miércoles, 26 de junio de 2013

A visit to Valencia Huerta, Fertile Land Surroundings, paella festival

To get across the fertile land and vegetable patchs north of Valencia, huerta, is a pure delight for the senses as we got experience recently leading as a Tourist guide the Vera group.
This land, known as Cabanyal, is located close to the well known Poltyechnical University, and can be designed as our "garden of Valencia" at a threw of stone, That's the title of a recent TV program, where the news reader described this landscape as one of the most fertile soils in the world, with an irrigation system that keeps going on since its beginning in medieval times and some farmhouses known as “alquerías”, representing at all an example of coexistence between cultures and with nature. As stated by Carl Steinitz, professor of Landscape Architecture at Harvard University, it should be a unique space in the world but also one of the few of its value without a uniform and constant planning management.
                                                            Huerta of Valencia                Typical Barraca
In the eastside, we remark some heritage as the canal or water-ditch of Vera and the Catholic hermitage of Notre Dame of Vera. The group prepared and enjoy a full taste traditional paella in one of the farmhouses, the Carmen House.
 Carmen Farmhouse                            Vera Eremitory

Besides is located The Mariluz Farm, next to ours, where it is offered affordable menus for visitors, with the opportunity to share a landscape that scholars and students compare with that of France. Also in the garden of Alboraya can on pick up those vegetables that enter in the paella receipt and the valencian salad and enjoy in their own place the local production, as tasting a traditional “horchata” drink .

In the neighboring Cabanyal district, we can mention, the French botanist and adventure Felix Robillard, which led to the first integration between landscape and agricultural industry, an industry related also with flowers, herbs and perfume. Crossing the “Cabanyal”, at the half of the nineteenth century was a sort of adventure because of its vegetation that looked like a swamp, whose barriers were saved by boat. The area was a marsh. This happened until the Frenchman Felix Robillard bought 361,526 meters square of land with the idea of ​​rehabilitating the area. The gardener and botanist dried out the ground and used for this purpose several plant species, including large amounts of "geranium odoratissimun" the popular Malvarrosa. Robillard divided his property into three main areas: his house at San Rafael, the essences factory, next to it the area where species were planted for making oils, perfumes, and soap.
his Venture has today a square dedicated to his name where oncce stood the family house with 22 rooms and a garden of 6848 meters, according to the the researcher and writer Antonio Sanchis in his book on “Malvarrosa” . This factory was the first of this essences established in Spain and the first of toilet soaps and perfumery established in Valencia.
Next to the shrine of Vera, we further observe a property known as  Hort dels Misteris. The name “pass” well to the environment since then from childhood we were surprised of that very mistery dense of palm trees vegetation surrounded by a high wall and that farmhouse at the background you could barely imagine all sorts of ghosts or crimes inside. The farmstead is now known as Robillard, residing there several descendants of the French gardener, including a great-grandson. They bought the manor 25 years because it resemble to that of their predecessor. 
                                       Robillard's Manor Entrance
The farmhouse was built by the manufacturer Vicente Tatay Mandingorra. The designer of the garden was his son Francisco Garrido. The Priest, Father Luis Fullana, who had a good relationship with Tatay, wrote in there most of his works about valencian language and celebrated Mass in that chapel that no longer exists.
 Hort dels Misteris con sus palmeras

lunes, 3 de junio de 2013

Valencia Seashore and the Constant Gardener

The tour guides often approach to the harbor of Valencia to teach foreigners about our Gastronmy, Valencian Paella and stories from the past of Valencia. We like to remember them the source of our most popular beach and the person who was responsible of its naming.
Inicio de la pesca en Malvarrosa
Regreso al atardecer

It was a person named Felix Robillard. He came from France and was a reknown botanist who settled in Valencia in mid-nineteenth century and could be called the Constant Gardener, becaus of his constant working on behalf of the city.
This botanist begun its illustrious career at the "Jardin des Plantes" in Paris. He went on to become the head gardener at the “Champs Elysees”. In 1848 he moved to Valencia where he was designate "Gardener" of the local botanical garden. Later settled in present Malvarrosa district. La Malvarrosa was at that time a marshy land that Robillard patiently dried in order to plant several aromatic herbs. He devoted his time to cataloging our Mediterranean plants, more than 60,000 plant species and the modernization of agriculture in Valencia.
 In industry he specialized in the cultivation of a variety of geranium, "Pelargonium capitatum", a plant native of Green Cape at South Africa, commonly known as “malvarosa”". 
Mata de malvarrosas
Flor de la malvarrosa

The seedling will later name this popular waterfront district. Robillard pressed this flowers to achieve their oils and essences in a modern perfumes production plant. These essences were presented at the London Exhibition of 1862 and that of Paris in 1867, gaining an international recognition.
It was the most illustrious son of this former fishermen village, with the famous local writer Vicente Blasco Ibanez, who had his residence beside the beach in the early twentieth century.
Balneario de las Arenas, comienzos siglo XX
Jóvenes años 20 disfrutando del balneario

By that time Malvarrosa beach became a major social center and meeting point of Valencian society, famous for its spas and thermal waters imitated from France.
Currently the main spas resort was transformed into a luxury hotel and the beach was improved with its wide promenade also extended by the recent "The Patacona Beach".
Actual Paseo de la Playa de la Malvarrosa, homenaje a la pesca tradicional

To remember is to recreate the passed time.