Sunday, April 29, 2012

Stairs vs. Lift

If you live on the fifth floor of a building without a lift you will definitely get a lot of forced exercise, but is it worth the trouble? If you want to see a grown man cry just watch when someone gets down to the street and realizes that he forgot his phone. If you have to keep your bike inside your apartment your enthusiasm for stairs diminishes very quickly. Of course, all modern buildings have a lift but some of the most beautiful buildings in Valencia don't have this fairly modern convenience. Is a lift a "must" for you or do you have a bit of flexibility when it comes to humping up stairs? Take this simple test to determine what sort of building best suits your needs.

What is your tolerance for stairs?

A) I could live in a fifth floor walk-up.
B) The fourth floor without an elevator is my limit.
C) Only three flights of stairs for this guy/gal.
D) Two
E) One
F) I can't live without a lift and I never take the stairs.

Friday, April 27, 2012

My Favorite Mistake

  Chef José Andrés on getting kicked out of the kitchen.

It was December 1990, And I was 21 years old, working in a restaurant outside Barcelona for my best friend, Ferran Adrià. Now he’s known as the best chef in the world, but back then we were just kids, and he was trying to build up a new restaurant called El Bulli. One night he asked me to meet him at a restaurant in Barcelona at 7 o’clock to have a talk. I showed up and he wasn’t there. These were the days before mobile phones, so after about half an hour, I left to go find a pay phone to call him. When I got back, there he was, irate. This is a man who likes to be on time, and he thought I disrespected him. He yelled at me for a long time and accused me of lying to him, then told me he didn’t want me there anymore.

So there I am in the middle of Spain, it’s raining, and I’m out of a job at a place I thought I would spend my entire career. The soundtrack of my life started playing. It was like those movies where there’s a shooting and someone’s little brother is shot in slow motion. I was just standing there in the rain, cars driving by. Within a week, I moved to New York to try something different. I had never thought about trying to be a chef in America, but I thought now was the right time, and I didn’t have any other choices. That was 20 years ago, and moving to the United States really was destined for me. America gave me the opportunity to open successful restaurants, start a TV show, and write books. I can even fill an auditorium when I give a speech, which in America is rare for a chef.

Maybe the mistake was leaving to find a pay phone. Or maybe it was his mistake for not believing me. It’s still my favorite. There are those occasional moments in life where something happens that feels like the end of your life and career. But it started something entirely new for me. It pushed me onto a different path that was even bigger.

Seven years later, I went back to El Bulli to see Ferran. I walked in and we just gave each other one of those Spanish hugs when you put your hand behind the other guy’s neck. Now we’re best friends. We consult each other on recipes and menus. We even go on vacation together with our families. He’s coming to America soon, traveling for a new book he wrote. He actually called me 15 minutes ago to talk about his trip, but I was talking on the phone, so I didn’t answer. Please don’t tell him I said that.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Valencia CF vs Atlético de Madrid @ 21:05

Can Valencia bounce back from their 4-2 defeat in Madrid to go on to the finals of the Europa League? This season has certainly been a roller coaster ride of highs and lows. Valencia beat Betis 4-0 on Sundays so scoring goals isn't always a problem. We'll settle for a 2-0 victory.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Only about 70 kilometers from Valencia is the charming village of Chelva, one of the few "white villages" in the Valencia Community.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Traffic Problems Explained

This video explains the concept of "Induced Traffic" wherein the more roads and parking spaces you build, the more problems you have with traffic because people choose to drive instead of using other transportation options.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Valencia Guide

by Annie Bennett

Valencia: Sensuous and unpretentious, Valencia is all about Mediterranean exuberance. Go for the dazzling light, spectacular modern architecture, miles of golden sand and buzzing nightlife...

All sounds rather uplifting. Where should I start?

Head down to the glittering City of Arts and Sciences. The extraordinary sculptural structures, designed by Santiago Calatrava, house a science museum, planetarium, opera house and marine park (Avenida Autopista del Saler 5, 902 100031; The complex stretches along a swathe of parkland that snakes around the city, where Valencians love riding their bikes and running. 

Are there more traditional sights, too?

