Valencia Holiday

Leisure

Walking - see below

Golf - An 18 hole Severiano Ballesteros course Oliva Nova is just south of Oliva, about 20 mins away.  There is also a golf course in Gandia

Scuba diving and bikes can be hired locally.  Horseriding is available near Ondara.  Sea and river fishing are also available

 Walking- We can supply many self-guided walking trails as there are many pathways in the Valencia area and one we recommend is in the Vall de Gallinera.  The Moors occupied this area for 600 years and were expelled in 1609. The Vall de Gallinera became deserted and the Duke de Gandía who owned the land, brought from Majorca 150 families to repopulate the valley.The Valley is made up of small towns most of them beginning with Beni-(which means son of) The scenery is beautiful, with ruined hermitages, quaint old houses and cool streams and picnic areas.

Fiestas-

The most popular fiesta is La Fallas which are held locally in Gandia and Valencia and other nearby towns. La Fallas are held the second week in March and festivities last a whole week. Massive papier mache, wood and wax charicatures are built by the townsfolk during the year and painted: A Fallas Queen has already been elected and there is fierce competition for the best entry. The figures are then burnt on the night of the feast of St. Joseph. These figures, called "ninots" by the Valencians, allude to events and personalities of the day. The ninots, half satirical, half symbolical, are created in a style somewhere between comic strips and Walt Disney cartoons. For one week the Valencians are both spectators and participants in a spectacle which goes beyond the walls of the great theatre which these cities become. The tourist influx and the international projection of the Fallas grows every year. Click onto the official la Fallas site or watch Gandia or Valencia's spectacular la Fallas

Moors & Christians - This festival commemorates the battles, combats and fights between Moors (or Muslims) and Christians between the 8th century through to the 15th century. The festivals represent the capture of the city by the Moors and the subsequent Christian reconquest. The people that take part in the festival are usually enlisted in filaes or comparsas (companies that represent the Christian or Moor legions), and for several days, they parade with bombastic costumes loosely inspired by Medieval fashion. Christians wear fur, metallic helmets, and armour, fire loud arquebuses, and ride horses. In contrast, Moors wear ancient Arab costumes, carry scimitars, and ride real camels or elephants. The festival develops among shots of gunpowder, medieval music and fireworks. It ends with the Christians winning a simulated battle around a castle. The most famous is in Alcoi where a castle is built in the middle of the square but Oliva is an excellent battle with thr Moors dramatically battling it out on the sea shore. Denia and other towns nearby also their own battles but the Tourist information offices will let you have a list of participating towns. Watch a video

Bullrunning is held in various towns - Denia and Javea are the nearest where this event can be seen.

Bullfighting - the nearest bullring is in Ondara.   It was built in 1901 but rebuilt in 1957 after being destroyed in the Civil War. Usually there are posters outside when the next bullfight is due.

Rastros

Rastros in Spain are really Car Boot Sales. If you are stuck for something to do on Saturday or Sunday, these 3 rastros are the largest and best in the area.

Jalon - Saturday morning
Vergel - Saturday morning (at the entrance to the Safari Park)
Pedreguer - Sunday morning

Formula 1 Racing comes to Valencia for the next 7 years commencing 2008. The track mirrors that of Monaco where part of the circuit follows the line of the sea and the harbour.  Watch a video

The 33rd Americas Cup will again be played out in Valencia - up to date information will be uploaded onto the official web site soon but initially click onto the Americas Cup blog for more information

The Moto GP Grand Prix Valencia is held every year at the Ricardo Tormo Stadium.

ON-LINE ENGLISH SPEAKING NEWSPAPERS

Find out whats happening in the area

Costa Blanca News

Inland Trader

Think Spain

Valencia Trader

Local Radio covering the Gandia area

Install onto your pc http://www.coastfmlive.com for good music and whats happening in the area around the Costa del Azahar and the Costa Blanca.


Eating Out

Eating out- The Viva Espana Restaurant is on the N332 between Oliva & Gandia where you can celebrate your holiday - the meals are reasonable (we recommend Paella) and there is an authentic floorshow at weekends. Call in and make a booking.

Most towns offer a Menu del Dia (lunch time only) 3/4 courses and a drink for anything up to 15€. There are a number of Chinese Restaurants in Gandia, one on the main paseo offers a buffet for 8€ plus drinks.

If you would like to dine locally there is "Bar Palma" just round the corner from Casa Ana and a 15 minute stroll brings you to "Aventura" where Moma makes delicious home made food. We recommend the huge square pizza - they are delicious. 

Paella usually has to be ordered the day before. Fidua is a dish which is almost exactly like paella except rice is substituted with pasta. Fidua originated (so they say) in Gandia when some fishermen went out to sea and forgot the rice. So being adaptable they used pasta or angel hair instead - and so Fidua was born ! Each town has their own version of a paella and they will assure you that theirs is the most authentic. Whatever version you choose - enjoy !

Oli Ba Ba on Oliva Beach is a favourite for pizza and has a fantastic view of the sea.

