One of the best times to visit Valencia, on Spain’s Mediterranean Coast, is February through May.
Valencia’s festivals go above and beyond the definition of celebration. At this writing Valencia has already had 12 official holidays, including New Years, Father’s Day – March 19th, Labor Day – May 1st, Mother’s Day – May 1st, Semana Santa and Holy Week (Easter) and Corpus Christi – June 18th. As well, there are numerous religious holidays and festivals celebrated, that are not holidays. Most, if not all, are wrapped around partying, parades and pyrotechnics. Life is to be enjoyed in this city.
The festival of Las Falles is officially 5 days long. In reality, the city comes to life in late February with parades, day time mascletás, nighttime fireworks, all sorts of music, dance, arts festivals, social gatherings and parties each weekend leading up to the final 5 days of the celebration. The cumination of lighting the Fallas on fire – called La Crema is on the final night, March 19th each year. We have written much about Las Fallas in earlier blogs.
Valencian Institute of Modern Art – IVAM
IVAM is one of our favorite contemporary art museums in the city. Interesting temporary exhibitions are rotated through at the right pace. This year we discovered the art work of Lothar Schreyer (1886-1966), a German artist, writer, editor, stage designer and gallery owner.
There was a fairly large, fairly bizare exhibition by Valencian artist, Guillermo Ros, (1988-) entitled An Exercise in Violence. It was a collection of scenes of destruction infested by stone rats among broken columns and stones.
The artist attaches esoteric meanings to each venue by stating: “Like the rats, the artist, self-exploited and with no disguise, faces the challenge of the context in which he is to exhibit and the material with which he has to work, in an exercise in violence against the architecture of the museum to which the creator – the artwork – will ultimately succumb.”
Valencian Museum of Enlightenment and Modernity (MUVIM)
Another favorite contemporary art museum in Valencia is MUVIM. The museum building itself is a lovely example of Valencia’s contemporary architecture.
We saw alluring architectural photographs by Joaquin Berchez, photographer, architectural historian and professor at the University of Valencia. The subject matter of Berchez’s photos are the architectural buildings in Mexico created by Manuel Tolsá (1757-1816), sculptor and architect, who was educated in Valencia and moved to Mexico in 1791.
But, it was a temporary exhibition by talented Valencian artist Carlos J. Errando (1951-) called Valencia, Imperfect Future, that really caught our imagination.
Carlos Errando, a meticulous and accomplished artist, creates photomontages of fictitious or perhaps possible future places and events. He uses his own photographs and creates compelling artwork. This first piece is the beautiful Banco de Valencia building founded in 1900 and located in Valencia sitting in the Port of Santander, 360 miles (580 kilometers) away.
This second photomontage though has to be our favorite. Benidorm is a seaside resort on Spain’s famed Costa Blanca about 66 miles (106 km) south of Valencia. The backdrop of Benidorm’s cityscape are the famous Erg Chebbi dunes. They are nearly a mile (150 m) high in some places, 14 miles (22 km) long and 3 miles (5 km) wide. The Erg Chebbi dunes are located miles away near the town of Merzouga in Morocco, Africa.
Sala d’Exposicions Junta Municipal de Ciutat Vella
We discovered this new-to-us exhibition space very near Valencia Cathedral in the old town. The featured artist was a charming multidisciplinary artist by the name of Maria Angeles Gómez Fernández. Her show was called “De Tot un Poc” in Catalan which translates to “A Little Bit of Everything”. She is a skilled artist who paints copies of famous artworks. This Austrian village was one of our favorite paintings.
Jardín Botánico de la Universidad de València
The University Botanical Gardens located near Valencia’s Quart Tower are always an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours. As with every garden, the flowers in bloom change from season to season. When we stopped by in early spring, there were dozens of plants in bloom. These two more unusual blooms caught our eye.
The delicate flower on the left is a ‘phragmipedium orchid’ sometimes referred to as the ‘lady slipper orchid’. The multicolored pink, purple and green plant on the right is called Queen’s tears. It is an epiphyte bromeliad native to parts of South America. Epiphytes grow on other plants and get their moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, water or debris around them. They rely on other plants for support but are non-parasitic, meaning they are not nourished by their hosts.
And finally, nearly every time we visit Valencia we plan a visit to the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències, (the CAC) and in english, City of Arts and Sciences. This structure is part of the complex and is called L’Umbracle. It is a sculpture garden with plant species indigenous to Valencia. This structure, like the rest of the CAC, was designed by Santiago Calatrava.
Salud from these Valencianos,
Ted + Julia