On 4th March I went back to England for a couple of days and to go and see Adele in concert in Manchester. Despite me missing my plane because I stupidly went out the night before I eventually made it home and it was lovely to see everyone again.
The week after I got back I went to a festival in Valencia, which is called las Fallas. I went with ISN, the Erasmus group and it was very cheap, about 24 euros to get there and back including some food too. It was such a long day, we got on the bus around 5am with a seven hour journey ahead of us, but it was definitely worth it and such a good experience
We arrived at around 12pm and we met up with some people who are in charge of ISN in Valencia. They told us a brief history of las fallas festival and how it has changed over the years to be celebrated like it is today: Many years ago, at this time of year it was very cold and carpenters would use their off cuttings of wood to build huge wooden structures, which they would set on fire. The local people would also stack up their old pieces of furniture and add these to the carpenters structures making a huge bonfire to create some kind of warmth. Over the years the carpenters became more creative with their structures and began to build scenes and characters and turned it into art. Now the woodwork is judged in a competition and the winners masterpiece is saved, while the others are burned in the streets. All the while throughout the streets, there are parades, musical bands, and firecrackers being set off as you walk around Valencia, creating a unique atmosphere that I have never before encountered.
In the middle of the Plaza del Ayuntamiento in Valencia at 2pm there is a “Mascletà”. A Mascletà is a series of fire crackers that are set off to create a powerful loud rhythm of bangs which literally make your body and the floor shake. There are signs hung up around the square to tell you to keep your mouth open during it so you don’t pop your ear drums! As it’s a daytime event, the mascletà isn’t for the visual aspect, it’s purely for the noise and the vibrations. You can watch my video here to hear just how loud it was: Mascletà
Afterwards we went for a picnic in the Gardens of the Turia which was created in the riverbed of what used to be the Turia river, but after a flood in Valencia, the government decided to put up a dam and separate the river. It was lovely to have a sit down and something to eat after walking around a few hours.
Once we had all eaten and recharged our batteries, we went for another walk around the city and to see all the different fallas, which were down nearly every street in Valencia.. The pictures of them don’t do them justice at all, they were simply amazing.
We then went for a few beers in a pub and had some time to buy souvenirs and what not while we waited for it to get darker. Once it was dark enough, we met back up at about 11pm where we went to see “los luces de Valencia” (the lights of Valencia). When we turned around the corner of the street they were down, it was incredible. It was a huge arch built up of lots of different coloured lights and stretched along half of the street. They did a light show every half an hour or so with music, which gave us enough time to buy some alcohol for the botellón and the fireworks afterwards.
At 3am we got the coach back to Granada and I think it’s safe to say that everyone was completely kaput after such a long, but exciting day!