Category Archive for Spain

Hip Valencia, Spain! Santiago Calatrava City of Arts & Sciences, Michelin restaurants, futuristic architecture.

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Valencia tends to be overlooked by travelers to Spain, who tend to visit well-known spots like Barcelona. But as you’ll see in this photo diary, Valencia is a gem of a destination with space-age architecture, Baroque carvings, Michelin-starred restaurants… and for you Goths out there, the city even has a bat as its mascot.

This mega-post will cover it all, along with outfit photos taken in the most Instagrammable locations in the city. (I was delighted to be invited to Valencia by the tourism board last November.)

Outfit details: Robert Cavalli snake sunglasses, Strathberry East / West purse, Fantasmagoria dress with batwing collar. See more with a click below:

Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències

Let’s start by visiting the City of Arts and Sciences, which looks like a scene from The Jetsons. Designed by Spanish architects Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela, Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències was inaugurated in 1998, with additional buildings added to the complex up to 2009.

pentagram goth dress, straps harness pentacle star dresses

My devilish look for the day included a Strathberry crossbody purse, and Satanic dress with a pentagram straps / harness detail.

santiago calatrava L'Umbracle city arts sciences sculpture garden arch

You can easily spend hours exploring the enormous Valencian cultural / architectural complex. The many curving, white modern structures include L’Umbracle — a landscaped garden dome that includes a Walk of the Sculptures.

Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe white modern architecture

Here is Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe — an interactive science museum of science with a roof designed to resemble the skeleton of a whale.

 Palua de les Arts Reina Sofía

Behold, the Palua de les Arts Reina Sofía — an opera house and performing arts center surrounded by water. Many leading musicians have performed within these eaves.

santiago calatrava triangle cone Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias

I let my imagination run wild, as I walked around the City of Arts and Sciences. The geometric, bone-white designs made me feel like I was in a sci-fi movie. These cone simply holds an elevator that leads to the garage!

L'Hemisfèric valencia spain planetarium

The Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències includes L’Hemisfèric, which contains an IMAX Cinema, planetarium and laserium. The building is meant to resemble a giant eye of knowledge.

santiago calatrava spanish spain architecture weird futuristic

I enjoyed walking around Calatrava and Candela’s buildings, and noting how the shapes changed when viewed from different angles.

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There were so many fascinating elements that I couldn’t photograph them all. The City also includes L’Oceanogràfic, an open-air oceanographic park, and a curving white cabled bridge called Assut de l’Or.

valencia spain fashion blogger instagrammable spots walls pentagram satanic dress

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better spot for Instagram and fashion photography. (Strathberry purse, and see more items below):

Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela architecture valencia

I’ve long been a fan of architect Santiago Calatrava, known for his white spaceship-like designs inspired by organic forms. You may recall I saw his Brazil Museum of Tomorrow and World Trade Center subway station in NYC. 

Montolivet Bridge pond city arts sciences

Duck under Montolivet Bridge, and see the glimmering reflections of the water on the concrete curves.

goth satanic dress pentagram cut out design straps

Look for the light in unexpected places… This is a transportation area that turned out to be a great shooting spot.

AQUI ESTAMOS (HERE WE ARE) rabbit bunny sculpture Leiko Ikemura in Valencia, Spain

There are rotating public art exhibitions throughout the City. This rather emo bunny rabbit sculpture is “Aqui Estamos” (Here We Are) by Leiko Ikemura.

architectural design details city arts sciences valencia calatrava

Details, details. Can’t get enough of the architectural creativity, such as the zig-zag stair railing that mirrors the peaks of the roof and windows.

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All photos by Joey Wong — love how he always finds that sliver of light.

viewpoint panoramic view  Ciudad Artes Ciencias

Isn’t the City of Arts and Sciences dazzling? I half-expected a UFO to land here.

opera house valencia spain city arts sciences museums buildings

Don’t miss this eyepopping site if you’re in Valencia. Bring a camera, and enjoy the various events, performances, and museums within it.

one shoulder black dress bat wing goth design

Valencia Tourism also took me on a city tour to see the historic side of the city — which is just as fabulous. The main district is filled with churches, buildings, sculptures, fountains and pavilions that date back centuries.

