Post #8: Burn Baby Burn

Holy moly, the time is flying by so fast. I just wanted to take a minute to talk about my ONE DAY TRIP to Valencia. This action packed trip was decided super last minute and coincided (intentionally) with the festival Las Fallas.

For those of you who do not know what Las Fallas is – think of it as the craziest Spring Break of your life just with more rain, huge sculptures and SO MUCH FIRE. I need to put a lot of things in caps for this post because Las Fallas is “the most”. Me and a bunch of friends signed up for a Las Fallas trip through Be Madrid and took a bus at 7 a.m. in front of Madrid’s Ventas – their usual meeting point. I would absolutely recommend Be Madrid for student trips. This cost around 20 euros for the bus and they were very reliable. They also have other trips across Spain, Portugal and Morocco. We then rode for five hours, stopping only once at this creepy rest stop called Area 175 in the middle of nowhere Castilla La-Mancha where we got to see all of the ALREADY DRUNK Americans and other Europeans on our bus. As you will read in just a minute, this was probably the most “college” experience of my life.

Story time: as we got off the bus at the rest stop, two young men who could have just stepped off the set of the Van Wilder movie, were talking about their experience on the bus. One proceeded to say, “Haha, dude. This is just like the time when when we took a bus to our formal.” #FallasGoesFrat #FallasFormal2k15

Once we arrive, we were good to go because we already ate our picnic lunches that our senoras graciously packed us the night before and were all bundled up in the appropriate weather gear according to their sage advice. We arrived just in time for La Mascleta in the center of town and then walked around to various “tents” selling a plethora of alcoholic beverages (mostly mojitos – you will be so sick of mojitos when you leave Spain) and saw the beautiful sculptures that were to be burned at the end of the night. We arrived on the final day of the festivities for the Nit de la crema. After walking around for what seemed like days looking at Valencia’s most well known sites (#2, #8, #9), along with seeing three year olds setting off fireworks…because Fallas, we (meaning me and three other people) got to sit down and enjoy some ACTUAL PAELLA. Paella is originally from Valencia and let me tell you, all other Paella in Spain is a lie. This stuff was the real deal. We chose one restaurant (not the super fancy ones) that was part of a strip of exclusively paella restaurants along the beach and tucked into some paella con mariscos (seafood paella) and paella valenciana (paella with rabbit and chicken). Whatever your fancy, they are both equally good. Also, side note, in Valencia, they speak Spanish and Valenciano (which is either considered a dialect of Catalan or a language entirely its own, depending on who you ask). However, unlike in Catalunya, all of the signs are in mostly just Spanish.

After lunch, we headed back into downtown to consume more “beverages” and prepare for the nights festivities. There was much dancing, singing and fire. So much fire. Here is a video of what it looks like when the statues are burned – truly amazing and terrifying at the same time. The last statue to be burned is the one that is in the center square – this year it was a lion with a globe and all statues, including this one, are made out of a mix of wood and papiermâché.

Then, after some more fiesta, we caught the bus home at 2:30 am and proceeded to sleep all day in Madrid upon our arrival.

No “Tips and Tricks” for this post (since everything is pretty much listed here and we did not stay in a hotel) but check out other ones by clicking on the link!

Vocab word(s) of the day: baladí (petty, trivial, inconsequential), lío (mess, fuss – often used as “que lio”, follón (commotion, racket, hullaballo – similar use to “lio”)

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