The cathedral is a riotous hotchpotch of Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque extravagance. The museum contains a chalice recognised by the Vatican as possibly being the original Holy Grail (but you can make your own mind up about that...) It's worth climbing the Micalet belltower for great city views (Plaza de la Reina). Afterwards, wander through the streets of the old town to the central market, a glorious art nouveau building with tiled domes, where the fabulous local produce is sold at more than 1,000 stalls ( Be sure to stop at the bar outside for a freshly-squeezed orange juice, then have a look at La Lonja, the 15th-century silk exchange opposite.

What about art? Any good museums?

The Museo de Bellas Artes, in a 17th-century building, is one of the most important art museums in Spain, with paintings by Velazquez, El Greco and Goya, and Valencian artists including Sorolla (San Pio V; As well as the permanent display of work by the sculptor Julio González, there are always a few interesting temporary exhibitions on at the IVAM contemporary art museum (Guillem de Castro 118; La Sucursal, inside the museum, has a Michelin star and is one of the best restaurants in the city.

I’ve worked up a bit of an appetite now actually...

A lot of Valencians eat paella or some sort of rice dish every day, and there are infinite permutations, so they never get bored. As such, eating paella is an essential experience when in Valencia – and should always be eaten at lunchtime rather than in the evening. The family-run Casa Ripoll is popular with locals and is right on the beach (Paseo Maritimo, Modulo 7). There are several more good places right on the front, including the famous La Pepica, which was a favourite of Ernest Hemingway (Paseo de Neptuno 2-8).

Nearby in the Cabanyal, the old fishermen’s quarter, another place worth seeking out is Bodega Casa Montaña, which is one of the best tapas bars in Spain. Classic dishes are prepared using artisan ingredients and there's a great choice of wines by the glass (José Benlliure 69).

Are the shops worth bothering with?

Are you kidding? Start with Calle Colon for Zara, Mango, Adolfo Dominguez and lots more Spanish designers. Don’t miss Cristina Castañer (at 43) for edgy espadrilles and sandals. Cut down Don Juan de Austria for a cheap thrill at the string of bargain shoe shops. Sorni, Cirilo Amoros and Jorge Juan streets are packed with more upmarket boutiques. The restored art nouveau Colon Market on Calle Jorge Juan is now full of cafés - ideal for a coffee break. For international designer names, meanwhile, look no further than Calle Poeta Querol.

I can’t believe I’m hungry again after that huge lunch, but…

Quique Dacosta, who is one of Spain’s top chefs, has two fabulous, buzzy gastrobars in Valencia – Mercatbar (Joaquín Costa 27) and the newer and somewhat swisher Vuelve Carolina (Calle Correos 8).  Both serve amazingly creative dishes to share at reasonable prices.

I fancy hitting the bars now…

Start with a cocktail on the terrace at Café Negrito (Plaza del Negrito 1), then take your pick of the bars lining Calle Caballeros. Carmen Sui Generis (Caballeros 38), with a section of the 11th-century city wall in its interior, is always a good bet.  

I’m going to need a suitably stylish place to stay in Valencia…

Of course. The five-star Palau de la Mar ( should fit the bill nicely. The grand 19th-century building has soothingly minimalist rooms, a superb spa and one of the best restaurants in town. Or try the glamorous Vincci Palace, with a great location right in the centre and a bit of a boudoir vibe going on in the rooms (

Is it easy to get around?

The old town and shopping areas are walkable, but you might want to use the bus ( or the metro and tram system ( to get to some of the sights, down to the beach and to and from the airport. The Valencia Card is a really good deal as it gives unlimited use of public transport plus discounts at museums, sights, shops and restaurants ( Buy one at the airport and use it straightaway for the metro to the city centre.

When’s a good time to go?

Although, like much of the rest of Spain, the city can get stiflingly hot in summer, at least you can escape to the beach and cool off in the sea. Pleasantly warm temperatures and bright sunshine are the norm in spring and autumn, and even in winter you can often sit outside during the day.

What about flights?

Easyjet flies from London Gatwick ( and Ryanair flies from London Stansted, Bristol, East Midlands and Manchester ( The flight takes two and a half hours. The train from Madrid takes 90 minutes.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Semi-Finals of Europa League: Atlético de Madrid vs Valencia CF @ 21:05

We are hoping for another night like this from Valencia CF in the first leg of the semi-finals in Estadio Vicente Calderón, Madrid.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bike Rental Made Easy: Valenbisi

For those of you visiting Valencia and wanting to rent a bicycle, Valenbisi is a very good option.

