Miami Beach…in the Winter

(Pelican over the Atlantic Ocean, photo property of FBC, All Rights Reserved)

Miami Beach is an island on the other side of Biscayne Bay from the City of Miami…it is a barrier island with approximately 90.000 residents. Of course, during the high tourist season the number of people in Miami Beach rises to a couple of million, at least…

There is no such thing as a winter in South Florida…

And the sun sets over Miami Beach. Photo property of FBC, All Rights Reserved

INSTAGRAM: @ Francisco_Bravo_Cabrera

JaZzArt en Valencia: http://www.ArtPal.com/rfbravo1155

Piano Jazz by my group AJA: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/aja

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Purple and Fast…

Purple and Fast!

(Photo by FBC, All Rights Reserved, Derechos Reservados, C.2019)

Travelling in style while I visited Cuba…

(All photographs and artwork are property of FBC and cannot be reproduced without written consent. Protected under copyright laws, C.2019 USA Derechos Reservados)

City of Arts and Sciences, València…

The complex was created by architects Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela. They worked together with the engineers who designed the structural covers of L’Oceanografic, (the aquarium), Alberto Domingo and Carlos Lázaro. It was inagurated on the 9th of June of 1998 together with the opening of El Hemisférico. The last of the components was the Ágora, which is located between the bridge called l’Assut de l’Or y and l’Oceanogràfic.

The entire complex was built at the end of what once was the River Turia. The entire river was transformed into one of the largest urban parks in Europe. It extends close to seven kilometres and contains beautiful trees, plants, flowers, gardens, bike paths, fountains, football fields, bars, cafes, restaurants and it is the most magnificent place to rest, stroll or exercise in the city.​

The City of Arts and Sciences, received 2,8 million visitors in 2018. The buildings are:

L’Hemisfèric

Shaped like a human eye. Contains an IMAX cinema, a planetarium with laser show. Its surface is approximately 13.000 m².

Museo de las Ciencias Príncipe Felipe

Sort of resembles the skeleton of a whale…It is an interactive science museum. Occupies approximately 40.000 m².

L’Umbracle

A garden area with a walkway for strolling and resting containing plants that are autocthonous to the Comunidad Valenciana. It is covered with floating arches from where one can see the entire area of the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias. It also contains an open air art gallery of sculptures, El Paseo de las Esculturas, which includes sculptures from such contemporary artists as Miquel Navarro, Francesc Abad and Yoko Ono among others.

El Oceanográfico

This is the aquarium, which is the largest in Europe with 110.000 sq. metres and 42 million litres of water. The top, in the form of a water lilly is the work of architect Adrián Peláez Coronado, a native of Valencia. The design of the same was the work of structural engineers Alberto Domingo and  Carlos Lázaro. The principal ecosystems of the world are represented: Mediterranean, Tropical Seas, Antarctic Ocean, Arctic Ocean, Islands and the Red Sea. There is a submarine restaurant whose covers were designed by Félix Candela.

Palacio de las Artes Reina Sofía

Contains four large salons: Principal, Magistral, Anfitheatre and Small Theatre. Also an Expositions room. This theatre space is dedicated to Music and the Scenic Arts, Theatre.

El Puente de l’Assut de l’Or

Communicates the southern route with Menorca Street and its pylon, reaching 125 metros in height, is the highest point in the city.

El Ágora

A covered space dedicated to the presentation of concerts and sporting events, like the new grand prix of tennis of the Comunitat de Valencia. From 2020 on it will be the home of the CaixaForum València.​

Certainly a major attraction and a must see…

If you have liked what you have seen and read, please hit that like button, follow and share. It is greatly appreciated. And comments are always encouraged and greatly welcome. For more of my artwork, please follow my Instagram @Francisco_Bravo_Cabrera and my online galleries at http://www.ArtPal.com/rfbravo1155

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Parade! On Valencia Day!

Yesterday was the “Diada de Valencia”, October 9, the “Day of Valencia” celebrated in all of the Comunitat Valenciana. There was a beautiful parade that crossed through a large part of the city. I wanted to share some of the images that I consider the highlights of the parade. By the by, the costumes were extraordinarily beautiful and the marching bands were superb. All in all it was a great show for the whole family. As far as I could see, everything was celebrated in peace and tranquility. There were a few protesters that tried to politicise the event but there was plenty of police afoot and the day ended in peace.

