Sunday, March 18, 2012
It’s another warm sunny day with temperatures tickling the low 70’s. I have just returned from Opencor where I picked up a few items so that we can have fajitas for lunch. Susan and Rachel went out earlier to take a look at a falla or two. Susan got home close to 2:30 and we are still waiting for Rachel to make it back home. She wanted to get some photos of how they set things up for the mascletá and stayed too long at the fair. Being close to the epicenter, she will have to wade her way through tens of thousands of people to make it back home.
I did manage to get our briefly yesterday to pick up some beer and water. Walking on a flat surface is not easy, but stairs are difficult to climb. I had to make three trips up and down the stairs to get everything in the house and that took its toll. Susan was out of commission most of the day having inherited the cold that was making its way through Mary’s house in Nevada City. Because it was the Sabbath, Rachel spent most of the daylight hours at home. However, she wanted to see last night’s fireworks display so at 11:00 PM she headed out by herself in search of a good vantage point. She didn’t return back home until 2:30 AM and she is getting more adept at making her way around the city. Good for her!
I have borrowed her latest post on her blog page – www.goldiesgabs.com – so that I can share her impressions with you. Enjoy!
“The festival is in full swing now. Today all day long there were constantly bands, complete with a retinue of Falleras, marching up one street or another and accompanied by the many explosions as everyone old enough to walk is setting off some firecracker or another. I think the guy at the pyrotechnics store was shocked that I wanted only one box of 50 bombetas (picture those snaps you used to be able to get that you could throw at the ground to make go boom…and triple the size).
I just got back from the 1am fireworks. It is the third night of fireworks (and there is one more night to go) but it was the first one I have made it too. The whole city was awake (including babes in strollers.) As I headed out at about 12:15 when I passed the pyrotechnics store it was still open. Surely you didn’t expect individual pyrotechnics to stop during the official fireworks.
As I walked over to the Turia (former river bed, now park, where the fireworks would be held) I had to smile as every restaurant and little corner store was open, not to mention stands set up with an impromptu bar or sausage stands. The churros, buñuelos y chocolate stands were still blazing, but this late at night they just smelled like tired oil, so my usual wish I could partake had fled for the night.
My route took me by the Ofrenda. The Fallas, from what I can tell has always been made of these wooden structures depicting scenes on the edge of what were the social norms. Sort of political protests that have been part of Valencia for centuries. Nonetheless this defiant behavior is tied in closely with the Church. The burning of the statues, the Cremat, occurs on S. Joseph day, and as part of the festival a giant wooden frame as the dress of the Virgin (holding the Child) is set up, and people stream in in traditional dress bearing flowers which will be woven into the frame. This is the Ofrenda. The procession today had started at 15:30 (3:30 pm) today and was just finishing up with some anthems as I passed through the square at about 0:30.
As I completed my walk I had to pity anyone who was trying to drive. I crossed two fairly major roads and people just walked through the middle (or danced and lay down depending on what group it was). No the streets weren’t closed, but that didn’t really matter.
The fireworks started on time and were wonderful to see and hear. Alongside the official fireworks there were a few local “booms” as people where I was standing set off their on firecrackers. It wasn’t until the walk home that someone decided to set off one of the ground flowers, on the main street, in the middle of a bunch of people. Other than some sprinting away no harm was done, but it did remind one to stay on their toes.
On the way back home some of the restaurants were closing up, but as I made it down my street I could hear parties in the tents of the Casals (the groups that worked to put up their neighborhood/corner Falla (of which there are over 300 in the city)). And as I type this I hear a band marching along down the street from here. Ah the party in the streets is still roaring (and booming) at 2:40 am.
And with that I sign off from Valencia Spain.”
Here are some shots that Rachel took the other night.