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Moving to Valencia: A guide to the best neighbourhoods to live in

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El Carmen
The Barrio del Carmen lies right in the centre of the city and is part of the Ciutat Vella or Old Town. It’s great if you want to be right in the heart of the action close to lots of bars, cafes and shops. It’s ideal for those who love Spain’s iconic cute narrow streets and historic architecture. This neighbourhood lies within easy walking distance to almost everywhere. The only place that you might want to hop on the tram to is the beach. The only drawback is that this area can get particularly crowded with tourists, especially in summer and during the Las Fallas festival at the end of March. It can also be quite noisy, given the number of late-night bars that can be found down its narrow streets.

La Seu
The oldest part of Valencia, the neighbourhood of La Seu centres around the Cathedral and is also part of the Ciutat Vella. It’s both the religious and political centre of the city and is home to some of its most impressive buildings. Like its neighbour, the barrio del Carmen above, if you live here, you’ll be at the heart of everything and be able to walk to everywhere (except the beach). It can also get quite noisy and crowded however, especially in summer when people sit outside on bar terraces at night.

El Cabanyal
The city’s old fisherman’s district, El Cabanyal was one of the poorest areas of the city until very recently – full of old crumbling apartment buildings and several unsavoury characters. In recent years however it has been getting a facelift – apartments have been renovated, new businesses have opened and younger people have moved in. Now one of the city’s most up-and-coming neighbourhoods, El Cabanyal is ideal for those who want to be just steps from the beach and love traditional old colourful architecture. The only drawback of living here is that you’re quite far from the city centre, so may need to spend quite a bit of time travelling back and forth on the tram.  

El Cabanyal, Valencia. Photo: Lablascovegmenu / Flickr

El Pla del Remei and Gran Vía
El Pla del Remei and Gran Vía are located in the L’Eixample district – the extension of the city and are more modern than the neighbourhoods in the Old Town. El Pla del Remei and Gran Vía comprise Valencia’s main shopping hub and are filled with all the most popular high street stores, fashion boutiques and upscale apartment buildings. They’re centred around the art nouveau Mercat de Colón – a grand historic market that has been fully renovated and is now filled with an array of trendy bars and restaurants.  Bordering the green lung of the city – the Turia Gardens on one side and the Ciutat Vella on the other, they offer one of the best locations in the city. The main drawback is that rental prices are high here and you can get a lot more for your money elsewhere. They are also very busy areas, so you may want to consider somewhere quieter if that’s what you’re after.  

READ ALSO: Living in Spain: Why Valencia is officially the best city in the world for foreign residents

El Botànic
El Botànic lies in the district of Extramurs, to the west of the Ciutat Vella and borders the tranquil Turia Gardens. The area also comprises the city’s leafy Botanical Gardens, of which it’s named after. Live here if you want to be within walking distance to the Old Town and all its bars and restaurants, but also want a more relaxed vibe, surrounded by greenery and nature. The neighbourhood has plenty of its own sights too, including museums, a quaint market place and the Torres de Quart – the twin gothic-style defence towers which once formed part of the city wall.

Ruzafa
Ruzafa lies just south of the Ciutat Vella on the eastern side of the grand main central train station. The city’s coolest barrio, it’s home to hipsters, young people and plenty of interesting bars and restaurants. Its trendy alternative vibe means you’ll find everything from vegetarian and vegan cafes to bars hidden in book shops and antique stores. Attracting young professionals, digital nomads and foreigners, it’s ideal for those who want to experience the city’s alternative nightlife and great restaurants. Because of its hipster status, accommodation prices have risen in Ruzafa a lot over the past five years or so, meaning that bargains are hard to find here anymore.

Ruzafa neighbourhood, Valencia. Photo: Derek Rankine / Flickr

Campanar
Campanar is the name given to the city’s fourth district, comprising Les Tendetes, El Calvari, Sant Pau and the neighbourhood of Campanar itself. Located outside of the city walls and on the other side of the Turia Gardens, Campanar was once a separate village filled with canals, fields and citrus orchards. Today, not much of that survives and most of the district is given over to high rises, shopping malls and wide boulevards. But, hidden in amongst all this you can still find the Old Town of Campanar with its colourful two-story houses, shady plazas and pedestrianised streets. It’s ideal for families and those who want a quieter and more local side to Valencian life, close to greenery – with the Bioparc Zoo on one side and the Turia Gardens on the other.

