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Happy New Year!
And welcome to this, the first edition of our planned fortnightly thisisvalencia.com newsletters.

Every fortnight or so we will give you the latest news on what's on, what's coming and what's cool in and around this great city.

There is always so much to do in Valencia and the surrounding towns and villages, but, until now, it's just not easy to find out for yourself. We will always try to give you as much notice of things as we can, but remember the Valencians have a saying 'pensat i fet' which literally means 'think and do it'. This goes to everything they do, so that, very often a seemingly huge event will be announced only days before.

That said, we do hope you enjoy this first edition of our newsletter, feel free to email comments or suggestions - and if you know of something everyone should know about in your area the Valencia region - please let us know by clicking here

VELES E VENTS
Valeriola Palace, Fundación Chirivella Soriano is a spectacular 14th century gothic building, now converted into a beautiful Gallery which is currently showing an exhibition entitled Veles e Vents, stunning sailing photographs by graphic artist Nico Martínez, who is graphics manager for the Desafio Español team in the 2007 America's Cup taking place here in the Summer. The exhibition also includes a one third scale model of the yacht 'Bravo España'

VALERIOLA PALACE (CHIRIVELLA SORIANO FOUNDATION)
Valeriola, 13
46001 Valencia
España
Web:
http://www.chirivellasoriano.org
Phone 34 963 381 215
Fax 34 963 381 217

PROCURO-ME
Works by great masters of Brazilian art on show in the city's excellent Modern Art Museum IVAM.

IVAM
VALENCIAN INSTITUTE OF MODERN ART. CENTRE JULIO GONZÁLEZ

Guillem de Castro, 118;
46003 Valencia
España
Web:
http://www.ivam.es
Phone 34 963 863 000
Fax 34 963 921 094

Belmonte, La Danza Hecha Toreo
tells the story of Juan Belmonte, one of the greatest bullfighters in Spanish history. Beginning with his childhood and following the story of his life through the streets of Seville and his rivalry with the world-renowned Joselito to international stardom and his travels to Latin America's glamour and fortune. This show tells not only the story of Belmonte's career but of his personal life; how he never recovered from the death of Joselito in the ring, his friendships and experiences with key characters such as Hemingway and Valle-Inclán and an exciting story of the Spain of the Belle Époque and the golden age of bullfighting.
If you haven't been to a flamenco ballet, now is your chance to see some spectacular dancing.

25-28January
Belmonte, La Danza Hecha Toreo
Compañía Rubén Olmo

Teatre Principal
Barques, 15, València, 46002

book through any of the three links below

The Calendar Girls have a lot to answer for!
In the Uk everybody is stripping for charity.

Now the firemen of Valencia have joined the fray and have published a high quality Calendar for 2007. It is in aid of Ayuda en Accion, a Spanish charity who work at improving the lives of children and their families in 19 countries in South America, Africa and Asia.

The calendar, entitled Bomberos de Valencia is on sale now and if you get down to Valencia in the next couple of days, you can buy a copy (7 euros) direct from the firemen who will even sign their pictures for you! They are currently to be seen by the Metro station at Calle Colón.

When we saw them they were all wearing teeshirts with the web address www.calendariobomberosdevalencia.com - but try as we may we cannot get it to work!

Here's a great opportunity
to sample meats, sausages, cheeses and, more importantly(!) the wines of Utiel and Requena.

It's the XIV Muestra de Embutido Artesano y Calidad de Requena, affectionately know as the 'Pig Fair', as you can see from the poster!

It all takes place over 4 days and nights in the lovely town of Requena from the 08-11 February. 5 euros buys you entry to the fair, a wine glass and an earthenware dish (all stamped with Requena's coat of arms) and a book of tickets that you exchange for platefuls of food and glasses of wine.

There are also concerts and activities throughout the fair but, Pensat i Fet again, no details have yet been published but keep checking their website as the dates get closer, you never know, they might publish some more information.

We do know the times however!

Thursday - the Opening Ceremony 20.00h to 21.00h
Friday, Saturday, Sunday - 10.00h - 21.00h each day

For more information on Requena click here.

Cacao Sampaka
on Conde de Salvatierra, just beside the stunningly restored Mercado Colon (itself a wonderful place to take a coffee or aperitivo and watch the demi-monde pass by) is a temple to all things chocolate. Sampaka exceeds any imagination you might have as regards the humble cocoa bean. (I bet you’d never think of combining curry and chocolate; they do here and the result is disturbingly delicious.)

