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Friday, March 14, 2008



I have already written about the Fallas in Valencia, probably the biggest festival in all of Europe and certainly one of the wildest times I have ever heard about. The festival runs from March 15th through the 19th to coincide with St. Joseph’s Day. The actual celebrations start more than a week earlier with the daily Mascletà setting the tone. After barely surviving last year’s Fallas I swore that this year I would head out of town for at least a portion of the festival to save wear-and-tear on my eardrums, liver, and nervous system due to the constant explosions, exhaustive street parties, and severe sleep deprivation that go hand-in-hand with Valencia’s top attraction. But something happened to me in the last year that has made me change my mind. Not only am I not leaving town but I relish the thought of every firecracker, every night I go without sleep, and every buñuelo* I shove in my fat face.

There is a rather exhaustive review of the week in Spanish football which is called No me digas que no te gusta el fútbol, or “Don’t tell me you don’t like football.” I have reached the same conclusion about Fallas: Don’t tell me you don’t like it. I hear a lot of people say that they don’t like Fallas. For the most part these are out-of-towners, both foreigners and non-Valencian Spaniards. I try not to listen to these folks and instead I cling to all of the people around me who love everything about the festival. There is so much energy in Valencia at this time that it just seems like a huge mistake not to plug into it.

I think the correct attitude is to just throw yourself into it head first. I try to make it to the Mascletà every afternoon. Hell, it’s only five minutes long; I think I can spare five minutes every day for a bit of wild excitement. I will also go down to the Turia Park every night when the night fireworks begin. I will try to visit every single Falla sculpture everywhere in Valencia. You really must have a bike to perform this quixotic task as there are probably hundreds of them all around town. I plan on staying out late every night when the verbenas (street parties) begin. I plan on eating my weight in buñuelos every day. Hell, I may even light off a firecracker or two. It will al be over on the night of the 19th when they set all of the fallas ablaze. You should enjoy it while it lasts.

P.S. I have two extra bedrooms available if any friends decide to show up.

*A bit of fried batter sprinkled with sugar which are a specialty of the festival.

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