Guests who have visited us before have left ideas of where to eat too.


Further reading about Spain and its People

Winter in Madrid by C J Sansom

The Shadow of the Wind: A Novel by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Angel's Game also by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (released June 2009)

Iberia Vols 1 & 2 by James A Michener

Shooting Caterpillars in Spain: Two Innocents Abroad in Andalucia
By Alex Browning

Untouched by Time (A Biography of an Andalusian Village)
by Albert Rowe (A story about a couple settling into Andalusian life in the 60s)

Or I’ll Dress you in Mourning (The Extraordinary story of El Cordobes)
By Larry Collins & Dominique Lapierre

The New Spaniards by John Hooper
by Derek Lambert

Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through Spain and Its Silent Past by Giles Tremlett

It's Not About the Tapas By Polly Evans

Simple Etiquette in Spain ("Simple etiquette" series)
By Victoria McGuiness

As I walked out one Midsummer Morning  by Laurie Lee

A moment of War by Laurie Lee

Spanish Lessons: How One Family Found Their Place in the Sun

A Shadow of Treason
A Whisper of Freedom
A Valley of Betrayal
- all by by Tricia Goyer

Spain: The Root and the Flower: An Interpretation of Spain and the Spanish People -John A Crow

Andalus - Guerra & Sacred Sierra - all 3 books by Jason Webster


Valencia Oranges

Oranges from Palma de Gandia are sent to England via train on the Eddie Stobart train. "Valencia" is a variety or orange and may not necessarily come from Valencia!!


The Rice Fields of Albufera - Anyone for a Curry?

As you drive down the short stretch of dual carriageway that joins Valencia to the beaches at El Saler during late May or early June you soon become aware of what looks like a vast, vivid green cricket pitch badly in need of a trim. These are the rice paddies of the Albufera, one of the largest in Spain and part of an area that was, in Roman times, the most productive agricultural region in the whole of the then known world.   The smell at this time of year is definitely "rice pudding".

Take a ride on one of the barcas, the long wooden boats that work the lake, with their bright umbrellas keeping off the heat of the sun, and you get a close-up view of the dense reed 'islands', known locally as matas. There are six of these isletas, where herons stride regally, and above you. you'll see cattle egrets, little crested pochards, mallards and wigeon, a few of the 250 species that visit the Albufera, ninety of which use it as a nesting ground. 
 
The boatman will point out the towns surrounding the lake, way off in the distance - Valencia, Alfafara, Silla, Benifaió - shimmering on the edge of the twenty-five square kilometre expanse of water, but the density of deep green that ripples by the bow disguises the fact that, should you step over the side in most parts of the lake it would barely come up to your neck.
 
The great lake of the Albufera was formed over millennia as sediment from the rivers Júcar and Turia was deposited to form a barrier across the Gulf of Valencia, creating a 30-kilometre beach from Valencia to Cullera. This sandbar effectively acted as a filter to stop seawater encroaching into the freshwater lake; high tides would be gathered into great saltwater pools that would dry out with the heat of the sun and provide, in later years, a subsidiary business of salt collection. 
 
The lagoon, one of the biggest in the Mediterranean, receives about eight times more water each year than it can accommodate without flooding the surrounding area and these days great sluice gates control the flow of water out to the sea, without saltwater flowing in the reverse direction.
 
The Romans first colonised the Albufera but it was with the introduction of arroz (rice) by the Arabs in the 15th century that led to great swathes of the lake being drained for agricultural purposes. The rice growers didn't have a healthy - or long - life. Due to the infectious diseases inherent in growing the crop few lived to their 60th birthday and illness and death led to the depopulation of the area, not helped by a series of prohibitions on growing the crop. 
 
Most of the agricultural workers were Moriscos, Moors who had converted to Christianity at the time of Jaime I, and they were responsible for the design of the high-peaked cottages, barracas, with their steeply-sloping roof thatched with two layers of densely-packed reeds from the matas, and their low side walls, supposedly because no-one slept in beds in those days, they all slept on the floor. 
 
The oldest barraca in the Albufera is only 150 years old, but they still follow the original lines, including the small cross at the apex of the roof that the Moors used to declare that it was a Christian house - although what they felt in their hearts was their business.
 
As the lake was reclaimed for rice production the fishing diminished, although it is still an important part of the commercial life of the Albufera. Historically only the eldest son of each family registered with the fisherman's association of El Palmar could fish the waters of the lagoon but this law is no longer strictly adhered to - even women fish these days! But there is still the annual sortido, a draw where the fishermen get to choose their pitch depending on their lucky number - a sort of fishy bingo. 
 
Perch, grey mullet and bass are the main catch, but the pearl of the lagoon is the anguilla, the fresh-water eel, found in every local restaurant as all i pebre a rich stew where a paste of almonds, garlic, saffron and parsley are blended into the stock in which the eel is cooked. 
 
Just south of Oliva is the town of Pego and it was here there were also vast rice growing areas but now almost fully overgrown. High up on the hillside looking down, you can still see the lagoon.
  


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