Did I Find Evidence that the Mona Lisa is a Man?

OK, my previous post on Valencia’s Holy Grail may have left Dan Brown fans a little down in the dumps. So in the interest of bringing a little speculative mystery to our far too mundane lives, I thought that I should mention that while I was exploring the Cathedral of Valencia, I may have stumbled upon a bit of evidence to support the theory that the Mona Lisa was a man.

What?!!! Ok, maybe not everyone is hip to this theory, so I should probably explain a bit.

There is quite compelling evidence to suggest that Leonardo da Vinci was gay. First and foremost, historical records tell us he and three acquaintences were arrested and charged with sodomy with a male prostitute. Charges are thought to have been dropped because one of the other men was related to the Medici family. As if that weren’t suggestive enough, Leonardo had no documented romantic relationships with women and he lived with two men, Salai and Melzi. There are some surviving erotic Continue…

Valencia’s Oceanogràfic

If you clicked through our pictorial of Valencia’s futuristic City of Arts and Sciences, then you might have noticed a shot of the Oceanogràfic, Europe’s largest aquarium complex. The City of Arts and Sciences graciously granted us free entry to the Oceanogràfic so that we could share this attraction with our readers.

The Oceanogràfic is a bit hard to classify as it is really more than just an aquarium but not quite on the same scale as an American-style ocean theme park such as Sea World. The complex includes displays on the world’s main marine eco-systems, including a wonderful example of the kelp forests of California which left me feeling seriously scuba-homesick.

Highlights of the Oceanogràfic include a dolphinarium, a huge beluga exhibit, and two exceptional walk-through aquarium tunnels not to mention Continue…

The Quest for the Holy Grail

Indiana Jones destroyed half of Petra in search of it. Robert Langdon risked the wrath of the Catholic Church nearly losing his life in the process to uncover it. Everyone wants to find the Holy Grail – after all, the Holy Grail is the ultimate Holy Grail.

But come on folks, it really isn’t that hard to find. I didn’t have to destroy a major UNESCO World Heritage Site to find it. And as long as you pay your €4.50 entry fee, the Catholic Church shouldn’t try to kill you. In fact, they’ll even provide you with an audio tour.

Yes, the Cathedral of Valencia houses what is generally considered the ultimate contender for the label of “the real Holy Grail.” Continue…

Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences

Walking across Valencia is like a short course in the history of Spanish architectural experimentation: Roman pillars, Muslim gates, Gothic cathedrals, Renaissance squares, Modernista markets… and then BAM!!!… you come face to face with the city’s space-age City of Arts and Sciences complex. This is when you realize, this ain’t your typical European city.

Designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela, the AMAZING complex is obviously the number one reason to visit Valencia. The entire project oozes a vibe of vintage futurism that proves that the Spanish have some serious architectural cajones. The gutsy, soaring roof of the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia appears to be floating midair. The eyeball design of the bizarrely compelling Hemisfèric, the city’s IMAX theater, just may be the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. The glass “eyelids” even Continue…

Valencia: Spain’s Forgotten City

We had about ten minutes to rest up after Paris and Istanbul before we were off to Valencia, Spain. Thomas had the opportunity to work here for a month including a free apartment downtown (can’t pass that up). Initially, because I knew little about Valencia, I found myself wishing the opportunity had been in a more dynamic city such as Barcelona.

Man, was I wrong! Not-so-little Valencia has some serious surprises up its metaphorical urban sleeve Continue…

Istanbul Protests

Anyone who is watching the news right now has certainly noticed that Istanbul is currently being affected by a series of escalating, increasingly dangerous protests. What started as a simple environmental campaign over a redevelopment project in Taksim has morphed into a series of violent conflicts with the Erdogan-led government.

Some are suggesting this could be the beginning of Turkey’s version of Tahrir Square, although I find such comparisons awkward as Egypt and Turkey are vastly different countries with entirely different cultures. However, these protests do mean that Istanbul is currently going through a period of unpredictable unrest that is affecting many of the places we recently described in our posts. Ironically, the hotspots are just steps away from where we were staying. You can read more about the situation at the links below:

TIME Magazine