Saturday, March 21, 2009
Inside Las Fallas - INSANE!!!!
Unexpected. Unreal. Unbelievable. That's our experience of Las Fallas summed up in 3 words. 40 hours of amazing non-stop visual and audio overload. A day later, Suzanne and I are still shaking our heads in amazement, wondering if it all really happened. They claim that Las Fallas is the biggest festival in Spain and we would wholeheartedly agree. Given my unfortunate labeling as the "festival chaser" of Javea, it was incredibly satisfying to experience the mother of all festivals - Las Fallas incorporated everything that is good about the festivals we have seen before and then ramped everything up 10-fold - floats, religious processions, floral offerings, bullfights, neighborhood block parties (on EVERY block), streetlights, fireworks, explosions, bonfires - you name it! And everything was done on a scale we have never seen before and will probably never see again. Even the Spanish call Las Fallas a "festival on steroids". For any of you who feel the need to have a bucket list, I would most definitely put this down as something to experience at least once in your lifetime. I'm putting it down ...twice. It all started fairly inconspicuously. I had booked a hotel room for a few nights so we could have a place to crash, but we really didn't plan much more beyond that. We had read several not-so-flattering stories about huge crowds, traffic jams, and injuries from firecracker explosions, so we were a bit hesitant to go at first. Fortunately, our good friends Scott and Dee Andrews were able to find a baby sitter and decided to come along with us. Their friends Vincent, Nancy and Chally from Boulder were coming out that week and we all decided to meet up in Valencia. We came to learn that Vincent had grown up in Valencia and was quite dialed-in to the scene there. What we didn't realize was that he turned out to be the best festival host ever, with a full two day itinerary fully mapped out, allowing us to experience Las Fallas as if we were local insiders. It was an amazing and completely unexpected experience that we'll likely never be able to duplicate.