After a bus ride from Barcelona, we arrived in Valencia for the final night of Las Fallas.
In a nutshell, Las Fallas is one of the many festivals celebrated by the Spanish just because they can, and to commemorate St Joseph. Each neighbourhood in the city of Valencia spend all year fundraising, organising and constructing these giant falla, whose fate is an eventual burn to the ground on the night of La Crema (the Burning).
My first impressions of the festival consisted of dark alleys, loud noises, and flashing lights like some kind of video game I’ve never played.
Arriving at the first falla and this quickly changes into a Disney film I haven’t seen yet. The statues are huge, whimsical and detailed. And are about to be turned into nothing but ash and rubble.
At the next falla we are greeted by fireworks well within ear-shattering and shrapnel-showering range. A festival like this would never be allowed in my nannied country of Australia. Possibly it wouldn’t be allowed in most. But lucky for us it is embraced in Spain. The country of bull, wine, and tomato fights. Anything goes really.
I stare in awe of the fireworks. No matter how old we get, fireworks still manage to revert us to neck-craned, slack-jawed, oohing and ahhing children.
And then the strategically shoved crackers go off on the pieces of art, which are up in flames in seconds. The prior fireworks signifying a gun salute to the about to be fallen fallas.
We sprint to make it to the burning of the biggest falla (it just doesn’t seem right to write that). And just like the opera I experienced at the Blue Grotto in Isle of Capri, Italy, the singing in the background adds to the moment. The “mouth open, gobsmacked, would you look at this moment”.
Water, ash and flames drip from the sky, lit up by fireworks yet masked by flumes of smoke.
We wander back to the bus weary but kept awake by the booming which has now become accustomed background noise.