Cadburys, eat your heart out, because at Cacao Sampaka you can sample sixty-four different flavours, most of them arranged as eight ‘collections’, which you can buy as a collective whole or mix and match to tickle your taste buds. Bewilder your senses with Palma Ham or Modena Vinegar; wines and spirits; fruits and truffles; or the enticingly entitled innovaciones gastronómicas, all wrapped around with richly delicious chocolate made from the best quality cocoa beans available. A gourmet range of chocolate is made from beans from a single plantation, and once the beans are exhausted the flavour ceases to exist, as the producers move on to buy another plantation elsewhere in the world. But these chocolates are ‘designed’ more than simply ‘produced’ and one of the three designers Sampaka use is Feran Adria, whose restaurant, El Bulli, is considered Spain’s best.

If you just simply, simply can’t make up your mind which delicious morsel to sample, then why not try a degustación of either the liquid chocolates (and you really must try the jasmine flavour) or the tongue-teasing variety on offer in the shop, and you can do so in the café at the rear of the shop. But whatever you try, savour it s-l-o-w-l-y.

more on shopping in Valencia

What better way to spend a crisp sunny Sunday than in a park? Valencia has a wealth of wonderful parks, here are just three for you to enjoy.

PARQUE DE CABECERA
At the beginning of the oldTuria river bed, this 35 hectare park has water at its centre. So all the family can enjoy boating, rowing or taking a pedal boat out on its beautiful lake. If you like walking, there are three routes to explore and various play areas to keep any child entertained.

JARDINES DEL TURIA
The Old Rio Turia, after one flood too many in the 1950's was diverted to the huge flood channel that circles Valencia and the City Fathers decided to make the old river bed into a wonderful park which just gets better and better. Apart from the trees and places to relax, the Palau de Musica, The City of Arts and Sciences, and Gulliver Park, the park also offers an incredible array of ways to keep fit including an athletics track & warm-up area, a Baseball-Softball pitch, a Rugby pitch, 7 Soccer pitches, 4 Multi-sports pitches (two with all weather Astro-turf), 1 Cross-biking area, A muscle training and fitness area, Infants play areas, 3 Petanque areas, 2 Roller skating rinks , 1 Skateboarding area, 1 Multi-sports area

JARDINES DEL REAL (VIVEROS)
For centuries they have been a place for Valencians to walk and relax. Its a great place to take the kids too, with its play area, go-karting or the inflatables in the Parque de tráfico. There is also an excellent zoo, a Natural History Museum and a beautiful Museum of Fine Art

More here

Well, that's it for this month!
We do hope you have enjoyed this first edition of the
tivlc.com newsletter.

As we said at the beginning, there is so much to discover in this fantastic city and indeed in all the towns & villages around it. Fiestas? There are over 600, yes, 600 per year in the Community of Valencia alone! The biggest of all, a monster of a fiesta, is Fallas, and that all begins 01 March with the main event taking place between the 15th and 19th. We will, over the next months, keep you posted on this and all the more interesting fiestas around the region. We will also give you as much advance notice of events that interest us, and therefore, hopefully you!
For more information on the city go here, to thisisvalencia.com our main website, where you will find extensive listings for restaurants, bars, clubs, theatre, galleries, museums as well as information on Fallas, reviews of concerts and events, book reviews, columns from Anita Darling and Lolita Devine (of special interest to our women readers) and Gooru (on books and media) and a wealth of other information. Bear with us though, the site is going through a major rebuild at the moment and we are adding more of everyhing - so keep coming back!
Also visit
thisisvalencia.blogspot.com
, which will be updated on a daily basis by no less than five writers and photographers.

And what else? For January, we've got the new Starbucks opening on Gran Via Marques del Turía, The sales - All you shopaholics, get down to Colón, Nuevo Centro, Bonaire or the new Aqua and snap up the bargains, some stores are starting sales earlier but most will be offering up to 50% off from Sunday 07 January.

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JANUARY 05
The Cabalgata Tres Reyes de Magos
Traditionally the 6th of January is a most important day in the Spanish Christmas calendar as this is the day when the presents are given. It all starts at 5pm on the evening of 5 December, when the Three Kings arrive in the harbour of Valencia make their way as part of a huge procession of floats and marching bands (Cabalgata)up through the city to the City Hall (Ayuntamiento). They are greeted by the Mayoress of Valencia, Rita Barberá, and then climb a fireman's staircase to the main balcony to addrss the children. Then they move on into the City Hall, which opens its doors to the public so that the children can visit them and receive a present. It is well worth a visit to Valencia to watch this procession as it is all great fun, take a carrier bag to catch sweets and presents thrown off the floats!

Another tradition for the 6th is to eat Roscón de Reyes, a pastry ring covered in 'jewels' of candied fruit. But beware, some contain a broad bean! If you get one in yours, you buy them next year!

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