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.
Mike and I first visited Denver in the early 2000s, and we were not impressed -- it seemed to be one of those typical Midwestern cities which empty out right at 5pm, as everyone hops in their cars and returns to their homes in the suburbs. But something changed over the next decade, because when we returned for a short visit in 2010, we were surprised by how much we enjoyed the city. Was it Denver that changed, or was it us?
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.
The few hours we spent in Fanzara were wonderful; street-art spotting is a lot of fun, and there were both huge murals that you couldn't miss, as well as more subtle works of art that almost completely blend in.
I always wanted to see fireworks at Calatrava's City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, imagining how spectacular they must look against the futurist architecture. Turns out, my imagination was spot-on; the fireworks which celebrating the opening of this year's Ninot Exhibition looked just as breathtaking as I had hoped.
The most common depiction of Stockholm is of old brick buildings, cobblestone streets, bridges, and water. Quaint, old-world Nordic realness. And that's definitely true! The city is full of the types of typical images you might associate with the old world (just look at the first set of photos we published, to understand what I mean).