Sunday, June 30, 2013

Brazil vs Spain: Confederations Cup @ 24:00

A terrible time for a final for Europeans. So far all of the teams seem to be sleep-walking through this tournament that really doesn't mean much except as a final tune-up for the new stadiums in Brazil for next summer's World Cup. Spain made it through by simply outlasting the Italians on Thursday evening and Brail has been completely underwhelming.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Spain Advances to Final with Brazil in Confederation Cup

Spain edged into the Confederations Cup final with a dramatic 7-6 win on penalties against Italy in Fortaleza.

The Italians - humbled by Spain in last year's European Championship final - were out for both revenge and a Maracana showdown with hosts Brazil, but they failed to turn their dominance over 90 minutes into goals.

A weary Spain side waited until extra time to turn the screw but they still needed Leonardo Bonucci to miss one of 14 spot-kicks between the nations before sealing their place in Sunday's final through Jesus Navas.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Do You Bike?

Looking to rent a bicycle during your stay in Valencia? Do You Bike is a great option with three locations in Valencia offering bike rentals as well as bike tours in and around the city.

In the City Center
Calle del Mar 14, 46003 Valencia
Tlf: 963 155 551 -

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Summer is here and there are lots of great tomatoes in the market which means that it's time to make gazpacho.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Noche de San Juan

Celebrate the shortest night of the year at the beaches of Valencia (that was actually the night of the 21st but who's counting?). Go to the shore this evening and you'll find hundreds of thousands of folks celebrating the night of San Juan with bonfires, food, and beer. Another excuse for a party in Spain so don't be left out of the fun...and pagan revelry.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Happy Summer Solstice

This morning at 05:04 marked the summer solstice when the tilt of a planet's semi-axis, in either the northern or the southern hemisphere, is most inclined toward the sun. Earth's maximum axial tilt toward the sun is 23° 26'. This happens twice each year, at which times the sun reaches its highest position in the sky as seen from the north or the south pole.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Caprese Salad Kebabs

Another easy appetizer or party idea. There's lots of fresh basil available now and good cherry tomatoes. The Mozzarella balls might be difficult to find but you can use sliced cheese.

Monday, June 17, 2013

What Are You Doing Today?

If you live in Valencia you are probably calling in to work sick and heading to one of the local beaches. The weather is perfect and the water is warm, or at least not too cold.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Bicycles Are Illegal in Valencia

Another police reign of terror to end the bicycle reign of terror, the second in as many years. In this case it’s like using a steam roller to kill an ant and begs the question of just what is the problem the city of Valencia is hoping to solve. The police actually call this an “information campaign” with the punch-line being a completely absurd fine of 200€. Three marauders were cited for not having bells on their bikes. Thank god the police are protecting the citizenry from these animals.

The worst thing about this anti-cycling campaign is that most of the people in Valencia seem to be in favor of it or at least acquiescent. This is what I take from the tone of the articles appearing in Valencia’s two daily newspapers and from the television coverage on the local news. There was no shortage of people voicing their concern over the outrageous and deadly behavior of the city’s bike riders.  It’s easy enough to find footage of cyclists breezing through red lights at deserted intersections or riding down sidewalks but it’s another thing to actually find a problem with this behavior. Put a camera and any intersection of the city and you will witness some pretty brutish driving habits that seem to be accepted techniques by the police. Wait for a light to turn yellow and you will see a line of cars gunning it to screech through while cars waiting on the opposing lane roll through the light before it has even changed to green. Most drivers watch the flashing green pedestrian signal and use that as their green light. Yesterday I was almost run over by a bus using this tactic.

12 cyclists were fined for chaining their murderous machines to trees or lamp posts, something strictly forbidden under the new decree drafted in 2010, obviously by people who never cycle. When called on this stupid prohibition one of the PP functionaries commented that the city has generously provided 4,000 bike parking spaces throughout the city, a city of almost a million people. Do the math while you scour the city for a place to leave your bike. Once again, just what problem does the city want to solve by this law? And it’s not like chaining your bike will do any good as bike theft seems to be a perfectly legal and respected profession from the way local police ignore it completely.