Saint Mary's Cathedral - Valencia spain church

The star of the show is Valencia Cathedral, also know as Saint Mary’s. Consecrated in 1238, the church is a fine example of Valencian Gothic architecture.

valencia spain famous cathedral interior altar stained glass

The ornate chancel of Valencia Cathedral is decorated with colorful 15th-century paintings.

cathedral of valencia large oldest door arches

Outside, be sure to snap a photo with the oldest door in the city, which is framed by multiple arches.

gold bat valencia city symbol spain

I learned that Valencia’s symbol is the bat — how vampiric! The nocturnal winged creature has perched atop Valencia’s coat of arms since around 1238, when King James of Aragon was fighting the Moors. Legend has it a bat landed on his flag and brought him good fortune, as he won the battle.

bat wings valencia spain symbol animal bats

Look up as you walk around Valencia, and you’ll find the bat mascot everywhere — much like Batman’s beacon in Gotham City.

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The bat element makes Valencia a fitting city for Goths! (Wearing Robert Cavalli oversize designer sunglasses.)

Mercado Central, Valencia exterior central market art nouveau glass

The walking tour continued on to Mercado Central, the major food market of Valencia. Completed in 1928 by Valencian architect Enrique Viedma Vidal, it is a stunning example of Spanish Art Nouveau. 

valencia central market vendors interior booths food

The interior is a feast for the senses. You’ll find every type of vendor along with Iberian hams hanging from posts, and stacks of bright Valencian oranges (which are delicious).

denia red prawns, valencia market seafood gambas rojas

The seafood section is particularly tantalizing. Above are the famous Denia prawns found only in the waters near Valencia, and known as the tastiest and most expensive in the world.

instagrammable valencia spain food market art nouveau building

On this trip, I met Valencian chef Danny Lledo and interviewed him about his quest to serve Denia prawns (gambas rojas de Denia) for the first time in America, at his DC restaurant Xiquet. Read my article about his journey here, in my debut for AFAR Magazine! 

michelin man costume cosplay outfit halloween

I also wrote an article for Fodor’s Travel about how Chef Danny Lledó turned his hometown cuisine into a Michelin star. Read how the chef’s childhood in a fishing town paved his path to winning paella championships and opening Michelin-starred D.C. restaurant, Xiquet.

I was a guest of Valencia’s Mediterranea Gastronoma food festival… and met the Michelin man himself! 

fierro valencia michelin star restaurant food dishes menu

Spain is known for its boundary-pushing culinary scene, and Valencia is home to a number of restaurants starred by the Michelin Guide.

I adored the industrial-style open kitchen and Argentinian-influenced tasting menu at Fierro. At the top: hake fish with seaweed, citrus, and pil pil (a collagen-rich sauce). Below: a creative dish entirely made from parsnips, including picked parsnips that have a spicy touch much like wasabi. The wine pairings were excellent such as Galician-grown whites), and Gran Fondillon dessert wine made from Monastrell. 

la salita michelin starred dining valencia spain top chef appetizers food

I also ate at Michelin-starred La Salita, which had a whopping 16 courses prepared in innovative ways. The amuse bouche plate was beautifully presented: it includes corn tostada, colorless gazpacho, and a chilled caprese bite, decorated to look like flowers and a butterfly.

Each dish came with a story: the focaccia on the right was inspired by the bread brought by soldiers to war, which they softened with olive oil (La Salita uses Lagrima, the finest one). It was served with an eel soup with ikura (salmon roe), green apple, and cilantro — and paired with wines from the Valencian mountain region.

valencia spain historic city tour

At a time when travel experiences are few and far in between, I feel unbelievably lucky to have done a food and culture journalism trip like this in Valencia.

pink classic building valencia espana

After being in North America for two years, it felt like a palate-cleanser to be in a very different country / culture, and see buildings that dated as far back as the Middle Ages.

europe travel put hand in lion mouth statue sculpture

Artistic details like these make me happy. Would you dare to put your hand in the lion’s mouth?

bat sculpture carvings valencia building

Leave it to me to find bats throughout Valencia.

museo ceramica valencia door

And I think this takes the cake for “most epic door.” This is the Palacio del Marques de Dos Aguas, which has now become the González Martí National Museum of Ceramics and Decorative arts.

