Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mercado De Fuencarral opens in Valencia!


I know, you'll be saying that there are quite enough shops and shopping centres in town already, but this latest is well worth a visit. At the top end of the Río Túria towards the new Parque Cabacera is the sparking MDF (Mercado De Fuencarral), two floors of designer stores and a floor of food, drink and entertainment, and topped by a floor of multiplex cinemas showing a great regular selection of movies in Original Version (VOS).

Valencia is now the new site for this great concept which originated in Madrid, International designer names like Adidas, Camper, Chevignon, Pepe Jeans, Puma and Mango Accessories are to be found alongside lesser known but equally as interesting shops selling everything from jewellery to clothes to works of art and luxury foods and drink.

There are great places to eat and drink too, with free wifi and a DJ on hand all through the day and late into the night playing your favourite sounds. The Sofa Club is the heart of Fuencarral a place to sit and relax and take a coffee or a cocktail or catch a concert or your favourite dj. There is also Laydown, a restaurant where you do just that, serving food and drink all day and dinner shows too. Pepita, a bar restaurant serving great food and drink. Propaganda Cafè, serves great shakes and smoothies and the best burger in town. Opera Prima have two locations serving great refreshments and there is Waqas Döner Kebab.

It will come as no surprise that Fuencarral is the place to be on New year's Eve!

Mercado de Fuencarral | C/ Tirso de Molina 16 | 46015 | Valencia | Spain

Monday, December 29, 2008

A flat for sale in the heart of the city of Valencia

Here is a great opportunity to buy a lovely flat just off the Cathedral Square in the heart of the historic centre of Valencia. This is a three bedroom, first floor flat in a pedestrian street close to the Plaza de la Virgen. The photos do not do this flat justice! It has three good sized bedrooms, large lounge, kitchen and nice bathroom. The unique thing about this flat is that it has a central courtyard which gives the flat a lot of light(and adds a lot of space too!) only 200,000 euros or near offer!

The FIB Heineken 09 Line-up Starts to Take Shape

Franz Ferdinand, Kings of Leon and Paul Weller are the first confirmed names for the line-up of the most exciting and excellent summer music festival in Spain. This is going to be a line-up that you definitely do not want to miss!
Here's a reminder that 4-day tickets are on sale at a special launch price of ₤140 until January 15th. Tickets include free camping between the 13th and 21st July.
For more information go to tickets.fiberfib.com

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Americas Cup Delayed Again

The future of the America’s Cup once more rests with the lawyers following the failure of Team Alinghi to provide the documents requested by BMW Oracle.

In notifying Société Nautique de Genève (SNG) of the decision, Marcus Young, Commodore of Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) said: “Over the past 17 months, we have made a number of constructive suggestions to resolve the dispute outside of court and get the America’s Cup back on track. Yet SNG and your defense apparatus have consistently refused to negotiate with us in good faith.”

Alinghi’s response was: “Yesterday's announcement by BMW Oracle and Golden Gate Yacht Club is not a surprise as they have never shown any interest in joining the competition alongside the 14 teams, currently officially entered. Instead, at every turn, they have chosen to insist on pursuing their selfish legal strategy.”

The next, and final, court hearing commences on 10 February 2009 in the New York Supreme Court of Appeal. Meanwhile, Ernesto Bertarelli’s attempts to stage a pre-America’s Cup regatta here in Valencia next June are looking decidedly shaky.

The Louis Vuitton Pacific Series, which starts in Auckland on 31 January, will put a serious dent in the budgets of those teams who have already entered. Other, newer teams will struggle for sponsorship money until a court decision is handed down; probably sometime in April. This will leave little time to get their teams up to speed and many will prefer to conserve their resources for the main event, whenever and wherever that might be.

It is impossible to predict which way the final Appeal Court decision will go but it seems probable that the delay will make a 2010 America’s Cup series look very doubtful. The best we can hope for, if BMW Oracle win their appeal, is for a spectacular ‘Deed of Gift’ series in 90ft catamarans. But it will be nothing compared to what we witnessed here in Valencia last year during the 32nd ACC Series.

Mike O’Neill

Monday, December 08, 2008

America’s Cup Dealine Approaches

The two open letters below, one from AYRE Challenge and the reply from Russell Coutts of BMW Oracle, seem to show a closing of the chasm between Ernesto Bertarelli of Team Alinghi and Larry Ellison of BMW Oracle.