Valenbisi service consists of 2.750 bicycles distributed around 275 stations and set up in different strategic parts of the city to promote the use of bicycles and its integration into the transport chain. Users can rent a bicycle in any of the stations and return it in any of the other 275 available around the city. The first 30 minutes of use are free on every bicycle. This service runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Users must be over 16 years old and could choose among two types of subscription to register with Valenbisi: the Annual Subscription, one year card, or the Weekly Subscription, one week ticket. Besides, users of Mobilis card will have access to the system as annual subscribers, just activating the card in the webpage and after the configuration in the terminal.

Station Map

Plan your route by station. Click here to find the station nearest to your home. Locate your position on the map and select your zone.


Short Term Ticket, weekly
If you just want to know how Valenbisi Works with a Short Term Ticket (7 days ticket).
In the stations with credit card terminal you can buy immediately a weekly ticket (Short Term Ticket).
You just need your credit card and follow the instructions indicated on the screen and the dataphone.
With the Short term Ticket you can make all the journeys you want with your bicycle during 7 consecutive days.
  • Weekly Hire Ticket fee: 10€.
  • First ½ hour of use: free.
  • 30 to 60 minutes: 1 € every 30 extra minutes.
  • Every 60 extra minutes: 3€ for every 60 extra minutes.

Annual Card
This is the best option if you visit Valencia more than once a year. With the annual card, you can rent a bicycle whenever you want, all year round.

Become a Valenbisi long term subscriber is quick and easy. To make this faster, go directly to section “Subscription” in the Valenbisi home page and follow the steps showed. 
  • Annual Hire Card fee: 18€.
  • First ½ hour of use: free.
  • 30 to 60 minutes: 0,50 € every 30 extra minutes.
  • Every 60 extra minutes: 2€ for every 60 extra minutes.

How Valenbisi works?

What to do to get a bicycle?
Simplicity, comfort and speed define Valenbisi. To use a bicycle you just need to approach to a terminal and log using your Long Term Hire Card or your associated ticket (Mobilis), enter your PIN code and select an available bicycle on your screen. For subscribers of short ength, once you have retired the card in one of the terminals fitted out for this purpose, you just have to enter your code, choose the bicycle you want and start using it. 

The first time you use your Associated Long Term Card, just swipe it over the reader and enter the code provided in Valenbisi website

For your safety, from the terminal to the station you then have 60 seconds to press the unlocking button on the stand of the bicycle you have chosen to remove the bicycle. Enjoy your journey!

Returning the bicycle
When you have completed your journey, simply locate the bicycle in the nearest station with available stands. An audio signal on the stand confirms that the bicycle is locked correctly and your usage is complete.
Attention: Always check that your bicycle is locked correctly. If it is is not, the system will keep on counting as it were still running.

If you are unable to lock your bicycle correctly please try again at another available stand, failing that contact the Call Centre at +34 902 006 598.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

No Reservations: Cajun Country in Louisiana

Just in case you were wondering what we eat in the United States, it's a lot more than burgers and chips.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Levante U.D. vs FC Barcelona @ 22:00 on La Sexta

Levante is struggling to get back to fourth position in La Liga while Barça still has a chance to win it all against Real Madrid. A lot is at stake tonight at Ciutat de Valencia stadium.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Titanic Sinks; Movie Makes Billions!

The movie Titanic by James Cameron was filmed 100 years ago today.

Perhaps you missed this hilarious headline from The Onion



Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Valencia CF vs Rayo Vallecano @ 20:00

Mid-week Liga action tonight with Valencia hosting Rayo Vallecano from Madrid. Valencia has dropped one point behind Malaga and now is 4th in the league.

Valencia: El Barrio del Carmen

Take a stroll through Valencia's beautiful historic center with this video.

Monday, April 9, 2012

No Reservations

Anthony Bourdain's program, No Reservations, isn't really a cooking show but more about travel and people's attitudes about food. He has a special place in his heart for Spain. He says at the beginning of this first segment that Spain is the best place for food—outside of Asia—in the world. He should know as well as anyone, eating and traveling is what he does. He films some moments of pure culinary genius in this episode.

VIDEO: how does Globexs work?