Valencia ceramics museum, baroque alabaster sculptures door

The Valencian palace / museum’s main entrance is surrounded by Baroque alabaster sculptures.

Palacio del Marques de Dos Aguas valencia spain ornate door carvings

The amount of details in this doorway… phenomenal.

valencia instagram door El Museo Nacional de Ceramica y de las Artes Suntuarias Gonzalez Marti

Museo Nacional de Cerámica y Artes Suntuarias González Martí is dedicated to ceramics (with a focus on Valencian ones), porcelains and other decorative arts such as textiles, costumes, and furniture.

goth little black dress off shoulder vampire bat design

I happened to wear a one-shoulder dress from Fantasmagoria with a batwing design at the collar… how fitting for a day exploring Valencia!

eddie borgo safety chain necklace gold choker large

Details, details. My large gold choker necklace is the Safety Chain by Eddie Borgo. Sunglasses are Robert Cavalli.

valencia gargoyles, stained glass ceiling

Look up to see stately stained glass rotundas… and a gargoyle pleasuring itself!

casual goth travel outfits gothic traveling girl

Some travel outfit inspiration for you. I wore these Anthony Wang platform sneakers and a loose dress so that I could walk around comfortably all day. I dressed it up with fishnets and a leather jacket, and tied my hair with silk scrunchies.

Església de Sant Joan del Mercat church valencia spain

A final Baroque facade: this is Church of the Santos Juanes (Església de Sant Joan del Mercat).

Walkway canopy of L'Umbracle city arts sciences

I hope this story convinces you to add Valencia to your itinerary, if you’re traveling in Spain!

If you liked my outfit of the day, you can find these designs below:

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Dorawyn apocalyptic fashion! Dune x Star Wars film style in Seville, Spain: Plaza de Espana, Real Alcazar, Casa de Pilatos.

dune fashion hooded robe apocalyptic jacket coat

We live in apocalyptic times… and I’m dressed to meet The Collapse head on!

Let me show you more of Seville, Spain’s historic sites –wearing Dorawyn, a conceptual, experimental slow fashion brand that reminds me of the outfits in the Dune movie (which I very much enjoyed).

Located in the south of Spain, Sevilla was the filming location for scenes in Star Wars: Ep 2, Game of Thrones, and Lawrence of Arabia as well.

dorawyn hood jacket avantgarde apocalypse dune clothing

The Arabic architectural elements formed the perfect backdrop to shoot Dorawyn’s “Bunker” Collection. I am wearing her “Keyword” wrap cardigan, which can be tied at the waist and has a hood to protect you from the sun and sandstorms. My Dorawyn “Uprise” black fingerless gloves complete the look.

 Royal Alcázars of Seville architecture visit tickets

This magnificent palace is the Real Alcázar, or Royal Alcázars of Seville, which is one of Sevilla’s most famous sites. The palace was first built for the Christian king Peter of Castile in the 14th century. Above the Patio de las Doncellas (Courtyard of the Maidens), which references a Moorish tale.

real alcazar islamic arches mosaics

The palace was built over the site of a Muslim alcazar, or residential fortress. The Mudéjar architecture retains Arabic elements such as these tiles and rounded arches, and adds Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance influences.

dorawyn dune fashion cosplay costumes movie fashion

The Iberian Real Alcazar was the perfect site to feature fashion by Dorawyn, a Budapest-based label designed by Dóra Tesényi. Her clothing imagines a post-apocalyptic world in which everyone is fighting for survival. However, a tribe of women joins together and carries out a vision of the future that lives in harmony with nature, and makes positive changes.