The documents referred to by Coutts are critical to the reaching of an amicable settlement of this long and expensive war between two of the richest men in the world. Bertarelli’s original plans for the 33rd AC Challenge were unacceptable to Ellison and to many other teams. In an effort to overcome the resulting 15 month stalemate, Bertarelli organized meetings in Geneva with other challengers which resulted in these plans being significantly revised. Team BMW Oracle were not at these meetings and their own suggestions for avoiding further court action were ignored. Bertarelli has declared a deadline of 15 December for entries and Coutts has requested copies of the proposed plans by 8 December, giving his team a week to study and digest the plans.

As the AYRE Challenge letter states: “The only important issue is to remedy the reasons that caused BOR’s action”.

Quite simply, if BMW Oracle receive the documents and proceed to nit-pick and prevaricate over relatively minor details, I believe they will lose the goodwill and respect of the majority who have supported their stand.

If BMW Oracle receive the documents and, following clarification of certain points, feel able to re-submit their challenge, then it seems likely that the America’s Cup will be able to proceed as planned in Valencia in 2010.

If Team Alinghi fails to provide the documents requested by 8 December, then BMW Oracle are, in my opinion, perfectly justified in pursuing their claim through the courts.

This will be very sad for all those who have had to put their lives on hold while this drama has unfolded, but it would be worse to see this 157 year old trophy brought into further disrepute.

Mike O’Neill

Thursday, December 04, 2008


Thursday, 04 December 2008- An open letter from BMW Oracle's Russell Coutts to the America's Cup Challengers

BMW ORACLE Racing CEO and Skipper Russell Coutts has replied to Ayre Challenge skipper's oppen letter with another open letter to the AC33 Challenger community. In it he says that his team is willing to consider entering AC 33 “by 15 December even though it is a totally arbitrary deadline” but he needs to see “the current drafts of the protocol, event regulations, and competition regulations.”

He adds, “If we do not receive these materials as requested – or our review of them shows there has been insufficient progress in resolving fairness issues – we will cease our 17-month effort to resolve this dispute with the Defender and other Challengers, and will rely on the New York State Court of Appeals to decide.”

Here is the full text of his letter.

Dear America’s Cup colleagues,
As you know, my colleagues and I at BMW ORACLE Racing are eager to join the Challengers for AC33 and we’ve made genuinely constructive suggestions and concessions to make that happen, including embracing ISAF’s willingness to mediate this dispute.

We share your interest in having a world-class field of Challengers for our sport’s pinnacle event, and appreciate your belief that BMW ORACLE’s participation is essential.
We are willing to consider entering the competition by 15 December even though it is a totally arbitrary deadline. However, inasmuch as we’ve been excluded to date from the discussions, we need further clarity on fundamental issues (which you say have been addressed) to meet our concerns, and those of others, about fair and competitive rules.
Specifically, we ask that you arrange to have the Defender send us by Monday, 8 December the current drafts of the protocol, event regulations, and competition regulations. This would give us a week to properly review them against our Ten Point Plan and determine our course of action before the 15 December deadline.
If we do not receive these materials as requested – or our review of them shows there has been insufficient progress in resolving fairness issues – we will cease our 17-month effort to resolve this dispute with the Defender and other Challengers, and will rely on the New York State Court of Appeals to decide.
With respect to the lawsuit, we are moving into the home stretch with a decision on our appeal expected early next year. Given the stakes involved in preserving the integrity of this great event, we do not believe a few more months presents an unreasonable delay. As we’ve said before, if we prevail, as we expect, we will work toward having a fully competitive, conventional multi-challenger regatta with fair rules in 2010.
Still, we are willing to give a settlement outside of court one last try. In the cordial, friendly spirit of your letter, I hope you will help move this process along by arranging to provide us the documents we request.
Russell Coutts
CEO and Skipper

Meanwhile in a report in El Mundo yesterday Rita Barberá, Valencia's mayoress, after a meeting with the president of Valencia's regional government, Francisco Camps, said that both are ready to close the deal for the 33rd America's Cup to be held in the city.

