience did a runner, shame! Most of us had umbrellas and some, pictured above, used alternative methods of shelter!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Who are the Flowers For?




On the way to an appointment yesterday we saw these guys in a big hurry to deliver their flowers - Wonder who they were for?

A bike ride on the Formula One Urban Circuit of Valencia





Intrepid cyclist and British Valencia journo, Derek Workman put on his 'go faster' cap and took to the hot tarmac of the new Formula One Urban Circuit by the port of Valencia last night. He cycled for just a few of metres of the 5.56 km course, which is still being readied for the first event, The Formula Three weekend on the 26th July.
Derek then had a chat with Eric Taylor live on air on Onda Cero International. Derek told Eric that the track was a delight to ride on and though his multi-geared mountain bike was fast, he was unable to reach the 300 km per hour max speed limit the tarmac is built to withstand.
More on the Valencia Formula One Urban Circuit here video

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Gooru on Books and Podcasts for the beach in a particularly hot Valencia


So now we are into the 'Que calor!' stage again and 'it's come too suddenly, no time to prepare!' - Prepare for what? This is late June in Valencia, traditionally hot, soaring temperatures and humid. And, as always at this time, in the early day and weeks of the heat, bad tempers on the roads and in the streets. Once everyone is used to it, by the end of summer, it will be cooling down again.
But hey, it's school holiday time, 11 weeks of time off for kids and teachers, and lots of beach time for all of us. Which means it's time for beach reads and more than just music on you iPods and mp3 players.
Let's start with iPods (or similar), there is a wealth of stuff legitimately downloadable from the web...
Read more of his great article and more reviews from Babu too here

Gaelic Football


I’m not sure if Gaelic Football came first, and being a mixture of football and rugby played with a round ball confused the Brits so they had to make two games of it, or the Irish decided to combine both the games to draw bigger audiences and permit semi-legal kicking the hell out of each other. Anyone from the southern hemisphere will recognise the game as Australian Rules Football, which, contrary to its name, seems to have very few rules at all – other than kicking the hell out of the opposing team.

When I went to watch a game of Gaelic Football at Levante FC’s training ground on Avendia Alafuir, the players were there more for a bit of a lark and a pint or two late, so the violence of professional games wasn’t on show. That may also have been because both teams included colleens (women, for the non-Irish speakers), who nonetheless did a fair amount of shouting and bawling. The referee was also a woman who, in plaited ponytail and flip-flops, skipped up and down the sidelines trying to keep order, although she spent a fair amount of time asking other chicas on the sidelines if anyone was keeping score. The Spanish groundsman was totally confused – a game that allowed both men and women to play together (the first equal-opportunities sport?), players to kick and handle the ball and the score didn’t depend just on goals but also on points, but how the points were given seemed totally obscure. There again – it is Irish after all!


It seems to be that you can only run a few steps before kicking the ball – usually a little flick upwards into your hands, a neat trick when travelling at speed. The goalie – obviously a first-timer – got a bollocking because he threw the ball out of the goal instead of kicking it. “You’ve got to kick it out, mate. Every time!”

Timing seems a bit fluid. “Let me know when it’s fifteen minutes for half time,” the ref called to her sideline aficionados. Half-an-hour a game! That wasn’t going to raise a sweat. “No, were going to give it tirty minutes a side,” someone called from the pitch. “Right’ch’arethen,” the ref called back. A short while later a voice called, “Eight minutes left.” “We’ll give them one more minute fer yer man wasting time,” the ref called back.

I’m pretty sure that a trainer for Levante wouldn’t run onto the pitch partway with a bottle of water to refresh the poor wee players, but just before half-time one of the male sideliners ran onto the pitch shouting, “De yers wanta take a break fer water?” “Ders only tree minutes left – GEDDON WIDIT!” one of the petit ladies hollered back.

Probably the best thing to do if you go to watch Irish Football is not to try and understand it. Probably half the players don’t – and I wasn’t one hundred percent sure about the ref – but what the hell, everyone was having a great time and were there for the craic more than anything else.

But as ever, the poor ref got all the stick!

For more great reading material from Derek Workman go here

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Sunday in the Park






A lovely day today here in the city - Feria de Julio has started and we went to watch the Preselections for next years Falleras, the queens of Las Fallas Every March. If you don't know about Fallas read all about this fantastic festival here
The Gardens in front of the Palau de la Música were buzzing with people taking in the early evening breeze over a drink in one of the Terazzas or playing with radio controlled speedboats. Or doing some amazing skating!
Tomorrow in the same place - a free Jazz concert at 10pm more on this concert and the whole of the Feria de Julio here