Valencia For 91 Days

For 91 Days, we explored sunny Valencia, home of paella and the third-largest city in Spain. We already knew Valencia well… in fact it’s our adopted home, and the place we return to whenever we’re taking a break from traveling. Whether you’re planning your own journey to Valencia, or are just interested in seeing why we chose to make it our permanent base, our articles and photographs should help you out. Start at the beginning of our adventures, visit our comprehensive index to find something specific, or choose one of the articles selected at random, below:
Showing #1 – 10 of 102 Articles

Hey there, Valencia, did you miss us? After five years spent traveling the world, from Tokyo to Bolivia, from Iceland to Sri Lanka, we’ve returned to our adopted home. I’m from the US, and Jürgen is from Germany, but this Spanish city on the Mediterranean Sea is where we’ve decided to settle down. And it’s about time we show the world why.

It’s the last Sunday of February. You’ve purposefully forgotten to set your alarm clock, hoping to luxuriate a few extra minutes in the deep sleep of early morning. As you nestle in your comforter, drowsy as can be, Valencia looks upon your resting figure with a smile. But it’s not a smile of maternal tenderness… in fact, it’s more of a smirk. And then the explosions start.

The last Sunday of February is a busy day in Valencia. It starts early with the despertà, which awakens the city with a bang. There are events throughout the day, including pilota matches, marching bands, and a mascletà in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. But Fallas doesn’t officially begin until the evening, with the celebration of the Cridà.

By far the biggest cities in Spain are Madrid and Barcelona: they dominate the country’s media, culture, tourism and (especially) sports. But what comes next? What’s the Chicago, to Spain’s New York and Los Angeles? That, my friends, would be Valencia.

Every year, regular life in Valencia comes to a screeching halt, as the city gives itself over to Fallas: a spectacular celebration of art, light, noise and fire that runs from the end of February to March 19th. It’s a festival unlike any other, and comprises so many different elements that we felt a concise explanation might in order. What is Fallas, exactly?

The unofficial sport of Valencia is pilota, a type of handball played in long halls known as trinquets. This fast-moving game is like a mix between volleyball and tennis, but looks a lot more painful than either of those.

Who doesn’t love fireworks? The color, the sound, the visual spectacle? Of course, we can all agree that they’re wonderful. But, who still loves fireworks minus the color and the visual spectacle, leaving only the sound? Hmmm, not many of you have kept your hands up… just a bunch of maniacs wearing blue and white handkerchiefs. Let me guess: you’re the Valencians.

Before they’re placed within their Falla, the best ninots from every Fallas commission are displayed in the annual Exposición del Ninot at the Museum of Science. Like so much at Fallas, this is a competition… and from the ninot’s point of view, the prize is of utmost importance. The best one, as chosen by the general public, will be spared the flames of the Cremà.

The plantà on March 15th seems like a magical occurrence. Just as on Christmas morning, when children come downstairs to find presents under their tree, Valencians come onto the streets to find gigantic monuments erected all about their city. We visited the Ciutat Fallera, where a community of artists work as hard as elves, all year round, creating the monuments of Fallas.

As one of the major cities of the Mediterranean, it’s no surprise that Valencia has had a tumultuous history. From the Rule of the Romans to the Reign of the Rita, this city has experienced a lot. Here’s a quick run-down of some of the major events which have shaped Valencia throughout the years.