Benimaclet
One of Valencia’s least-known neighbourhoods, Benimaclet lies to the northeast of the city, close to two of the city’s universities. Because of this, it attracts many students and accommodation prices are a lot cheaper than they are in the more central neighbourhoods. But this is not Benimaclet’s only draw. The area, like Campanar, used to be a separate village, which was later annexed to the city, meaning that it has a more laidback and tranquil vibe. And it still feels like a village too with its proper houses instead of just apartment blocks, charming colourful architecture and attractive squares. It may lie further out than some of the neighbourhoods, but it’s just a quick metro ride into the centre for everything you need.

READ ALSO: Moving to Barcelona: A guide to the best neighbourhoods to live in



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Germany’s flood zones spared severe storms on Saturday

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In the west of the country, the fire brigade reported a quiet night in the flood areas in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine Westphalia.

The situation remains tense, however, with local thunderstorms forecast in some parts of Germany from midday on Sunday — most likely south of the Danube.

Further heavy rain and hail were also possible again, according to the German Weather Service (DWD), which publishes storm warnings.

READ ALSO: WEATHER: German flood zones at risk of further storms

The latest storms came just days after parts of the country were hit by devastating floods after torrential rains that ravaged entire villages and left 180 people dead, hundreds injured and with many still missing.

The flooding also caused damage in Belgium, where 37 people died, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland.



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Prosecutors allege R Kelly had sexual contact with under-age boy

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US prosecutors in R Kelly’s sex trafficking case say he had sexual contact with an under-age boy in addition to girls, and the government wants jurors in his upcoming sex-trafficking trial to hear those claims.

Federal prosecutors aired a wide-ranging raft of additional allegations – but not new charges – against the R&B singer in a court filing on Friday.

Jury selection is due to start August 9th in a New York federal court for Kelly, who denies ever abusing anyone.

The Grammy Award-winning singer is charged with leading what prosecutors call a criminal enterprise of managers, bodyguards and other employees who allegedly helped him to recruit women and girls for sex and pornography and to exercise control over them.

The charges involve six different women and girls, who are not named in court filings.

Now, prosecutors would also like jurors to hear about more than a dozen other people whom the government alleges that Kelly sexually or physically abused, threatened or otherwise mistreated.

Among them, the government says, was a 17-year-old boy and aspiring musician whom Kelly met at a McDonald’s in December 2006 and later invited to his Chicago studio.

According to the prosecutors’ court filing, after asking the boy what he would do to make it in the music business, Kelly propositioned and had sexual contact with him while he was still under-age.

And when Kelly was about to go on trial on child pornography charges in Chicago in 2008, the same youth told the singer he had access to a juror, and Kelly asked him to contact the juror and vouch he was a “good guy”, prosecutors wrote.

The filing does not say whether the youth did so. Kelly was acquitted in that case.

The boy also introduced Kelly to a 16- or 17-year-old male friend, with whom prosecutors say the singer began a sexual relationship several years later.

Kelly also filmed the two youths in sexual encounters with other people, including some of Kelly’s girlfriends, according to the filing.

Prosecutors wrote that the accounts of the boys and others would help show that the actual charges “were not isolated events and were part of a larger pattern”.

The multiplatinum-selling singer, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, is known for work including the 1996 hit I Believe I Can Fly and the cult classic Trapped In The Closet, a multi-part tale of sexual betrayal and intrigue.

Kelly’s private life has drawn scrutiny since the 1990s, and he currently is also facing sex-related charges in Illinois and Minnesota. He has pleaded not guilty.– AP

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Fears mount in western Germany as fresh rain falls

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For some areas, the German Weather Service has forecast heavy showers or storms, bringing between 30 and 40 litres per square metre.

Amid further rainfall on Saturday afternoon, evacuation services to emergency accommodation were offered to communities in Rheinland-Palatinate who had been particularly badly affected by the flooding, German news site Merkur reported.

“The people will have to make the decision themselves,” said Begona Hermann, head of the relief teams in the west German state, explaining that the forecast rainfall was not expected to be as severe as that which devastated parts of Germany last week.  

READ ALSO: German floods death toll hits 180, with 150 still missing

However, even lower levels of rainfall could still be a problem because sewage and drainage systems were not working properly because of the flooding.

Earlier on Saturday, police requested all volunteers working on the clean-up operation in the Ahr area to leave as quickly as possible for their own safety because of the difficult conditions.

This came after the police and the crisis management team asked the public not to travel to Rhineland-Palatinate to help out because there were too many people there.

“The population’s willingness to help continues to be undiminished and overwhelming,” read a Kassel police statement on Saturday. Due to the large number of volunteers who came to help out, however, roads in the area are now congested, it said.

Heavy machinery required for road and bridge construction, and for the restoration of the area’s water supply, was getting stuck in traffic jams, the press release said.

Vehicles for removing rubbish and construction debris, as well as emergency and rescue vehicles, were also unable to get through.



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