Valencia in my heart

So much is written in the Internet about Valencia. An infinite number of books have been published – but still in fame and popularity of Spanish cities Valencia ranks behind Madrid and Barcelona. Indeed Valencia is “just” the 3rd largest city in Spain, it is not one of the prime business centers of Spain, its sister cities are smaller cities as well, their soccer club ends up mostly behind the clubs from Barcelona and Madrid. So – why focus and write another text about Valencia?

It´s just because in my eyes Valencia is the most attractive city in Spain. Being smaller than Madrid and Barcelona turns into an advantage in many ways:

Beachlife:

The numerous beaches in Valencia and surroundings are amongst the cleanest and most attractive. Whether you are looking for Sports activities, maritime ambiente to relax, good food or just a refreshing swim in the Mediterranean Sea, you will be delighted.

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People:

The people are just awesome. They are so friendly and kindly welcome everybody with their openminded characters. The poison of exhaustive touristic exploitation of visitors has not infected the population at all. (Yes – their is crime and also bad individuals, but given the size and compared to other places Valencia is totally visitor-friendly and safe)

History and Culture:

Valencia always has played an important role in Spain and the entire trading community of the Mediterranean Countries. Still many well maintained monuments, buildings and conventions are still alive. Numerous activities, like walking tours, museums, workshops are available to explore the Valencia culture in depth.
To prepare your trip I recommend the site Valencia bonita. Uptodate information about activities and places to visit are of great value.

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Activities with kids:

Apart from extensive beachlife activities kids will be delighted spending a day in the beautiful Sea-Aquarium Oceanografic. Nearby you can stop by the Ciudad de las arts y las ciencias. A nice science museum, which allows children to explore the world in their very own way. Also the Bioparc is a great place if you love exotic enimals. Read my blog A day at the Bioparc Valencia for more details. Some kilometers away from Valencia you find many waterparks and  with Terra Mítica a gorgeous  Theme Park. We came so many times to this region that we saw them all and we always enjoyed it so much.

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Fiestas:

Like in most Spanish cities Valencia is celebrating all catholic holidays with processions, nice costumes, fireworks and dances. The major ones are Easter, Christmas, New year and Corpus.
However FALLAS is THE outstanding celebration in Valencia and exclusively in Valencia.
During a week the entire city puts itself in pretty decorations and each neighborhood  organized in Casals fallers is decorating their streets with carpets of flowers and thematic ornaments. It all comes to its highpoint the 19th of march on Saint Josephs day when they burn it all down and Valencia will be in flames. Some rumors say that FALLAS is the most exhaustive Fiesta behind Carnival in Rio.

Markets:

Valencia has many markets. Most of them are hosted in beautiful ancient buildings and surrounded by bars and restaurants, where you can enjoy the fresh ingredients from your market tour.
My favorites are the Mercat Central, Mercado de Ruzafa and Mercado Colón. The first two are rich in all sorts of vegetables, fruits, meat, seafood, sweets, spices, vinery, beers, juices, etc. The Mercado Colon is slightly different. It is an awesome ancient building which hosts  various bars and restaurants – ideal to start the day with breakfast or to start the night with some copas before you get wild at one of the clubs or parties.

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Shopping:

Apart from all the Gucci, Armani, Adidas, Lacoste etc. outlets Spanish Retail Store El Corte Inglés will help to find the right dress for any event.
Handy crafts, souvenirs and pieces of art you find everywhere from very cheap (mostly made in China and of poor quality) to Premium. Topics which represent all Spain and are perceived as soooo typical are sold everywhere. However I recommend to buy everything around Flamenco in Andalucía and not in Valencia. It is just not from here.
True Valencia related items are for example: Fallas, Valencian ceramics, Abanicos (all Spain) Paella, Horchata, Fartons, Oranges.

Food:

Paella is the most known and popular dish from Valencia and its region. Many varieties are served in numerous places, of cause all homemade.  They are offered all day but as it is a heavy meal the natives prefer to eat it for lunch. In order to find out the real good ones by yourself follow my blog Delicious spanish food in Valencia. Of cause Valencia is not only Paella. A whole variety of other rice dishes, seafood, tapas, montaditos or fresh made bocadillos are the Spanish delights of your choice. All are described in my blog Delicious spanish food in Valencia and Ensaladilla rusa.

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Party:

Clubs, discotecas, beach-parties, concerts, festivals: Every night in many locations. Remarkable is that there are places and events to party for every one. It is not an exclusivity for teens and twens or the rich and Avantgarde.

Streetart:

See my blog Valencias identity found in Graffiti

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Ireland – lots of places you feel welcome.

