Fire, Felonies, and Las Fallas

Graduating college, everyone was nervous about entering the “real world.” Well, if I am living in this so-called, scary “real world,” then it actually isn’t too bad at all. Maybe I didn’t spend last weekend watching drunk frat boys play dizzy bat on a crowded Key West beach during spring break like I was last year, but instead, I witnessed a festival I had read about in Spanish class for years right in front of me. That festival was Las Fallas and three of us headed to the city of Valencia to take part in the action.

Let me give you some background on the festival. There are a lot of facets to this five day party but the main attraction are the huge fallas, monuments each neighborhood spends all year making to ultimately be burned on the final day. Meanwhile, there are lots of fireworks that go off in the streets and different processions. We wanted to catch the celebration on the last day also known as La Cremá to see the notorious burning.

Our journey began early Friday morning when we hopped on a bus. Four hours later we arrived to the city. Thankfully, our friend Bridget studied abroad in the city so knew her way around. She led us through the city streets and along the way we ran into falla after falla, each more interesting than the last.

One of my favorites

Later, we walked to one of Valencia’s main attractions- Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias which I had visited on my first trip to Valencia in 2009.

Anna and the beautiful buildings

From there, we grabbed a spot to watch the Parade of Fire. It started off calmly with the royal court and  traditional music but quickly turned into something out of a nightmare- people in devil costumes flinging fire around. It was very cool but a tad frightening.

Needless to say we were covered in ashes

Afterwards I hate to say things took a turn for the worse. Unfortunately while eating dinner Bridget had her entire backpack stolen, losing everything from her passport and camera to all her money and Kindle.  That led us to logging in an hour at the police station so that she could file a report to ensure she could make our bus ride home without an ID. We made it out just in time to see one falla burn down.

Definitely the biggest fire I have ever seen

Watching the huge figures falling to the ground brought on some mixed emotions. It is clear a ton of effort went into these works and then they turn to ashes in a matter of minutes! But alas, it is just another Spanish tradition I think you just have to be “in” on to really understand. Nevertheless, I am happy I went and even happier I came back with my hearing intact after all the explosions.

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