By far, one of the most ridiculous amazing times I have had in Spain was two weeks ago in Valencia for Las Fallas. From what I understand from my Valencian friend, this festival started from carpenters burning old furnitures and evolved in the creation of these intricate fallas of things that they local population wants to rid themselves of (sins, bad politicians, etc.), such as the one pictured above. I would have loved to learn a little more about what each way was suppose to represent.
Not even an two hours after we finished the final class of our MBA we were on a train down to Valencia to take full advantage of the first night and arrived just in time for the nightly fireworks show. Unfortunately I didn’t snap any picture of the fireworks themselves, but the ones in North America don’t even compare. If you aren’t close enough to have ash in your hair afterwards you just haven’t done it right. The funniest part of our trip, I think, was brining all of our parents down with us for the journey and keeping them out to the wee hours of the morning. My dad even got sick from too many days of this. Sorry dad! Nevertheless, I’m so happy to have gone down this year.
Another cool part of the decorations was this Light Castle. Every evening there was a light show set to music. Very cool to see. But, CD might have done a better job making sure all of the lights were working 🙂
The pyrotechnic fun didn’t stop at nightly fireworks. Every day at 14:00 the entire city crowds in to Plaza de La Ayuntamiento to catch the Mascleta. This is a day time fireworks display that is really all about the sounds. It’s like old time guns going off for a solid 20 minutes ending in a huge cloud of smoke and an almost musical explosion sequence. The only problem with standing around and waiting for 2 hours for it to start was the lack of bathrooms (coupled with the beer drinking). Good thing I had my NY walking speed to get to McDonald’s before the rest of the crowd did. It’s a wonder I found everyone after that.
Having locals take you around lead us to many great meals (well lunches, as there was hardly ever a need for dinner with all the buñuelos and churros being eaten). This one was particularly memorable as we have three different kinds of paella in one sitting. My favorite was the original paella Valenciana.
Many of the locals dress us as Falleros and Falleras in these crazy intricate (and expensive) dresses. It’s an honor and something you pay lots of money for. I think it was a bit weird and the dresses were hideous. But, I like the tradition of it. Maybe they set those dresses on fire too when it’s over? One can only hope.
The parade you saw above of the Falleras was leading to this grand statue of the Virgin Mary made completely of flowers. How cool! You can see the man assembling her now.
In true Spanish fashion, the end of the festival also includes with fire. On the last day you pick your favorite falla to watch burn to the ground. Yes, I’m completely serious. It was extremely intense and got me super emotional about the end of the MBA (I’m not sure what one has to do with the other…). But, it was a great time with great friends. I’m glad I was there to experience it. Until next Fallas!