Ireland hosted us during a lovely vacation with all its charme and beauty. Visiting  many places leads to observations, which you may consider contradicting. On one hand you discover diversity on the other hand they all have lots of aspects in common, the so called cultural identity. In Ireland one of the most pleasant experiences, which we have made in all spots, we have visited, was the friendlyness and openess of the irish people. Whether it was a big city like Dublin or very small countryside towns like Cong, everybody made us feel very welcome. Days are starting and ending with a smile.

We enjoyed so much our main stay in the Old Schoolhouse within the Ashford Castle area. We rented this enchanting home for two weeks. It is ideal to make daytrips throughout all the north and west and east of the country.

Our most wonderful impressions we took:

  • walking along the Cliffs of Moher

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  • partying in Galway
  • visiting the Kilbeggan Whiskey Distiller
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  • on a shopping experience in Dublin, including the Old Guinness Brewery

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  • on a trip to the Aran Islands

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  • at the evenings in front of the fireplace in the Old Schoolhouse finally reunified with our daughter, who spent a highschool-year in Athlone.

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Also the Ashford Castle offers a lot of activities for the entire family. We had a great time during 2 hours on the back of wonderful horses riding across all the Ashford Castle park. Archery, fishing on the lake and extensive walks made our stay unforgettable. Not to forget the delicious food and tea breaks we had at the Hungry Monk Café in Cong.

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(As we are not great golfers we skipped the wonderful 18 hole challenge. Anyhow, if you are adicted to golf, I am sure you cannot resist.)

 

Valencia, tercera en el ranking de las ciudades más peatonales de España

Un estudio revela cuales son las ciudades más peatonales de España, y ojo, Valencia se encuentra entre ellas…¡en tercera posición!
— Weiterlesen valenciabonita.es/2018/07/04/valencia-tercera-ranking-ciudades-mas-peatonales-de-espana/

Der neue Baggerweiher – Kompliment an die Stadt Erding !!!

Neu ist er eigentlich nicht. Doch es gibt viel Neues. Zu dem Minigolf platz, dem Surfclub, dem Kiosk und den Trampolinen sind 2017 noch viele Sportanlagen und tolle Spielplätze dazugekommen.

Zu Volleyball, Basketball, Soccer und Boule treffen sich viele Menschen jeden Alters und geniessen ihre Freizeit entweder nach der Arbeit oder am Wochenende.

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Dazu sind auch die Insel und das Ufergebiet enorm verschönert worden. Ein wundervolles Beispiel für eine fantastische Freizeitanlage, für die kein Tier verdrängt wurde, die Kulturelle Heterogenität zulässt und für Alle etwas zu bieten hat. Das funktionierte nicht zuletzt, weil der Kronthaler Weiher, dies der offizielle Name, enorm vergrössert wurde. Radler, Jogger, Pilatesgruppen, Krabbelgruppen, Badegäste, Ballsportler, Surfer – für alle gibt es viele Möglichkeiten ohne sich in die Quere zu kommen. Selbst die FKK Freunde, Hunde-Ausführer und Angler haben ihre Ecken gefunden.

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Achtung Partypeople !!!

Auch Abends ist der Weiher oft Austragungsort von privaten Partys oder der öffentlichen alljährlichen Weihafeia.

Alles in Allem ein äußerst gelungenes Refugium zur Freizeitgestaltung, das die Stadt Erding ihren Einwohnern und Besuchern spendiert hat.

Herzlichen Dank und weiter so !!!!!

Kleiner Tipp: die Innenstadt wäre als Fußgängerzone noch viel reizvoller !!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

São Paulo – my kind of town

São Paulo is the biggest xxx colony outside of yyy. Biggest Japanese colony outside of Japan, biggest German colony outside of Germany and so on. You could think that this leads a bit to a lost identity, which is not the case at all. São Paulo is with all its diversity pure Brazilian and you can feel its enchanting identity in every corner, park, building, district. Whether favela or business area; whether black, indigenous or Portuguese population  – all is São Paulo. There are so many gorgeous places and things to do, that I would need hundreds of blogs to cover everything.

Some of my highlights:

  • For Soccer lovers:
    • see a match in the Morumbi Stadium, home of FC São Paulo. Morumbi
    • see a match in Santos and visit the Museum and Stadium tour. Santos
      If you do both, you will see the difference between huge and familiar, but you will get the great ambiente in both and you’ll catch the legend aura of stars like Pelé, Neymar, Coutinho, Kaká,  and others.
       