On the 9th of October, King James I liberated Valencia from the Moors. That is the reason why there is such Moorish influence in the parade. They have tried to symbolically include the different Moorish people that once populated Valencia and their Kingdoms. Balansyia, as the Muslims called Valencia, was lost to the Moors in 1238. The period of Muslim rule was from 711 to 1238.

The Moors were very tolerant to the locals. In Balansiya there was religious freedom for all, as well as hereditary privileges. These rights were not removed from the Christians of Valencia. Little by little, over the centuries, everyone dissolved into the Moorish population.

However, Balansiya prospered and blossomed. The Moors installed in Valencia very good irrigation systems and eventually turned the dry terrains of Spain into green lands and beautiful gardens. Actually, there is a neighbourhood in Valencia called Russafa (Ruzafa in Castilian) whose name means “garden” in Arabic. It was one of the areas that greatly benefited from the irrigation system which the Moors installed.

I mention this to clarify that although on the 9th of October the celebration is all about the re-conquest of Valencia, there is no animosity or ill will towards Muslims or Moors. The Comunitat Valenciana is proud of its heritage and recognises all aspects of her history and represents them in such spectacles as the parade on the Diada.

This is one of the many feast days and celebrations of Valencia that a visitor would greatly enjoy.

Coat of arms of Valencia
Coat of Arms of Valencia
(By Heralder, Elements by Xinese-v)

If you have liked what you have seen and read, please hit that like button, follow and share and comments are always more than welcome, they are encouraged. If you would like to see more of my artwork, please follow me on Instagram @Francisco_Bravo-Cabrera and online at http://www.ArtPal.com/rfbravo1155

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My Valencia…

Francesc de Vinatea, (Morella, 1273 – Valencia, 1333) was a lawyer in Valencia, whose father was in the service of King James I. He defied King Alfonso IV of Aragon who pretended to put his son in the throne of Valencia and said these words to the monarch which made an authoritarian monarchy impossible:

Cada uno de nos somos tanto como vos, pero todos juntos mucho más que vos. (Each one of us is as much as you but all of us together are much more than you)…

Today marks the day, 09 October, when King James I liberated the city from the Moors. It is the Day of the Comunitat Valenciana, our feast day and also the day of Saint Dionysus, which makes it also our day of love and friendship. Similar to Valentine’ Day in the United States.

The city was celebrating…

The most beautiful thing is that in this great city of ours, people love to be outdoors, to eat, to drink, to have a good time but keeping in mind the need to respect one and all. Valencia is a cosmopolitan city. Of course, not in the same degree as Barcelona but then again, we do not have the problems that seem to be plaguing BCN. For that we are all very happy…

The Torres de Serranos or Puerta de Serranos (Towers of Serranos) is the remaining part of the Medieval wall that surrounded the city of Valencia in those years. Presently it stands as a historic reminder of our past and a beautiful landmark it is.

All in all, it was a lovely day and a very happy day for our city and for our Autonomous Community.

Resultado de imagen de senyera valencia
Senyera de Valencia (our flag)

Thank you. If you have liked what you have read and seen, please like, share and follow, and of course, comments are encouraged and greatly welcome!

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SEVILLA! The Heart of Andalucia!

Sevilla is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalucia. Some may say it is the third city in Spain in population. I believe it is Valencia but it’s not important, it’s a great city with lots of history, culture and great food. And of course, Sevilla is a very artistic city. You will find many galleries, artists studios, exhibitions, expos, book fairs, art fairs and above it all, like a smiling Buddha, is Flamenco. If you love Flamenco, Sevilla offers some great performers that specialise and perform all the diverse rhythms and styles of that ancient musical form.

Por Bulerias, Bailaora Flamenca

The city is on the shores of the Guadalquivir River. This river, whose basin is in the Cazorla Sierra, extends 657 kilometers and ends in the Golf of Cadiz on the Atlantic Ocean.

Mapa de Río Guadalquivir

Sevilla is modern and ancient. From Sevilla, five hundred years ago, sailed Magallanes en route to circumnavigate the earth. From the top of the Giralda, the bell tower of the Cathedral of Sevilla, you can see how the city extends and the many swimming pools to keep away the heat of the Andalusian summers!