There were nine infractions of cyclists dragging unauthorized loads behind their bikes which is simply code for singling out gypsies who improvise trailers for their bikes in their search for chatarra and other riches stolen the trash containers throughout the city. One man’s garbage is another man’s food for the day. It reminds me of the Anatole France quote from Le Lys Rouge: La majestueuse égalité des lois, qui interdit au riche comme au pauvre de coucher sous les ponts, de mendier dans les rues et de voler du pain (in its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.)

The message the city is sending to the people of Valencia could not be clearer: you shouldn’t ride a bicycle and if you do you will be held to a standard far higher than that expected of automobiles. It doesn’t matter that no one has been killed by a cyclist while cyclists and pedestrians are run down like dogs by motorists. I would be grateful if the local police would enforce a single traffic law: the maximum speed limit of 50 kph in the city.

Vehicle Speed
Odds of Pedestrian Death, Source 1
Odds of Pedestrian Death, Source 2
20 mph 32k
30 mph 48k
40 mph 64k

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Pork Hocks in Beer & Honey (Codillo con miel y cerveza)

Fresh pork hocks (codillo in Spanish) can be found in any supermarket in Valencia and make for a very inexpensive meal. You can use them to make stock for traditional rice dishes or simply eat them with an accompaniment of fried potatoes or rice. Not exactly a light summer dish but we've had a cool spring.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

24/7 Valencia

24/7 Valencia, The English Speaking Connection is a monthly magazine about everything that is happening in town. It's a free publication and can be found in hotels, bars, and restaurants all over Valencia.

The Guardian:24/7 Valencia is a free magazine in English, available from many bars and shops across the city, which provides features and previews on local events, fiestas and club nights. Its comprehensive listings section covers bars, clubs, restaurants and shops and is reviewed every month to keep pace with the ever-changing scene. An invaluable guide for long weekend visitors looking to get the most out of Valencia’s nightlife.”

Friday, June 7, 2013

Lunch on the Terrace in Cánovas

Conde Altea is a street in the Cánovas area of Valencia and has dozens of great restaurants and bars. It is one of the best places in Valencia to sit outside and have lunch or dinner. ¡Buen Provecho!

View Larger Map

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Say No to Bike Helmet Laws

One argument on helmet laws in Atlantic Cities (read a few of the comments). Info about helmets at Bicycling Magazine.

Before this argument even picks up a faint hint of steam it needs to be crushed.  Mandatory bike helmet laws would be a foolish step to take if we are at all serious about lowering carbon emissions. If you are so concerned about the safety of cyclists then lobby for tougher laws against aggressive drivers and let individual cyclists decide whether or not they want to wear a helmet.   

Making helmets mandatory for cyclists is basically telling people not to ride bikes.  It over-inflates the dangers of cycling and gives people the false impression that riding a bike is hazardous to their health. I have ridden a bike almost every day of my life since I was a child and the vast majority of the kilometers I have racked up cycling have been without a helmet, so sue me. If you look at cities where people actually embrace cycling as a mode of transportation you will find that almost no one wears a helmet when commuting. You can cite all of the studies you like (and the argument about helmets goes both ways—for and against) but I haven’t completely relinquished my common sense which tells me that riding a bike in the city isn’t particularly dangerous.

I’m quite certain that studies would show that people who wear helmets 24 hours a day no matter what they are doing suffer fewer head injuries yet we don’t mandate helmet laws for all public activities.  Wearing a helmet while driving a car would probably save lives but making all automobile passengers wear a helmet would be at least as ridiculous as forcing helmets onto the heads of bike commuters.

The bottom line is that society should be getting down on their hands and knees and thanking people who choose to ride a bike instead of firing up an internally combusted machine to effect their daily rounds.  The absolute last thing we need to do is give anyone an excuse to leave their bike at home.  

