Friday, March 19, 2010

Valencia post

We have fallen in love with all things Valencian. Serge said to me today that of all the places we've traveled together, this is his favorite place of all. I asked if it was better than Paris and Rome and he said yes. High praise for this city. Of course he hasn't been to Madrid yet. We've been feasting on the local cuisine and paella figures highly in our diet. You can see a large pan of it being prepared on the street behind me in the picture.

We are here for the festival Las Fallas which is an amazing thing to experience. There really is nothing else like it in the world. You can see a falla in the picture above. It is one of hundreds around the city erected for the week (though worked on all year) in a kind of competition. The theme this year seems to be the economy and there are many depictions of greed as you might imagine. Fireworks are a huge part of this festival and all day long you hear explosions as children and adults alike light firecrackers in the street. There is not 2 seconds that goes by without you hearing them. When they go off near you, you jump, though after three days we are starting to become numb to it. At night they shoot off the pretty kind of fireworks. I'm not talking sissy American fireworks, there are constant M-80s, roman candles and bottle rockets in addition to the city displays. In addition, everyone is drinking in the street and I can only describe the atmosphere here as pure merriment. If you ever get a chance in your life, come to this festival.

Even though it is an ancient and very European city, there is a modern side as well. They must be very proud of their city!


All day long there are marching bands and parades, and the senses are truly overloaded. I liked this shot of Serge and me.




Tonight, the 19th of March, all of the fallas will be set ablaze. A kind of purging of all the evils depicted. It is sad in a way, but awesome too. This is my second Fallas, and I remember this night to be one to remember. Really, what other city basically sets itself on fire. They bring in firefighters from all over the region to hose down the buildings before the torching begins.




Of course we had to visit a bullfight. I know there are many against this kind of spectacle, and I am conflicted. At best it is no worse than fishing for fun. I loved the moments where you get adrenaline, will the matador get gored or will he prevail. Pretty scary stuff to watch. I can't say I didn't enjoy it, because I did.




The parades are groups of traditionally dressed citizens and marching bands winding through the streets. The little girls are just adorable.






Beer with breakfast. When in Rome, well you know the rest. We're just trying to fit in after all. Plus it's vacation. Don't judge.







I don't know why but this is my favorite shot here so far. Tonight's the last night. Serge and bro are napping before dinner and then it's the big night of setting all the fallas on fire. Oh and a final balls to the wall fireworks show. Maybe tomorrow I'll get some sleep because during this festival, it's nearly impossible to get more than a few hours a day. Don't know when I'll have internet again, but until then adios amigos!
Lots more photos here.








14 comments:

Stephen Chapman... said...

It looks amazing. Must add it to my weekend break list.

don said...

The pictures are awesome. So glad that you guys are enjoying Valencia as I have always wanted to go there. Bon vacance!

Birdie said...

The shots you have here are GREAT, but I liked the one with the fireworks and some other architecture shots too. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for not posting the poop pic.

Mark in DE said...

Looks like an amazing trip! Thanks for sharing it with us.

Tatiana said...

Pretty spectacular - I'd love to visit Valencia, although to be fair there are few places I would not love to visit. Minus the bullfighting of course, no adrenaline is worth causing an animal pain for your amusement.

Nick UK said...

WOW I love the juxtaposition of the ancient and modern city, off to sneak a peak at the rest.

Frank B Smith said...

I love beer with breakfast... of course I used to get it after a night's work on the grave shift, but still, it goes well with eggs and the like.

Anonymous, too said...

I'd bet you've had worse things than beer with breakfast!

Glad you're enjoying the trip. And why does Serge keep looking younger with every photo?!?

Anonymous said...

I guess it is a must to see a bullfight when in Spain. I'm afraid I would be rooting for the bull. It isn't really like fishing. You catch the fish and either throw it back or eat it. One doesn't poke it with needles and stab it with a knife. What if it was dogfighting? Would you be amused to see a Doberman chased around and stabbed with a sword or spear? The poor thing might strike back and attack his tormentor. I think it is barbaric. Ted

that's J-O-S-H said...

Damn...I need to get my hot-cross buns on ova to Valencia as soon as possible.

franck said...

Valencia was my home for 6 months and it will always have a special place... but Fallas I don't reall like.

rebekah said...

I really like the photos this post.

I couldn't get into the bull-fighting, tradition or no. Part of the spectacle is the pain inflicted,either on the bull or the person. Nope. Not for me.

Hope I get to Spain before the end of my time here.

Rox said...

I'm on Team Bull too! Some of those Matadors are Bee-You-Tee-Full though!

I'm not sure I can handle the whole sensory overload thing, but I'm glad you can and choose to share it with us! It's like being there!

dello said...

I must say I agree with Serge here. Madrid, on the other hand, has begun to lose its charm. It has become a generic city. It's New York, only Castilian. You have to visit the Golden Triangle though: The Thyssen, Reina Sofia and The Prado.