We arrived by fast train, the AVE from Valencia. It was a very pleasant four hour train ride crossing through La Mancha, (the plains where Don Quijote rode and fought the windmills), then into Cordova and down to Sevilla.

There was something special about being in Sevilla. I could feel it. From the big, modern train station, Santa Justa, to the energy you feel as soon as you step outside to wait for your Uber. The streets were glimmering in the midday sun when we arrived and the heat was just getting started. It was the end of June. (A quick note: Uber works very well in Sevilla I should say, we used them several times in the city and we were well pleased)

The center of Sevilla is very close to the train station but it takes a while to get there as you have to maneuver through very narrow streets, most of them one way and traffic is always heavy in that part of town. Also, Sevilla has one of the largest historical districts in Spain, so the Old City is pretty huge.

We stayed at the Alameda de Hercules, in the Old City. Not directly in what is considered the center but just a short walk away. This area of the Alameda does not seem like much during the day but it really becomes an interesting place after six in the afternoon and long into the night, when all the tapas bars are open. There are restaurants, jazz bars, sushi restaurants and lots and lots of people about. There are also art exhibitions, book stores and several galleries in and around the plaza. You will encounter street musicians playing anything from opera to flamenco jazz. Of course, at both ends of the Alameda are the pillars of Hercules.

Resultado de imagen de sevilla alameda de hercules

We found walking around the city to be quite easy and pleasant, in spite of the heat. Actually, if you went out early, say around 0900 hours, the weather was quite pleasant. The heat really began to set in after 1500 hours.

Close by to the Alameda is the Macarena district with many restaurants, bars and book stores, yes! In Spain we still read lots and lots of books. There are many poetry readings which are quite common and very popular with everybody, in Sevilla, Valencia and all of Spain. In the Macarena district I suggest you visit the Basilica de Santa Maria de la Esperanza Macarena, (Saint Mary of Hope Macarena). The Basilica houses a much venerated image of Our Lady of Hope, commonly called La Macarena.

Continuing a route south and east, we can walk to the Guadalquivir River. This wide and deep river runs southeast opening to the Atlantic Ocean in the city of Cadiz. There is a very nice riverwalk promenade where you can stroll, get some fresh cool air or just sit and read a book.

On the other side of the river is Triana. It is a very nice neighbourhood of Sevilla with many tablaos (Flamenco bars), many nice restaurants, on the river and on Calle Betis, which borders the Guadalquivir. Triana also has a very nice market, el Mercado de Triana. You can find it just as you cross the Puente de Isabel II from the Sevilla side.

Triana Market on the “other” side of the Guadalquivir in the Triana neighbourhood

And of course, on the river you cannot miss the Torre de Oro, the Gold Tower.

Torre de Oro, River Boat and watersports on the Guadalquivir

I truly recommend a few days stay in Sevilla. The people are genuine and lovely. They have that southern, Andalusian charm and even their accent is friendly and pleasant to the ear. The old city is full of tapas bars, restaurants and lots and lots of shops. Most of the places feature outdoor eating and even in Sevilla’s summer heat, it is a wonderful experience. And don’t worry, these places outside are made to take advantage of the breeze and they all have mists to cool you off.

There’s the Cathedral, one of the largest in the world.

Then the Real Alcazar, which still functions as a Royal Palace.

Finally, Sevilla has magic, especially at night. The little stone streets, the old houses, the medieval architecture housing modern tapas bars and restaurants. You have to experience Sevilla.

If you like my work, please hit that like button, share and follow. I write about many things but basically, I am an artist living and working in Valencia, my home. My artwork can be seen in Instagram @Francisco_Bravo_Cabrera and Twitter, @Euskadi_Bakero and my 2019 new work, called “JaZzArt en Valencia” is at http://www.ArtPal.com/rfbravo1155

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From My Blood-Red Orange, Valencia: The Invisible

Although I live in a city where not too many homeless people roam the streets or sleep on the beaches, church plazas and parks, we still have our share of those who do live under the naked sky. The homeless condition is, of course, global. In Europe it is growing. I don’t think governments exert much efforts to reintegrate these often maligned unfortunates back into the work force or try to find ways to turn them into productive members of their communities. So the homeless do what they can. They know that surviving on the streets is a matter of luck. It’s a Russian roulette they must spin every day as many dangers abound. Yet, if we should even take the time to notice them, it’s only for a few minutes and then we forget them.