“Pending the judge's decision, we are both ready to close the deal as soon as possible”, Barberá stated "For us it is already mentally here." she then told journalists to ask the central government's Vice President, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, "when she comes", whether she also agrees.

“We have the will to support the celebration of the 33rd America's Cup in Valencia with all the boats and teams possible and it should take place in July 2010, with two pre-regattas in 2009 as offered by Alinghi", she concluded.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

America's Cup: An open letter from Ayre Challenge's Pedro Perello to BMW Oracle's Russell Coutts

Ayre Challenge represents the prestigious Yacht Club of Denia, one of Valencia and Spain’s most important yacht clubs. It is the second of two Spanish challengers for America's Cup 33.

Dear Russell,
The reasons that induced me to write this open letter stem from the respect I have towards you and your team.

Ayre challenged for the America’s Cup more than a year ago, hoping to take part in a competition that thanks to the excellent organization set up by ACM and the Valencian and Spanish public institutions became a world reference and example of what a global sports competition should aspire to.

The success of the 32nd edition in the summer of 2007 in Valencia surpassed all expectations and was also due to the active participation of all Teams, with BMW Oracle Racing undoubtedly being a clear example. Ayre was born because of the 32nd edition being so successful.

Unfortunately, any judicial procedure in any field causes serious setbacks to the proper development of any activity and in this particular case all teams are suffering from this eternal lawsuit that, without pointing any fingers, looking for reasons or blaming anyone, has paralyzed the 33rd edition of the Cup.

Alinghi has recently decided to get sailing back on track and reactivate the organization. They have gathered all teams that have legally entered and started a process of rebuilding the competition. I truly believe this was the correct procedure because the current situation is greatly detrimental to all involved but also to the image of the America’s Cup.

After three meetings in Geneva, all participating teams have been able to confirm Alinghi’s predisposition to carry out the necessary modifications to the Protocol, the Event and Competition Regulations, as well as the design of the new box-rule, in a completely democratic way. As a result, great advances have been achieved in a short time.

Ayre considers that at this moment we objectively have the evidence that demonstrates the change in situation. Race Officials will be selected from ISAF officials. The Protocol and the Event and Competition Regulations are being modified in a democratic way, open to all registered Challengers. We believe that going back to an exhaustive 10-point list, most of which have already been addressed, is not the most cordial way to reach an agreement. Nor is it a considerate gesture towards the teams present in the meetings.

We want to believe BMW Oracle Racing wish, as they have repeatedly stated, the return to an open competition, open to all Challengers, as soon as possible.

Ayre thinks that at this moment the only important issue is to break the current deadlock, without any accusations or analysis, without declaring winners or losers in a dispute that has hurt all parts equally. The only important issue is to remedy the reasons that caused BOR’s action, within the democratic framework Alinghi has put in place with all the teams participating in the 33rd America’s Cup. A DoG Match will irreversibly damage the possibility of having a multi-challenger edition in the near future.

As a challenger that represents the prestigious Yacht Club of Denia, one of Valencia’s and Spain’s most important yacht clubs, we think that the effort and patience shown by the Valencian and Spanish public institutions should not be wasted.

The deadline for inscription in the 33rd America’s Cup is on December the 15th. After that date, no team will be able to join. Ayre thinks that BMW Oracle Racing’s presence is essential and its absence will strongly weaken the competition. We also think that BOR has the right to participate, as long as it’s done before the deadline and within the formal framework.

Let this friendly letter be a demonstration of our admiration towards a team that through its perseverance and capacity has demonstrated that, despite suffering sports setbacks, because of its spirit of fair competition it has been able to come back and compete.

Dear Russell, the America´s Cup needs the three-time winner of the world’s oldest and most prestigious sports event, and probably the world’s best sailor, to be part of it, adding to its prestige.


Pedro Perelló

A nativity scene in Valencia Cathedral

There is a long tradition of 'Belén's' or nativity scenes in Spain. At this time of the year they can be seen all over the city and in towns and villages. Some villages hold competitions each year and there are shops devoted to the art. Christmas Markets have stalls dedicated to the models and parts for the scenes too.
Many homes have them, some on a really grand scale.
Valencia Cathedral has one for the first time in 400 years this year. It is a lovely Belén and is free to visit every day until the 6th of January. Expect queues at weekends.