A bike trip from Valencia to Paterna - We've mentioned several times how incredible the city of Valencia is for those enjoy biking. The city and its surrounding areas are nearly flat, with over 100 kilometers of dedicated paths, as well as the Turia Riverbed Park which spans Valencia from east to west.
One of the strangest periods in our life was the 2020 lockdown in Spain, during which residents weren't even allowed to leave their homes except for grocery shopping. For weeks, we stayed indoors -- hanging out on Zoom with friends and family, watching loads of TV series and movies, and playing board games.
The hard Spanish lockdown of 2020, when residents weren't allowed to leave their houses except for grocery shopping, was not something I'd like to repeat any time soon. But it was an interesting time in our lives -- Mike and I are accustomed to floating all over the world, and so being confined to our apartment was a novel experience.
Moixent is found in the southwestern corner of the Valencian province, but still within the border -- at this time in the early summer of 2020, we still wouldn't have been allowed to cross over into Alicante. The Cercanías trains are slow-moving with a lot of stops, and it took over 90 minutes to reach our destination, but we didn't mind.
First sign of Fallas - A visit to the Ninot Exhibition 2022. Fallas is back on track. After the strange, stunted celebrations of 2021, the city is trying to return the festival to its normal routine -- and one of the first items on the agenda is the annual Ninot Exhibition. Last year, it was held in an empty building at the America's Cup port, but the exhibit has now returned to the Ciudad de Artes y Ciencas, where it belongs. If you go, remember to pack your camera, your patience, and maybe some caffeine tablets... as always, there is a lot to see, and it's going to take you awhile, even if you're moving swiftly.
For the first time in its 36-year history, the Goya Awards were held in Valencia. The Goyas are the Spanish version of the Oscars, celebrating cinematic excellence, and just like the Hollywood event, has become a showcase for glamour and fashion. 2021 marked the centennial birthday of Luis García Berlanga -- widely recognized as one of the greatest ever Spanish directors. In his honor, the Goyas were relocated to Valencia, the city of his birth. The Palacio de Las Artes Reina Sofía served as a stunning venue for the award show.
It's hard to believe that it's almost time for Fallas 2022! We can still smell the smoke from the last edition of the festival (there might still be gunpowder particles in our noses). Fallas 2021 really wasn't all that long ago -- because of the pandemic, it was celebrated in September instead of March.
Formula 1's presence in Valencia was short-lived, but we have clear memories of it. We were living in Ruzafa at the time, quite far removed from the racetrack at the harbor, but we still couldn't escape the thundering sound of the cars tearing down the pavement.
We had booked a vacation rental in the village of Polop, located in the mountains of Alicante... so how did we end up spending the weekend in nearby Finestrat?
Finally visiting Benimantell and Guadalest - It's hard to believe that we had lived for twelve years in the Valencian Community, without ever having explored the mountain range behind Benidorm, in the province of Alicante.