Agua de Valencia, literally means water of Valencia and this is a drink that is had locally at pubs, discos and even restaurants. With a base of orange juice and a mixture of cava, cointreau and other liquers. Each place has their own special recipire to make it. However, beware, this is drink that enters very cool and if you are not cautious, the kick can be strong. So enjoy a cup or two and more the enxt time.
The best place from where to really live the fallas is from the Casal Fallero - it is the center of all the activity of a Fallas. Each and every falla has its casal, it is the place where the members of a particular falla meet and organize all the activities, celebrate functions and party around all year. Well it is not only partying all year waiting for the fallas of the coming year but alsoa lot of hard work as the fallas cost a lot of money and fund raising to be able to comete with the best falla or structure that all the members can afoord to pay for is a lot of work. Apart from payuing the fallas it is the street lighting, it is for the casal activity, the fireworks etc., etc., so this is the neuralgic center where all is prepared, celebrated and enjoyed. It is difficult for a non fall member to get here unless you are specifically invited by one of the members.
The fireworks have a very special role in the festival of the Fallas. it is smelling gunpowder all around and everybody seems to be having a great time blasting all sizes of different crackers.
Nothing compared to the castillo that is held every night during the Fallas. They actually start from the beggining of the month of march and as the month proceeds you can enjoy them practically every night. They are prepared from the area near the Calatrava bridge to give a good view to as many people as possible who crown around the many birdges surrounding this area to have live a great experience. Rember 12 at midnight is when the first shot goes off and normally lasts for about 10 minutes unless it is a special ocasion like the Nit de Foc or on the main day of the Fallas - the 19th of March, where they go on for much longer time.
This is a festival that dates back to 1959 even though it came to the eyes of the public after a TV report back in 1980. Today the internet has made this fetival exteremely popular and every year there are thousands of people flocking every summer to be part of the history of the present years grand tomato fight. Would you like to participate this year... advantages you get a free make up, you get a free bueaty treatment and you have a great time . what more would you want ?
Buñol is the town that hosts this unique festival and is about 40 kilometers from Valencia on the highway to Madrid. Very good train abd bus connections.
From around mid february, where the atmosphere is surrounded by the upcoming Fallas festival activities, one of the most awaited by the Valencianos are the Mascletas. The midday firworks that are held in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento - the local town hall place. They start at at 2 PM sharp and right after mid day you will find streams of people heading for the mascletas to get the best place. More than something visual it is the sensation that you get from the rithmyc methods of the masters of this art which is very well displayed during the fallas. You have to live it to feel the gound under you shaking and to match the vibrations of your heart with the smell of gunpowder surrounding you. Pure pleasure.
During the Fallas in Valencia there are a lot of activities going around, one of them is a street lighting competition. There are certain streets that opt to compete for the prizes as much depends on the economy of each falla and participating here involves a lot of extra cash apart from the spending on the fallas, the fireworks and the rest of the fiesta which includes many concepts.
One of the most spectacular lighting is in the street called Calle Sueca - Literato Azorin - not to be missed.
Every year around mid february when the Fallas are just around the corner - the Exposición del Ninot is innaugurated. There is a representation of a figure, from practically all the fallas of the city with the hope of being saved by the flames on the 19th of Marcha the big day , when all the fallas are consumed by the fire. This exposition is normally held in the esplanade of the shopping center called Nuevo centro, where they are shown to the public, from where the " ninot indultat " the figure that is saved.
This year 2007 is the year of the Americas Cup in Valencia and therefore is one of the main themes of the fallas.
During the festivities of the Fallas, one of the preffered and most sentimental acts of this festival is the tribute that is paid by all the " falleros " to the virgin of the city - La Virgen de los Desamparados. It is on the days of the 17th and 18th of March after 4 in the evening that we will see the long lines of young and old walking kilometers together, accompanied by bands of music, till they reach the basilica and offer their tribute in the form of a boquet of flowers to the virgen, which is the ofrenda de flores. As the falleros pass by the figure of the virgin, there are people who organize the flowers to the figure, covering it fully with flowers in a very nice way. It is a treat to the eyes so go to the plaza de la virgen, once this is done as you iwll find the full area very colourfull with flowers and fragrances.
Orxchata (else known as Horchata) is a drink made from almonds with a very special taste. You have to try it to decide wether you like it or not. Very nice as well are the sweet Buñuelos and Churros. I love them! Buñuelos served with sugar are my favorite, but churros with chocolate is not bad either (they serve mainly as sweet breakfast). BUT: you cannot eat too many of them because they are to fat....
Standing beside Estacion del Norte, the Plaza de Toros is Valencia's Bullring.
Said to be one of the nicest bullrings in Spain, it was built in the 19th century and is certainly attractive with its semi-circular arches and little balconies.
Unfortunately we were unable to have a look inside it, so had to make so with a wander around the outside, but I believe bull fighting is still held here.
Near by the Bullring is the small Museo Taurino, which houses a collection of bull fighting memorabilia. Admission is free, and entrance is via pasaje del Doctor Serra.
Nearest metro: Xatira
Although this is not a local drink it is a Spanish/Mexican drink made from Tiger nuts, sugar and cinnamon. It is very sweet and is served cold.
This Horchateria in the heart of Vaencia is a pretty tiled building with a large seating area upstairs aswell as downstairs. The horchata is also made on the premises.
Service was not too good though!
Santa Catalina is in the Plaza Santa Catalina and is near the Santa Catalina church.
The Spaniards love their churros and chocolate. The churros which resembles donut mixture is dipped into the thick sweet chocolate. Normally eaten at breakfast and early evening.
Absolute heaven if you are chocoholic!!
Most of the falles are not as spectacular as the ones competing in the special section, but the city is litteraly full of them. Sometimes there is only a few meters distance between the monuments, in particular in "traditinal" districts like Ciutat Vella and Russafa.
Falles artists are often critisized for their conservadurism and lack of innovation. Without falling into the extremes of the avantgarde, the Falla de Santa ?rsula makes the effort of getting out of this conservative trend. It does not compete in the first category, but they always build one of the mos impressive falles.
The structure of the falles is always similar: a large figure that sustains other smaller statues depicting allegoric characters or ironic images with a slight sarcasm or criticism towards the society and the politicians.
Every year only one of these statues will be saved from the fire (the smaller ones, of course). It is called the "ninot indultat" and chosen by the jury of the falles. They are kept and exhibited in the Falles Museum.
The largest monuments (excluding the Falla of the Town Hall) compete in the special section, the first category of the competition. These include:
- the Falla Na Jordana, located in a narrow lane in the old city, close to the river.
- The Falla Plaça de la Mercè is always spectacular, because the square where it is located is so small that the monument oversizes it. When it iburns, the surrounding buildings have to be protected in order not to be damaged.
- The Falla Plaça del Pilar
- The Falla Sueca - Lliterat Azorín is located at the intersection of these two streets of the Russafa neighborhood, one of the city areas where the Falles are lived with more intensity.
- The Falla Convent Jersusalem - Matemàtic Marzal.