The week, in it's entirety, was spend recuperating from Cadiz and that wonderful craziness. Fortunately, because I apparently have some serious issues, I got to repeat most of it again the next weekend. Ok, well it wasn't the same thing, at all, but I repeated the going to a different city to party for a cultural event. This time it was Las Fallas in Valencia, which thankfully is only a 3 hour bus ride away instead of 6. We left Murcia at 9 am on Saturday and had a lovely bus ride there. We got into Valencia at about 1:30 and promptly lost our program director in the crowd, and then Paige and I promptly lost all of our other friends. We were trying to get to the Plaza de Ayuntamiento for the fireworks show at 2 but the streets were too crowded so we ended up, squeezed like sardines, on a side-street listening to the fireworks. It sounded like a great show... After the show we finally made it into the plaza and stood still to gather our thoughts and find our friends. Paige met the rest of our friends from Murcia and hung out with them for the day and I met up with my friend Albert, from Pitzer, who was also in Valencia for the Fallas. I walked around with him and we saw a bunch of the statutes.
We also got gelato, it is apparently the Guiness World Record holder for number of times voted best Gelato (19).
Albert actually like it so much he went back and got a second bowl
In addition, behind the cathedral there as a rather large representation of the Virgin (not sure if we're talking Mary or of the city) and her whole dress was made of flowers. It was like the religious version of the Rose Parade.
For those of you who are thinking, what are these Fallas you speak of? I will now tell you, or wikipedia will...
The Falles (in valencian) or Fallas (in Spanish) are a Valencian traditional celebration in praise of Saint Joseph in Valencia, Spain. The term Falles refers to both the celebration and the monuments created during the celebration. A number of towns in the Valencian Community have similar celebrations inspired in the original one from the city of Valencia.
Each neighbourhood of the city has an organized group of people, the Casal faller, that works all year long holding fundraising parties and dinners, usually featuring the famous speciality paella. Each casal fallerproduces a construction known as a falla which is eventually burnt.
Yay, Wikipedia! Further down in the article they tell us that falle means 'torch' in Valencian, thus the burning. Each neighborhood actually makes two of them, a big one which satirizes something and a small one which is for the kids. They parade them around the city throughout the week and then they are placed (pretty much on every street corner) on a stand made of cardboard and papier mâche with fireworks underneath. There is a little girl all dressed up in the traditional Valencian dress and she lights a string of fireworks that lead under the falla and then the whole things goes up in flame. We were lucky enough to be standing in the front line as a small one went off (at 10 pm, the big ones at midnight, and the one in the Plaza de Ayuntamiento at 1 am) This is the process:
Basically every pyro's dream. After that we camped out in the front row of the big Falla by the Cathedral....of course this was the only one that didn't go off at midnight, so we didn't get to see it. At 12:45 we decided to go to the club where we all got VIP entrance, from the program, since we were all too cold to wait for the big one to go. I kind of wish we had though since I heard it was amazing. But anyhow, the club was also really. It was HUGE! It held 2000 people.
We then got on the bus to go back home at 3:15 am, making only barely after the program director left us to fend for ourselves since his girlfriend was being whiny and annoying and refused to take a taxi on her own. Anyhow, all's well that ends well. We got home at about 6:30 and I crashed into my bed and promptly fell asleep around 6:45 until much later that day. And now, Becky and Aaron are sleeping off their jet-lag and I have to go write and in-class essay on Valle-Inclán (only the most difficult to understand Spanish author EVER!!) Anywho, I shall divulge all of Becky and Aaron's secrets next week ; )
¡Hasta la semana que viene!