When strolling along the streets and squares of Valencia you will find a variety of street actors representing amazing personages. You can see one of the actors on the Plaza de Reina on my photo. He was standing still for several minutes but suddenly he was moving and frightened the people who watched his performance and forcing smile and laugh everybody.
You can watch my photo of Valencia on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 39° 28' 29.50" N 0° 22' 31.56" W or on my Google Earth Panoramio Plaza de Reina.
- Arts and Culture
Las Fallas, Valencia’s big annual festival, is held on March 19. A falla is a large paper mache character, and several hundred of them are constructed all over town. They may represent politicians or other public figures, or some event, and they are usually satirical. (The one nearest our hotel was a bus with camera-pointing tourists!) At midnight on the 19th they are all set on fire except one. The residents vote on the best one, and it is spared. The Falla Museum houses small versions of the ones that are saved. Local neighborhood associations sponsor the fallas, and they spend all year planning and building them. These groups have costumed “royalty” to represent them.
In the week or so leading up to Las Fallas, there are daily afternoon fireworks, and the royalty watches from the City Hall balcony. Individual neighborhoods also have lighting contests. Most of them just string lights across the streets, but one group with big sponsors built the London Bridge over their street!
- Arts and Culture
The biggest festival in Valencia, Las fallas is held each year in March and is one of Spain's most noisy and raucous fiestas with fireworks and processions in honour of St Joseph. A parade of Valencian women dressed in traditional costume come to the cathedral square to offer flowers to the city's patron saint, La Virgen de las Desamparados. These flowers are used to create an impresive sculpure, which watches over the square until the fiesta ends.
LAS FALLAS - A sort of carneval
Las Fallas are a Valencian tradition which celebrates Saint Joseph's Day (19 March) , the term Fallas refers to both the celebration and the monuments created during the celebration.
Each neighbourhood of the city has an organized group of people, called the Casal faller, that works all year long holding fundraising parties and dinners, usually featuring the famous speciality paella. Each casal faller produces a construction known as a "falla" which is eventually burnt.
The big party is on 19th of March, when all the fallas are judged and only the the winner falla won't be burned, but the celebrations last two weeks during which there are fireworks every night at midnight and the fallas parade in the streets and in Plaza de Ayuntamiento.
One of the most emotional acts during the falles is the flower offer to the Mare de Deu dels Desamparats (Our Lady of the Unsheltered), dubbed the little humped-back for having her head in a slightly oblique angle that stands for her care for the unsheltered people.
Many people in Valencia have a fervent devotion for her and, during falles, they consider it an honour to parade through the city in order to bring flowers for the Virgin. A mammoth carcass of the virgin is displayed in front of her basilica and a group of specialised men will dress it up with the flower bunches that the fallers deliver them, usually with tears in their eyes.
Street lighting competition
The falles is a round the clock festival: gazillions of people crowd the streets and attend music concerts, cultural activities, watch the falles or eat and drink on the streets - paella, obviously, but also the seasonal buñuelos (fried doughnut-like sweets made of pumpkin).
The different falles of the city also compete in the street lighting category. The Falla Sueca - Lliterat Azorín (depcted here) is known for the Baroquism of its luminary creations every year.
Fallers and Falleres
The Falles are a kind of social clubs where people meet all throughout the year, have fun and collect money to erect the falla. Their social seats are called casals fallers, but during the Falles week, they will take over the streets of the whole city and party out there night and day.
Fallers and Falleres are the real soul of the Falles. They work hard all year round for collecting funds and building the falla, they dress in the elaborate traditional costumes and they are devoted to the fiesta. All members of the family participate in the fiesta, so that the continuity of the Falles is ensured.
They parade continuously the streets of the city to the famous Valencia tune, so they will provide you with innumerable photo opportunities and never-ending street entertainment.
The love of Valencians for firecrackers, gunpowder, noise and fire is difficult to grasp for a foreigner. Almost every single event, public or private, will end with the explosion of a noisy set of firecrackers (a mascletà). This passion is pushed to the limit of what a normal person can bear during the Falles.