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  • Estação da Luz is one of São Paulos most important railway stations. The architecture from the 19th century is just admirable. Also the Garden, Jardim da Luz, across the street and the Pinacoteca are a must-see, while you are there. Estacao da Luz
     

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  • The arts market at Praça Benedito Calixto is definitely my favorite street market. Vintage, street music, street food, handicrafts and a lot of unique items are there to be discovered. You will see, how time flies, while you stroll through the multitude of booths, have a snack or coffee in one of the lovely cafés.  The market only opens on Saturdays. Arts Market Benedito Calixto
     

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  • Liberdade is the Japanese district of São Paulo. Liberdade is a must for all Sushi lovers. Liberdade
  • A romantic dinner, a Party or just the last drink. The perfect place is one of the gorgeous Roof top Restaurants just below the Brazilian sky.

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Enjoy your trip to São Paulo ….

 

…. and don’t miss out your theatre or musical experience. They are so breathtaking.

 

 

Muito obrigado a Elaine, Carlos, Thais and all my other friends, who made my stay so unique.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Embu das Artes – Artesanías all around

When staying in São Paulo you can’t miss a trip to Embu das Artes, a lovely little town in the outback. It is famous for it´s Arts and Artists. In the daily market you will find all kind of handicraft, furniture, apparel, food, pets, paintings, jewelry, …

On the weekends you should come in time, as it gets very busy but you also will find much more items in the exhibition.

 

Enjoy your relaxing and exotic shopping experience !!

Ilhabela – a great refugium

Beautiful Island with lots of natural pools and falls, awesome beaches and a lot of things to do:

  • 4×4 tour
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  • many guide or unguided walks
  • sailing, surfing, diving, …
  • beach-life
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  • climbing

Be advised, that Ilhabela is also the home of many mosquitos. You still don’t want to miss it but always take a good repellant with you.

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Aguas Claras – how to grow coffee

Aguas Claras Eco Lodge is a spot in paradise. The active Coffee plantation is offering a full range of countryside lifestyle in the Brasil. Nearby Guapimirim in the state of Rio de Janeiro this beautiful resort of Eco Tourism is so enjoyable that you don’t want to leave any more.

The quiet and peaceful environment gives all you need to relax and enjoy the nature. It is a great Refugium for the entire family. We enjoyed so much the time swimming in the pool or just chilling in the hammocks and watching the wild parrots.

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Harvesting Coffee

The Activities offered include

  • daily horseback riding
  • a ride on a 4×4 throughout the entire farm
  • actively watching (and helping) to harvest the coffee (see picture above)
  • and many more
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A daily ride to explore the surroundings

 

The food at Aguas Claras is mostly homemade and so delicious:

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When writing this outstanding memory of our journeys I was shocked that the homage of Aguas Claras I had written down was not active anymore. I hope all is well there and Aguas Claras is still giving it´s enchanting moments to many other travelers.

 

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Paraty – and its wonderful beaches

Paraty is one of the very few seaside villages right halfway on the way from Rio de Janeiro to São Paulo, where the old colonial style houses survived. They are all well conserved and most of them are nice Pousadas nowadays. They all look nice and offer a high level of comfort. Personally I can recommend highly Pousada do Sandi and Pousada do Ouro.
Pousada do Ouro
Pousada do Sandi
(Make sure you make your reservations in advance)

Many Artists and some celebrities, such as Thomas Mann, Mick Jagger or Tom Hanks, were and are attracted by this lovely coast town.

The most lovely area is downtown at the historic center. It is an area without cars, except for hotel guests and delivery. You can enjoy a lot of water and trail activities and finish the day with a great meal in one of the lovely restaurants and of cause a caipirinha (or two).

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My highlights:

  • Renting a boat and enjoy a full day trip along the coast. The crew guides you to awesome bays, where you can dive and see all the submarine animals. At lunchtime we were at a very small island which just had one restaurant on it. The food was very delicious !!!

    Don't forget hats and sun protection
    Don’t forget hats and sun protection
  • Our daily trips to one of the wonderful beaches along the coast around Paraty. They are all nice for swimming, watersport activities or just suntanning and relaxing. If you stay a couple of days, you should see various. If you just have one day, my recommendation is the Praia de Trinidade.

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We will definitely return !!!!

 

Many thanks to Dany, who gave us the recommendation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andere Länder, andere Sitten – Limette oder Gurke

Wie hält man Essen (Sandwiches, Salate, Nachtische etc.) über den Tag frisch und geschmackvoll?

Deutschland: Gurke

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Mexiko: Limette

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Spanien: Zitrone oder Orange

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Your best friends in Valencia

There is to so much you need to worry about. Most of the people speak English. The cuisine is compatible with all cultures and in most of the places you will be asked for any allergies you might have.

Of cause you will need sun protection from April/May to late September and a hat or cap.

Mosquitos won´boter you too much and wild animals you won’t meet outside of the very nice Bioparc (A day at the Bioparc Valencia).

