an up close picture of a Falla
we spent the weekend in Valencia, an eastern coastal city celebrating one of the biggest most insane festivals in the world. Now generally speaking, when you hear about something or read about something and you and your friends build it up for months, your doing nothing more then setting yourself up for one huge let down. absolutely not the case with this. I was under the assumption that having lived in Madrid for two months, I would be ready for anything thrown my way but that was absolutely not the case. My body took the beating of a lifetime and I am thankful just to be sitting on my couch to write this. I would love to know who taught spanish people how to party because quite frankly they are above and beyond anything in the world and las fallas was the perfect example.
Imagine fourth of July only there are 300 paper mache figures spread across the city built soley for the purpose of blowing them up, fireworks literally not stopping from morning until the early hours of the morning, parades with people dressed in devil costumes and more sparks and loud bangs then the eye can see spread over a 5 mile radius and you can get an idea of what its like. often times you forget if you are in a warzone or a pyrotechnic festival
The falla i watched burn down at midnight
On the last night at midnight, they rig each Falla with big fire crackers, soak them in gasoline and then the people who spent months working on these detailed pieces of art fight back the tears as they take a torch to the fuse that will send their years work into a 100 foot flame. common sense would tell you, dont stand anywhere near a 100 foot paper mache sculpture that wreaks of gasoline but i suppose exceptions can be made for Las Fallas.
A loud bang and before you know it there are massive flames 30 feet away. people watch in amazement until it literally rains ash from the sky. At this point, its every man for himself, seek shelter and out run the burning embers. after finding a nice spot 100 feet away, you can do your best to look past the clouds of black smoke at whats left of the falla. Soon you realize 100 feet is too close as the water from the firefighters hoses creates a storm of water and ash. This is where the story is supposed to end except that this is Spain. Everyone gathers again takes out their alcohol and get ready for a night of partying.
30 seconds later
I couldnt wait for the bus to come pick us up and drive us back to Madrid. We got home at 7 30 in the morning and washed the ash off of us and got ready for some of the best sleep of our lives.... or so we thought until I closed my eyes and all i could see were images of the night and heard nothing but ringing in my ears.