After such a great day yesterday we were a bit disappointed to wake up to rain in Valencia. Not a lot of it, but enough to dampen our spirits somewhat. We grabbed some breakfast here at the hotel and went back to the room. We were still tired from the night before and with the rain we decided to take a nap. That ended up being a great idea because we slept soundly for a few more hours and when we woke up the rain had stopped.
We set out exploring and as it approached 2pm we decided to attend the daily mascleta which is a daytime fireworks display designed for percussive effect rather than visual. Thousands of festival goers jam in to the central square to be as close to the event as possible. When it goes off it is so loud you can’t hear yourself even if you shout. The display goes for a full 5 minutes.
I recorded this on my cell phone. It does not do the event justice, but it gives you an idea
After the mascleta we went back to the room to re-organize and then went to have a late lunch at our favorite restaurant, Pappardella.
After a nice meal and a bottle of wine we took to the streets where we encountered a procession of Falleras apparently leaving some event and going back to their respective neighborhoods. This provide Cynthia and I with a few hours of photographic fun
After this we went back to the hotel room once more to get ready for the evening where we planned to go find the legendary light displays of the Ruzafa district.
Cynthia an I caught our second wind and we ended up going to the midnight fireworks display. It was quite impressive. There were quite a lot of people there to see it and a very large police and fire department presence.
The fireworks display lasted for a full 17 1/2 minutes. We were so close that it seemed as though they were right on top of us.
I shot a video of the whole thing with my Android phone.
The last day in Barcelona yesterday was good. but the weather was the pits. We saw some sights and enjoyed some good food, but the photo ops were pretty much non-existent. Despite our overall good attitude, we were a little bummed.
Today was the 3 1/2 hour train ride to the city of Valencia for the 2011 Las Fallas festival. We were here two years ago and simply fell in love.
As we left Barcelona the rain was falling in earnest and the weather reports called for rain in Valencia for at least a few days. But as we got close to Valencia the skies began to clear and by the time we got tot he hotel it was downright sunny. Huzzah!
Valencia, even without the festival, is a fantastic and picturesque city. Add to that the fallas and it becomes magical.
Sadly, due to all the rain of the last week, many of the fallas have been damaged. The artists are working fast and furious to repair them and seem to be doing a good job. Today is the day they are being officially setup so the ones we are seeing are in various states of completion and repair.
We came back to the hotel room after enjoying a nice lunch at Pappardella, an Italian restaurant we found during our last visit.
We spent almost two hours over a leisurely lunch and a bottle of local Rioja
Since leaving Barcelona this morning Cynthia has been a little sick. Nothing major, but an upset stomach and some fatigue have taken her a bit off her game. The lunch really helped, but we knew we’d both benefit from a siesta so we went back to the room and sacked out for a few hours. When we got up we headed back out. The evening weather here is pretty perfect. And the city and the fallas are very cool at night.
Now were are back in the room and considering our options. There is a huge fireworks display at midnight. If we have the energy we may head out to see that. If not, there’s another one tomorrow night. And the night after that. And the night after that.
We decided the above falla would be the one we watched burn. It was within easy walking distance of the hotel and was facing a wide open area along the dry riverbed so we would not be crammed into a small space by the throngs of onlookers.
We got there an hour before the burning time which was midnight. The crowd was very large and enthusiastic. Once the firemen cleared the electric lights and lowered the fire screens that protected the nearby buildings a series of fireworks detonated and the falla began to burn. At one point the fire was so hot we could feel it on our faces. It’s a wonder the people up close were not injured. I suspect there’s more than few eyebrow-less festival-goers after this.
By the time we got back to the hotel there were plumes of black smoke all over the city, billowing into the Firework were going off everywhere. Within a few hours the entire city was covered in a haze of smoke.
The Ofrenda is the flower offering to the Virgin Mary. Two days of parade of traditionally clothed men, women and children marching to the square to bring flowers which are used to create a giant effigy to the Holy Mother.corners of the city and converge on the square so you pretty much can’t go anywhere without running into a procession.
And then, over the course of two days literally THOUSANDS of women dressed in traditional costume make there way to the square to bring flowers that will be used to construct the effigy. The women are escorted by husbands, fathers and children and it seems to go on and on forever down several main streets.
Each group represents a family or a neighborhood and most of the groups have a marching band that accompanies them to the square and back home so there’s lots of music, singing and dancing.