They are invisible to almost everybody. Hardly anyone notices…or gives a second thought to…these people. But they are also part of our society. And a part of you, for we all share the same DNA. You see them when you are about to enter a church. You cannot ignore them for they are right in front of your path. Your eyes meet and you feel a certain strange sensation. Is it pity? Perhaps that drives you to reach into your pocket or purse and give the homeless beggar your change. And you wonder, have I done enough? You comfort yourself inside and thank God for your family, for yourself.

As you walk through the busy streets downtown you focus on your problems, your plans for the day and on the million things that you have to do. You try to ignore those who are living on the very sidewalks you’re walking on. And you know they are there. The homeless crowd the corners of your eyes. You finally take a look and wonder who these people were at another time in their lives. Where they always so poor? Did they loose everything? Why are they here? Why did they pick this corner, or that alley? It’s an uncomfortable feeling because that leads to wondering if that guy or that old lady could be me one day? Then you quickly push the thought aside and focus again on everything else that’s really important to you.

These pictures are from Valencia, Spain, where I live. I don’t believe these people are invisible. I think that although most of these homeless people that live in our streets are foreigners, they arrived in Europe with hopes and dreams. Yet something happened. I don’t know their stories but I plan at least, to document their existence in pictures. This is the first of a series.

If you like this topic, or others like the ones I write…and illustrate…about, please like, follow and share. And of course, please leave a comment. If you find this issue important, I do too, let us start a discussion on such social issues of pertinence.

I am an artist living and working in Valencia, Spain. If you would like to get to know my artwork better, (paintings and drawings), please go to my Instagram @Francisco_Bravo_Cabrera and to see my new 2019 collection titled “JaZzArt en Valencia” you can visit…browse only, no need to purchase…my online galleries at http://www.ArtPal.com/rfbravo1155

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Towns of the Aegean: Dogs of the Streets

A street scene in Ilica, Turkey

As I have mentioned in my other articles, I am travelling through the Aegean region of Turkey and visiting some of the nearby Greek islands. However, presently I am in a beautiful little town called Ilica on the Chesme peninsula, not too far from the important city of Izmir. Ilica’s a little town that grows to immense proportions during the summer season as thousands of tourists…mostly Turkish from Izmir and Istanbul…flock to this tropical paradise in the mid-Aegean region.

Of course, for in Ilica there are very nice sandy beaches and the waters of the sea here, is incredible. Cool, clean, crystal clear, inviting and refreshing. It is no wonder why thousands rush over every year to spend…if you are lucky and have the vacation time available…from June to September.

However, I have been noticing a rather disturbing situation that has been getting more and more noticeable within the last six to seven years that I have been coming here. It is the amount of stray dogs that roam the streets at will. They lie where they please and sleep where they please and do everything else wherever they please. In truth, they act like the town is theirs and we are all just passing migratory birds, here for the summer then off to our colder climes.

I find this situation disturbing, for although people here tell me that the dogs have been looked at by the local veterinarian and have received their shots, I am still weary of packs of dogs roaming the town as if they owned it. They go into the water and scare the little children. And I say, these are not cuddly little pooches, they are all big dogs. I think they are a mix of Labrador with Anatolian Hound, judging by their size.

In any event, I just wanted to put this out there. Maybe someone will mention this to the authorities so that they can begin to pick up these animals and take them to a safe place out in the country. Around Ilica there are many ranch type properties with plenty of space for these dogs to wonder and live happy lives. Anyways, since I have never encountered such a situation, I just wanted to express this curious detail of another wise beautiful little town, Ilica.

Thank you for your attention and if you liked what you read, please like and share and follow. Comments are encouraged and welcome. Let’s discuss things like these.

I am an artist from Valencia, Spain and if you would like to see my paintings and drawings, please go to Instagram @Francisco_Bravo_Cabrera

And to see my online JaZzArt en Valencia galleries, visit…it’s free…here: http://www.ArtPal.com/rfbravo1155

The “big” beach in Ilica and the dogs

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