During that week, every day starts with a despertà: an early morning firecracker display that will set you in the tone for what you will have to endure during the rest of the day. Virtually every person, from children to their grandparents, is armed with a set of matches and firecrackers that they throw continuously with mischievous faces to the dismay of the most nervous types out there.
But nothing compares to the daily mascletà on the Plaça de l'Ajuntament. Every day, at two o'clock, crowds and crowds gather there to watch or, rather, to experience an amazing display of firecrackers commissioned by the city to the most celebrated pyrotechnics. You may wonder what is there to see, apart from smoke, a horrendous noise that makes the earth tremble, the smell of the powder and all those crowds gathering to witness it. But, apparently, the mascletaes have their rhythm and make attendants get such an adrenaline shot, that one has to experience them in person to really understand what they are about.
You should be aware, nevertheless, of the fact that many kilos of gunpowder are released and, although security measures are very strict, it is a potentially risk activity and several years people have been injured.
the world famous Falles
The Falles are one of Spain's most famous festivals. It takes place in mid March to honour Saint Joseph, patron of the carpenters.
Originally, the city's carpenters used to make big bonfires with the rests of wood in their workshops to celebrate their patron's day. Eventually, this festival evolved as they started to build large monuments with wood and papier maché. The monuments became biger and bigger every year and are usually political or social satires of sometimes dubious taste. The construction of a falla is a huge task that involves the exclusive work of a large team of professionals (artistas falleros) during the whole year.
A great attention is paid to detail and composition: the monuments are made up of a plethora of statues of different sizes disposed in an amazing equilibrium that defies gravity but which is perfectly studied, so that the falla collapses in the right way when it is lit on fire on Saint Joseph's night (many of them are located in small plazas or intersections and a miscalculation of the artistas falleros might result in a tragedy for the crowds attending the cremà or burning, and for the neighbouring buildings).
The construction of so many falles around the city is, in addition, a colossal financial task which requires the year-round effort of large communities in Valencia.
During my stay in Valencia I really wanted to try Horchata, but it seems that you can find it only starting from April (it is a summer drink)..in February it is probably easier to taste chocolate con churros
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Paella only for lunch.
Paella origins from Valencia so you have to try it here. Just remember that you have to have it for lunch never dinner (some places they serve it for dinner as well …but its braking with the local tradition). You can eat it direct from the pan or take it to your plate. Enjoy
- Arts and Culture
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
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9th of October
October 9 is a special day in Valencia. Its that day where the Moors was rejected from the city in 1238. The city of Valencia celebrates the event by dressing up as Moorish knights and belly dancers parading true the inner city. At midnight it all ends in a climax with a grand firework display.
- Arts and Culture
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Valencia is a very flat city which has a big advantage for double parking.
This is very common to do but then you have to be cautious about three things: leave the gear in neutral, handbrake off and some free space. If you forget this, some irritated person will hold a nice little car horn concert in A(ngry) major for you.
It works very simple. When one of the cars blocked in by you are leaving, he'll just push your car enough away to get out.
This would mostly be for the 'hardcore' parkers who don't mind to get their car bumped or scrached and pushed around. Otherwise it's always best to use a parking lot or garage. Malls like El Corte Ingles (Beniferri), El Saler and Mediamarkt have their own garages. Some of them charge for parking. It's worth it. The car is parked better and kept cool. :)
Getting something it the kiosk at the corner?
It's very commonl to find a car jolted up on the sidewalk on the corner (or sidewalk in general) with the emergency lights blinking (read: the four blinking yellow parking lights at each corner of the car).
These lights are by the way, as in many countries, used when you run into traffic that for some reason has queued up and are standing still; to alert the car coming up behind that "HEY! not much speed going on over here.. You'd better slow down".
Don't buy fruit in the supermarket!
Do as the spaniards do - buy your fruit and vegetables in
the local "frutería". Cheaper than in the supermarkets and
of a better quality and taste!
Note: The fruterías often have siesta in the afternoons, so
make your purchases in the morning or evening.
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Patatas Bravas con alioli!
This is great food, that you can find pretty much everywhere,
most often in bars or "comidas para llevar" (take away restaurants).
It's fried potato wedges with garlic mayonnaise, lovely!!
Quite cheap too! You HAVE to try it!
Perfect after a night out... =)
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