Jeff Harris Travels

Archive for March 2009

Bioparc Visit

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On Friday I took the number 5 train to the Nou d’ Octobre area of the city. I wonder what happened on the ninth of October for them to name an neighborhood (or at least a metro station) that. Anyway, the point of the subway ride was to get to the Bioparc, Valencia’s zoo.

Valencia’s zoo is less about cages and more about open space for the animals to roam. Despite this, of course, they are still in captivity. The zoo has two parts, an Madagascar species zone and, the remainder, an area for species from the continent of Africa.

I’m not sure if it was worth the 21€, because I found myself questioning whether I had seen the whole zoo once I got back to where I started. But, according the map and the animal silhouettes on it, I saw all there was to be seen.

Click the link below to view some photos. Video to come next week.

A lemur, I believe

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Written by Jeff

March 28, 2009 at 7:34 am

Posted in Photos, Spain, Valencia

March 19 Fallas Video

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Click here to view this video in HD on Vimeo

Written by Jeff

March 28, 2009 at 6:59 am

Posted in Fallas, Spain, Valencia, Video

St Patrick’s Day Video

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Here’s the video from St. Patrick’s Day 2009, in Dublin

Click here to view the video in HD on Vimeo

Written by Jeff

March 23, 2009 at 1:29 am

Posted in Uncategorized

19 de marzo: What a Day

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Yesterday was a long day, to say the least. It began in the early morning hours, around 1:30 or so with the Nit del Foc, Valenciano for Night of Fire, which was a fireworks display. Then, in the early afternoon there was the last mascletà of the Fallas 2009 celebration. Following the mascletà a few hours later, at 7PM, there was the Cabalgata del fuego, translated as the Cavalcade (Parade) of Fire. A little after midnight nearly all 766 beautiful combustible structures throughout the city went up in flames during the La Cremà. I say nearly all because I believe a couple were done a bit later, around one or later.

Here are some photos from the amazing, fire-filled day. Video to come soon/eventually.

 La Cremà Panorama

Click the link below to continue reading and viewing about the last day of Fallas 2009.

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Written by Jeff

March 20, 2009 at 8:18 pm

Posted in Fallas, Photos, Spain

St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin & Back to “Fallasland”

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Happy belated St. Patrick’s Day from Dublin, Ireland!!! (well actually I’m back in Valencia, but only about fifteen hours removed!)

Yesterday was a long day. Dublin’s parade was a two hour long extravaganza with several bands from the U.S., groups from around the world, and elaborate and colorful floats and flags. I even ended up next to a Dubliner, but I could hardly make out a word he said to me. I made it to the parade route about two and a half hours before show time, but where I was became a crossing zone, so the cops told me and those around me that it would be best to move. After waiting for a while in that location, it was a bit frustrating to have to move somewhere else, already four of five people deep. After the parade concluded it was near stampede as people tried to make there way out, as people just stood blocking the way out. If you don’t like people, a St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin might not be for you.

After the parade I made my way over to the area of the Guinness’ St James’s Gate Brewery. I stopped in a O’Brien’s for lunch (equivalent to a, maybe, a Subway in America, though they had them there too). Then I made my way over to the Guinness Storehouse, where they have a five or so story high tour of what makes Guinness Guinness. I had never tried it before, so I was a bit afraid the tour would be a waste of time if I didn’t wholeheartedly enjoy the free pint at the end of the tour. But I also figured it was something unique to Ireland, as much as the Blarney Stone or St. Patrick, so either way it would be worth it to check it out. And, since it was St. Paddy’s day, bands from the parade performed, there were free samples of Guinness (in addition to the free pint at the Gravity bar, overlooking Dublin) and samples of foods with ingredients including Guinness. I thought it would be a madhouse, but it wasn’t as bad as would be expected for Ireland’s national holiday. But it did seem like a madhouse in the store, when I was purchasing some pint glasses the woman next to me bought 230€ worth of stuff. Crazy woman. She must have been drunk.

I think I wrote Guinness about 4293 times in the above paragraph. Moving on…

So this morning I got up at 4:30 to catch the AirCoach bus to the airport. I nearly missed it since I was waiting at the stop directly in front of the hotel. The stop to get on to go the airport was about a block up the street. I made it though and, as you can see, made it to Madrid and Valencia without a hitch, unlike Saturday. I’m super paranoid about my passport now, so I was checking for it every five minutes. The woman at the RyanAir check in desk remembered me from Saturday. I guess I’m memorable when I run around like a chicken with its head cut off.

So Fallas seems to be in full swing here. Fireworks and firecrackers go off every few minutes. There’s a fireworks display tonight, or should I say tomorrow morning, at 1:30 AM. Maybe I’ll take an hourlong nap and check it out. Dublin drained me.

Tomorrow and early Friday morning is the big day and finale for Fallas. I’ve read that this year’s winning ninot (the structures that will be burnt tomorrow night) is the Nou Campanar falla, which, I’m guessing, is in the Nou Campanar neighborhood. The budget for its creation was 900,000€. Almost one million euros! Just to be burnt to the ground tomorrow night. Loco!

Ok, now for some photos from Dublin.

Click the link below to continue to view photos from Dublin on Saint Patrick’s Day.
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Written by Jeff

March 18, 2009 at 4:28 pm

On the Eve of St. Paddy’s Day

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I made it to Dublin yesterday (Sunday) after missing my flight after misplacing my passport in Madrid on Saturday, before the flight to Dublin. I still do not know when or how I lost it, but somehow it was found. It was an absentminded mistake that hopefully will never happen again. But it was also a miracle that it was found. I probably wouldn’t have been able to make it to Dublin and would have needed to get a new passport and student visa. S*** happens, I guess.

Anyway, I arrived in Dublin on Sunday evening. I went out for a walk to the city center and found a Mexican restaurant for dinner. That was about the extent of my activities for Sunday.

Today, I bought a tour bus pass that allows riders and hop on and hop off to see different sights around Dublin. I checked out St. Stephen’s Green, which is a park near the city center. I also visited Phoenix Park where the largest obelisk in the European Union is located. St. Patrick’s Cathedral was also one of the stops I got off at. It was definitely interesting to see such an old cathedral. Supposedly the author of Gulliver’s Travels is buried there, but I missed anything regarding that.

Tomorrow’s the big day! St. Patrick’s Day!! The parade is at noon. I plan on making it to the Guinness Brewery for the Storehouse tour that I’ve already booked. I’m sure it will be a madhouse!

St Stephen's Green
St. Stephen’s Green

Click the link below to view some photos from today.
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Written by Jeff

March 16, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Mascletà Video

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Here is the video of Wednesday’s mascletà in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. Sorry for the shakiness, it can be a challenge to operate the photo camera and video camera at the same time.

Click here to view the video in HD

On to Dublin today! My flight out of Valencia to Madrid is at 3:35. I should get to Dublin by 9:30 (4:30PM EST) tonight. Posts and photos of Dublin to come soon!

Written by Jeff

March 14, 2009 at 2:50 am