Tag Archives | valencia

Gone to Blazes

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[Last year I was asked by the editor of Men's Fashion, a popular Canadian magazine, to write a feature about Las Fallas in Valencia. Since tomorrow, March 19th, the fiesta comes to a spectacular end with the cremà, or burning, of the giant statues, I thought I'd post the article that appeared in last December's issue. Here it is.]

It takes a little while, but during the fiesta known as Las Fallas, in Valencia, you eventually get used to the sight of four-year-old boys walking around with pieces of burning rope. At first I didn’t know what the ropes were for, but then I saw one little guy run up to his father and jump up and down imploringly until dad produced a few firecrackers. The kid then ran off to light them with the rope and then throw them pretty much wherever he pleased. Oh, I thought. I see. The ropes are fuses. Of course. I mean, you can’t exactly let a four-year-old play with matches, can you?

Ah, Spain. It’s fun for people of all ages! While the kids amuse themselves by lighting firecrackers in bars, in restaurants and throwing them at the feet of unsuspecting tourists (“Wow, that old man jumped a lot higher than I thought he could!”), some of the adults busy themselves with the final touches on the mascletás. Whole sections of streets are cordoned off and rigged with Continue Reading →

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Castles in the Sand

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The Knights Templar built the castle in the town of Peñiscola between the years 1294 and 1307. Some eight centuries later, it often serves as a handy model for those who like to build sand castles on Peñiscola’s stunning beach. Photo ©Mike Randolph

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Calatrava’s City

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Not every architect gets the chance to transform a city. But Santiago Calatrava did. Even better, the city he got to transform was Valencia, the city where he was born and trained.

The City of Arts and Sciences is a massive complex of eight buildings that look like they’re from another world. A project of that size was possible in the heart of the city only because the Turia River was diverted to another route around the city after a devastating flood in 1957. So suddenly there was a lot of space available, and Valencia made good use of it. The upper reaches is all parkland, and the lower reaches were essentially handed over to the imagination of Calatrava. There is an opera house, a planetarium, a science museum, a futuristic landscaped park, and the largest aquarium in Europe.

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Buy a limited edition print of this image

Buy a limited edition print of this image

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