Monday, June 3, 2013

More Recipes for Rice: Arroz con Conejo

If you think that people here in Valencia eat a lot of rice you would be correct, but Italians eat pasta every day. What's the problem? If you are going to eat a lot of rice you'll need an arsenal of recipes to keep things interesting. Today we are cooking with rabbit and whatever else you find in the market that looks good.

For the best Valencia rices dishes I turn to La Cocina de Juanry. In this video Juanry cooks with revollones wild mushrooms which abound in the late autumn.
And finally a recipe in English by the master, Jose Andrés.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Sevilla FC vs Valencia CF @ 21:00

So it has come down to the last match of the year and in the balance is qualification for next season's Champions League play. Valencia leads Real Sociedad by two points. If Valencia wins they make it. Let's not even consider the possible consequences of a loss or a draw. Sevilla have always been a tough game for Valencia while Real Sociedad takes on Deportivo who are frantically fighting to stay out of relegation. Who will blink?

 Valencia blinked.

game recap:

Valencia CF fell at the final hurdle in the race for Champions League football, suffering a defeat against Sevilla at the Sánchez Pizjuán in an unforgettable night. A breakneck start, in which Éver Banega scored after 12 minutes, turned into a flurry of chances for the likes of Roberto Soldado. The game took a farcical turn on 20 minutes, however, with a penalty decision not given in Sergio Canales’ favour.

The destination of the three points was decided in the first half, as things became unbalanced against Valencia CF. Three penalties, including that on Canales, another on Jonas and a third on Soldado, were not whistled by the referee. However, one was awarded against Ricardo Costa and VCF, when the defender brought down Diego Perotti in the box. Álvaro Negredo scored from the spot to level up the game, but the injustice was plain to see.

The initial control was Sevilla’s, although it was only converted into one shot –saved by Viente Guaita. The first side to score were Valencia, and in some style: Banega showed extraordinary close control outside the box, then released a screamer past Ándres Palop into the top left corner. 1-0 up VCF had another chance that fell to Soldado, who hit the bar in the 24th minute.

The dubious penalty awarded to Sevilla was put away by Negredo, 5 minutes after he had levelled the game with an overhead kick inside the box. The striker had turned the scoreline around to give Sevilla an advantage in goals, and that became an advantage in manpower when referee Clos Gómez showed a straight red to Jonas. It was a baffling decision for an incident that had seen only a yellow card when committed by a Sevilla player on Soldado just minutes before.

Sofiane Feghouli came on for David Albelda after halftime, and Valencia CF pushed to reestablish a hold on the game. Soldado drew VCF level with a full-stretch finish for Joao Pereira’s cross, but immediately Negredo went down the other end of the pitch to make it 3-2. Negredo would get his fourth as Sevilla took advantage of their opponents’ urgency, and not even an 88 th minute Soldado goal could change things. With Real Sociedad winning at Deportivo La Coruña and the injustice at the Sánchez Pizjuán, the 2012/13 season would end with Valencia CF finishing fifth.

Spanish Primera División
Sánchez Pizjuán, Seville (Attendance: 25,000)
Sevilla FC 4 vs. 3 Valencia CF
Sevilla FC: Palop, Fernando Navarro, Cala, Jesús Navas, Medel, Negredo (Baba, min. 88), Perotti (Stevanovic, min. 63), Rakitic, Cicinho (Coke, min. 69), Kondogbia and Alberto.
Valencia CF: Guaita, Cissokho, Albelda (Feghouli, min. 46), Jonas, Soldado, Ever (Víctor Ruiz, min. 78), Joao, Ricardo Costa, Dani Parejo, Mathieu and Canales (Viera, min. 65).
Goals: 0-1 Min. 12 Ever 1-1 Min. 40 Negredo 2-1 Min. 43 Negredo 2-2 Min. 55 Soldado 3-2 Min. 57 Negredo 4-2 Min. 88 Negredo.
Referee: Clos Gómez (C. aragonés) Yellow cards for Fernando Navarro, Cala and Coke for Sevilla, Soldado, Albelda, Joao Pereira and Ricardo Costa for Valencia CF. Jonas was sent off for a straight red card.

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