I guess the best recommendation is to bring some really soft and comfortable shoes like Sport or City Sneaker for the walks through the city. The sidewalks are made mostly out of hard stone tiles, cobble or stone blocks (especially in the historic city center). Even though Valencia does not have many days of rain, if the floors get wet it can become very slippery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a great time in Valencia and enjoy !!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tulúm – escaping from the real world

After almost 2 weeks of jungle, nature and a lot of walking and climbing we deserved a rest in one of the awesome resorts at the Riviera Maya in Yucatán. That’s at least how we convinced the boys to join us. The Dreams Tulúm Resort & Spa blow us away in a very positive way. The staff was so friendly and helped us everywhere they could to make our stay a unique experience.

At the lovely beach or the pools the boys enjoyed themselves with the sports activities or just swimming in the wonderful caribbean sea.

Pelicans, a raccoon and many iguanas are living peacefully in the resort and contribute to the exotic ambiente.

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The Food was outstanding in quality and diversity (including a Martini Bar and live cooking events). Try to my favorite Martini: Martini con café

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One of the major highlights was the Tequila tasting with Sommelier Angy (Angelica Ortiz).

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She guided us through the world of Tequila so passionate and knowledgable. We enjoyed the event of cause from a taste point of view but also learned so much about Mexico, local vinery and the Mexican cuisine. – Thank you so much Angy !!! Tequila tasting

We surely come back.

Tulúm Dreams Resort & Spa

Bocairent – Caves, Ice and the festivities on Corpus Christi.

It was amazing to see one of the most historical festivities in the town of Bocairent. On Corpus Christi beside the traditional procession children celebrate their welcome to the Christian community. I had the chance to watch this nice tradition in Bocairent.

Aproximately an hour by car from Valencia Bocairent is hidden in the Sierra Mariola and offers a lot of things to do. My two favorite activities are the crawling through the ancient Cuevas de los Moros and the visit of la nevera/cava de Sant Blai.

The Cuevas de los moros are caves (most likely of the Xth century), which were inhabited by North African Berbers. About 50 windows in the mountain are the only thing, you can see from outside. A small path guides you to the entrance and than you need to use hands and feet to crawl through the rooms.

The Cavas/neveras were big silos in the rocks, which were used to store Ice. Later the Ice was cut into cubes or bigger entities and sold to the people. The Cueva de San Blai is the ancient “fridge”, which is located in Bocairent. Snow and Ice was a big business before the invention of electricity. There are neveras throughout the region. (Cueva de Don Miguel, Cueva Arqueda, Cueva de la Habitación, Cuevita del Buitre, …).

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Don´t miss out the fantastic walks. They are well signposted and lead you to all the interesting spots.

Btw: The food is delicious in all the tiny Restaurants and in the afternoon I recommend to have a fresh, homemade Horchata.

Bocairent has a great Homepage, whch gives you all the details to prepare your trip: www.bocairent.org

Valencias identity found in Graffiti

Valencias is a proven example of how Painting can enrich a city. You see a lot of this cities itentity in traditional and local motives outdoor and indoor. Modern spray- and other techniques live in perfect harmony with ancient themes as you can see in some of the fotos.

The culture of protest – Expressions of love, hate, desperacion or fun – Lifestyle – Food – Bellas Artes – all is painted by talented Artists and found in very old areas of the city like el barrio del Carmen as well as in the futuristic and modern quarters of the city.

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Some you find easily by walking through Valencias, but don´t miss out the beauty of indoor paintings in some of the museums or official buildings like the city hall (ayuntamiento). Most of them are well renovated and open to the public.

 

indoor Graffiti from the Rococo 

 

enjoy your Graffiti discovery tour and send me your favourite to: ernesto@ernestosplace.com

and let me know if you wish me to post them on this blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

El museo nacional de cerámica y artes suntuarias.

Don´t get misleaded. This awesome museum is not exclusively about cerámicas. You can find all sorts of ancient artifacts of the traditional Valencian Bourgeoisie. The building alone (Palacio del Marqués de dos Aguas) is wothwhile a visit. The late Baroque and Rococo palace has so many items to explore.

My two favorites are the old kitchen on the 2nd floor and the XXL chaise-longue for a real great siesta.

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This wonderful museum is located down town in the palace of the Marqués de dos aguas; Calle Poeta Querol 2

Link: MNCerámica

Valencia in march

What a beautiful trip to Valencia. At this time of the year it isn’t too hot or too busy either. But the seasonal context is not so important anyway. What count is the company you are in.

My highlights this time are:

1 – the 25th aniversary of my best pal.

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2 – a lazy sunday in the mountains with a delicious Paella Valenciana.

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3 – the breathtaking view from the top of the towns most energizing building.

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4 – a great desert at the traditional Horchatería Santa Catalina.

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5 – breakfast with my beloved ones

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6 – A day at the Bioparc – a modern zoo with love for it´s animals and visitors

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