Last night nothing much was accomplished outside of arriving, finding our hotel Melia and eat some churros with chocolate right outside our hotel. Little did we know this would only be the beginning of our vain attempts to eat in Valencia.
Our neighborhood witch falla
Our excitement was high when we left the hotel on Saturday in search of Fallas. These are paper mache displays much like parade floats that are placed in each neighborhood on the 15th of March. Each neighborhood has a childrens fallas that is small and a larger one the adults worked on. The communities can take almost the entire year to build their display. These are burnt to celebrate the end of the winter and coming of spring. The witch was the one right outside our hotel.
main street in Valencia
Unfortunately to get to the Old Town where much of the action is we had a 30 minute walk. It wasn't much of a problem on day one because we had beautiful weather and it gave us a chance to come across plenty of displays like this one we affectionately called the world.
The Old Town was right across this bridge which of course I figured Curt would appreciate with the demons.
Here are some more photos from the many fallas we spent most of the afternoon photographing....
Camel with detail
The details on the displays were amazing - this camel is a pretty good demo of that.
Harry Potter makes it to the fallas!
Snake lady falla
I call her pocahontas falla
naked ladies falla
The devilish falla
The following were all pieces of the winning falla for this year...you could pay 5 euro a person to take photos up close. All others were restrained behind guard rails. The theme seemed to be the animal world taking over the humans.
me with the dogs
me with part of the #1 falla
mice torturing human falla
class on capturing humans
#1 winning falla
At one point along the street they had a falla that was destroyed. I think it was there for people to see what they were made of. They looked like wood as a skeleton then styrofoam and a paper mache outside.
inside the falla
Occasionally we would see one of the fallas queens who will later light the fallas on fire. I think that each neighborhood must have atleast one representative.
one of the falla queens
Most of our day was spent either walking around looking at displays or shopping at the markets that seemed to be around every corner.
We were pretty despirate for a place to sit down and heading back home when we passed the bull ring.
People were showing tickets and going inside but we weren't sure for what. The ticket window had quite the gaggle surrounding it but no one was at the window so I asked what was going on. As it turns out a bull fight was starting in 30 minutes. I had very conflicting ideas on if I wanted to go but in a spontaneous moment bought two tickets for 100 euros.
The seat was at the very top row of wooden seats and very small. Being near the top made it easy to look outside when the bad parts came up.
bull fighting ring
I wonder about the statements that you sometimes here about people being inherently good when I am sitting in a stadium PACKED full of people cheering on the pretty brutal torture and murder of not just one, but six bulls.
First the matadors come out in their fancy outfits and practice waving around their capes.
When the bull finally comes out these guys with the pink capes basically tire them out making them run all over the ring. When the bull gets close to them though they hide out behind the wall.
matador hiding places
THen a couple guys come out on horses and the bull attacks the horse while the man on top stabs him with some kind of prod. Then 3 or 4 guys put some kind of sticks in his neck that hang out. This whole time the bull is bleeding out and getting more and more tired. Finally the guy with the red cape comes out, tires him some more then puts a sword straight through the back of his neck. He is still kicking around until he gets cornered and then finally put out of his misery with another stab that I assume severs the spinal cord. Some horses come out and they chain the dead bull up and then drag him off. THis whole time the crowd is cheering!!! We had to sit through this SIX times!!!! It was definately an experience but nothing I want to experience EVER again.
After a very short rest and room service for dinner we went to the burning of the childrens fallas at 2200. The entire community gathers around wearing matching sweatshirts. The queen and I guess king are given a piece of the display. Then they through wood, firecrackers and gasoline on the display. A string of fireworks is attached which is lit by the king and queen. When the fire catches the display sprays fireworks.
childrens falla with fireworks
Every watches, then circles around it until there is nothing left of it. Then the community heads to their party tent to await the burning of the adult falla at midnight. We go to the room to rest again before seeing the witch go down.
The witches house is on fire!!!
Fireworks were in her house and shoot out of the top which really looks cool. Then it appears as if she is flying away from the fire.
flying from the flames
and then finally she is no more.
The witch goes down!