Real Alcázar game of thrones palace spain sevilla

Real Alcazar may look familiar to you… because it was a shoot location for HBO’s TV series, Game of Thrones. It stands in for the palace of the kingdom of Dorne, run by the Martell family.

dorne gardens seville spain real alcazar palace

I visited Seville in November 2021, so the weather was comfortable. (I encourage you to avoid visiting the Iberian Peninsula in the summer, when temperatures are excruciating and it’s difficult to walk around outside and enjoy the gardens.)

fountain alcazar royal garden

Here are the “Water Gardens of Dorne,” as featured in Game of Thrones. What better place for strolling with royals, and plotting to take down your rivals?

ceiling real alcázar game of thrones spain shooting location

Don’t forget to look up — above is the ceiling of the Hall of Ambassadors.

water gardens of dorne real seville fountain oranges

The famous oranges of Seville frame a fountain. (Photos by Joey Wong.)

game of thrones tour tv show set locations

If you’d like to visit Real Alcazar, be sure to get tickets in advance via their official site. Plan ahead, as bookings may sell out.

dorawyn Conceptual futuristic experimental avant garde slow fashion

I’ve been on a post-apocalyptic, dystopian, cyberpunk kick — and Dorawyn lets me live out my fantasies. Her fashion is made from slow and sustainable methods, such as hand-dying and knitting with recycled cotton. Each piece is handmade and conveys a unique feeling; I haven’t seen styles like these anywhere else.

Plaza de España, Seville star wars location

Onward to the Plaza de España, which turned out to be one of my favorite spots in Seville. You may recognize it as the shoot location for scenes in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002) (it stands in for the City of Theed on the Planet Naboo).

pan devil satanic seville spain horned devil

A close-up on one of the many devilish details. The Spain Square was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929.

spain square seville fountain plaza

In the centre is the Vicente Traver fountain. The water shoots up high, framing the central building of Plaza de Espana and glowing with rainbows.

spain shooting location Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones

Plaza de Espana is designed in a huge half-circle. The buildings are accessible by four bridges over a moat, which represent the ancient kingdoms of Spain.

star wars setting film shoot spain seville plaza corridor

This is a spectacular site for photography (no wonder these corridors are in so many movies). Go during different times of the day, to make the most of the dramatic light and shadow.

plaza de espana arches architecture spain sevilla

Plaza de Espana is a free public space, and has a lively atmosphere with young locals hanging out on the steps.

rent row boat plaza de espana

You can rent a cute blue and white rowboat, and paddle the canal that weaves through the pavilion.

seville free attractions tourism travel plaza

The Plaza de España was designed by Aníbal González, and sits next to Maria Luisa Park. The architecture is a playful, fantastical mix of 1920s Art Deco, Spanish Renaissance Revival, Spanish Baroque Revival and Neo-Mudéjar styles.

free flamenco dancing sevilla spain dancer

When I visited, there were two groups of flamenco dancers performing for free. The singing, stomping, and strums of guitar added to the vivacious atmosphere of Plaza de Espana.

blue white bridge seville spain

Closet up on the ceramic white and blue painted balustrade.

pavilion spain plaza espana seville tourism

And the colorful tiled Provincial Alcoves along the walls of the Plaza de España.

star wars attack clones City of Theed on the Planet Naboo

Access to Plaza de España is free. Hanging out here was one of my favorite experiences in Seville, Spain.

Fundación Casa Ducal de Medinaceli

Finally, a look inside the stunning La Casa de Pilatos (Pilate’s House). This Andalusian palace was built in 1483, and was the permanent residence of the Dukes of Medinaceli.

casa de pilatos tickets entry times hours visit

Casa de Pilatos has one of the largest collections in the world of azulejo (Spanish glazed tiles), arranged in majestic colorful formations.

demobaza dorawyn apocalyptic dune style

Parts of Lawrence of Arabia were filmed in the mansion. I arrived at golden hour, which was ideal for dramatic portraits.

Pilate's House Andalusian palace in Seville

The Casa de Pilatos is small but worth visiting, as it is one of the finest examples of 15th century Andalusian architecture.

casa de pilatos statues architecture art

In addition to the architectural details, you can admire classic paintings, furniture and sculptures.

casa de pilatos garden seville spain

The rear contains two lovely tiled gardens, filled with flowers and manicured in a 16th century style. To visit Pilate’s House, order tickets in advance from Fundación Casa Ducal de Medinaceli’s site.

666 spain graffiti devil door knocker satan

I leave you with a few devilish snaps from Seville. (I have some Satanic news coming up for you soon… stay tuned…)

For more Sevilla travel tips and photos, see my first post featuring Las Setas, the cathedral, and more.