The gleaming metal-clad airport terminal has yet to have a single passenger pass through its doors. Weeds are poking up through the 3,000 yards of virgin runway and above it a shiny new air traffic control centre towers over fruit and olive groves. This is Castellon Airport in Spain's eastern Valencia region. Eighteen months after it was inaugurated with a price tag of 150 million euros (pounds 130?million) and with no prospect of a commercial flight, it has come to epitomise the vast public overspend that has brought Spain to the brink of seeking a full bailout from Europe.
Over the past decade, the Mediterranean region of Valencia became the beacon of Spain's new economic grandeur, gorging on cheap credit to embark on vastly extravagant projects. But as the central government announced on Thursday its fifth round of budget cuts and tax increases in just nine months, this region also symbolises all that has gone wrong in the country.
Everywhere you look, there are examples of these expensive white elephants that have left Valencia one of the most indebted regions in Spain and the first to go cap-in-hand to Madrid.
An hour south of Spain's newest airport is the city of Valencia, the region's capital, where protests have become an almost daily occurrence. A Formula One racing circuit snakes through the streets, hoping to emulate the more glamorous circuit in Monaco. From 2008 to 2012, it hosted the European Grand Prix, for which F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone was paid 20 million euros annually from City Hall coffers. The grand prix has now been dropped from the 2013 season.
Then there is the new harbour area, built at a cost of 2.4 billion euros to host the 2007 America's Cup. The modern marina, just a stone's throw from the historic city centre, once played host to the world's most expensive racing yachts. Today, all but a few of the berths lie vacant.
Just along the esplanade stands the glimmering centrepiece of the City of Arts and Sciences cultural complex, its auditorium, ribbed like the underbelly of a blue whale, rising above the colonnades of palm trees. The 1.1 billion euro centre was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava to rival Sydney's Opera House and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. In 2006, the year after its completion, it was the focal point for more than one million pilgrims when Pope Benedict XVI visited the city, but with running costs of 40 million euros a year, few cultural events are now scheduled.
Such exorbitant public works projects jar with the region's 5.1 million residents, who have watched the local economy freefall and unemployment hit 27 per cent - more than two points above the national average.
"They said it was all to put Valencia on the map," says Ignacio Blanco, a member of the regional legislature for the Leftist Esquerra Unida party, "and that's what they did - put us on the map for corruption, for waste… bringing shame on Valencia."
With debts of nearly 21 billion euros, a public deficit of 4.5% of local GDP, and junk status awarded by credit rating agencies, Valencia was the first of Spain's 17 autonomous regions to ask for a bailout from a special fund set up by the central government to help stricken regions refinance their debts. It is seeking 4.5 billion euros.
As civil unrest grows across Spain, all regions are being forced to tighten their belts and cut administrative funding yet further. Valencianos have been at the forefront of the protests. Local students have staged demonstrations at education cuts that mean they are forced to bring their own lavatory paper and soap to school, pay for their exercise books and carry blankets to class when it's cold.
In hospitals, medical staff complain that they lack basic equipment. Pharmacies report the same woes.
In Valencia, which holds the country's record for home repossession, a glut of new apartment buildings stand unsold - a daily reminder of the debt that has brought down local banks.
Years of recession in Spain have begun to expose corruption, incompetence and widespread overspending. Valencia is arguably the worst culprit. Last year, Francisco Camps, then the president of the local government, had to step down to face charges of accepting expensive suits in exchange for handing out government contracts. He was later acquitted.
But Carlos Fabra, who for 16 years was president of one of the region's three provinces, has been charged with bribery and tax fraud. Though his political career may be over, Fabra's legacy will live on - with a crass new metal sculpture of his head erected at the gate of his greatest project: the ghost airport of Castellon.