Las Fallas: Valencia’s Fiery Festival

    Las Fallas: Valencia’s Fiery Festival

    It’s the time of year  when all pyro’s can rejoice – Las Fallas! What is Las Fallas? It’s a crazy celebration in Valencia, in which they build tall wooden figurines (called fallas) and then burn them all to the ground from midnight on the final night! Each year, neighbourhoods and families of Valencia celebrate Las Fallas between the 15th to the 19th of March and the city is a non-stop party for the 5 days, filled with fireworks, firecrackers, bullfighting, paella contests and even beauty pageants. (more…)

    Lions and Tapas and Beers, Oh my!

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    Hola peeps

    It is with great sadness that this is my last post…. From Valencia! We are off to Ibiza bright and early tomorrow, with the hope that we can enjoy some sun, sand and surf (and maybe a club or two, if they are open)…

    With that in mind, I thought I’d take an opportunity to reflect on the week that was… (Cue dream sequence music here)…

    True to my word in my previous post, my man arrived on Saturday. Unfortunately, his bags did not… However, putting that aside, it was wonderful to be reunited again. I had spent the morning checking into our apartment (wonderfully located next to the food markets and in the centre of the city) and catching up with a friend who was visiting for the weekend. We feasted on an awesome ‘Menu del Día’, involving a 3 course feast with bread, water and, my favourite, sangria!

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    We then walked what seemed like the length of the whole city to sightsee and pick up tickets for the soccer game that night… Of course, with my exceptional luck, I was advised upon arriving at the stadium that the game had been changed to the night before, and therefore we had missed the game completely! Thank goodness we bought the cheapest tickets! After the initial shock and bursts of laughter that followed, my buddy and I moved on to take in more sights as we waited for Guy to arrive.

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    When he did finally arrive, we locked eyes at the station, and the orchestra chimed in before I whispered “kiss me Katut”… Wait… That was another story… But in all seriousness, it was great to see him again (albeit bagless). Then the three of us went out and ate… Chinese food! That’s right, Guy travelled for over 35 hours to eat Chinese food in Spain :p Then, with full stomachs, we all went our separate ways to rest for the big day ahead of eating and sightseeing…
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    Our Christmas was certainly untraditional. We started off with a few family Skype sessions and then headed to Bioparc, a zoo built to mimic the African wildlife. Now, it’s been many a few years since I visited the zoo last, and this trip certainly brought out the inner child and reinvigorated my love for zoos!

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    However, despite the non-traditional zoo visit, I was still able to spend part of my Christmas visiting a church (and a 207-stair bell tower).
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    And to top off the week that was, some yummy tapas, churros con chocolate, sangria and beers! Valencia, you’ve been great!
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    ¡Adios!

    How time flies…

    So I’ve realised it’s been over a week since my last post. What have I been up to, you may ask? Well lots and then at the same time, not much. Needing some time to recover from some ‘blogger’s block’ and rest my tired legs from the epic week of walking, I spent a little more time in my room studying and reflecting (as opposed to the sightseeing-every-minute week I had prior). One epiphany I had, during my reflection time, was along the lines of Dorothy’s sentiments of “There’s no place like home”, however for me, I’ve found that no matter how wonderful or exciting a city is, having someone to share it with firsthand only makes it better. Whilst I love sharing my adventures with you peeps, I am counting down the days until my other half arrives 🙂

    However, being solo in the city has not stopped me from enjoying myself. Since my last entry I have been to two free concerts at the Palau de la Música which were beautiful, inspiring and a wonderful way to spend consecutive Saturday mornings.

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    I also was lucky to meet Gulliver whilst on his travels and see girls dressed up in the traditional Valencian dress outside the cathedral.

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    I also checked out El Rastro; a market not unlike a Trash & Treasure, however on the Sunday I was there, it was more like Trash & More Trash. For anyone thinking of going, I wouldn’t waste your time. However, there are some lovely sights to see walking back to the city centre from there.

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    And of course, with food being one of my muses, a friend and I checked out Valencia’s version of Chinatown (however in this case, more like China street). Whilst I love my Spanish food, I realised quickly upon biting into my first bite, how much I love and missed my Chinese dishes. “You had me at dumpling…” I also explored El Mercado Central; a food market based in a beautiful gothic building. I tasted Turron, a sweet bar made essentially from almond meal and honey (which I love) and Horchata, a sweet cold drink made from a plant of some sorts (that, I didn’t like so much).

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    And of course, my other muse is shopping. It’s amazing how easy it is to pass the time and walk kms and kms without realising it when shopping. I think if there were shops in the gym, I would certainly get a better workout! I have done plenty of window shopping in stores like Zara, Blanco, Mango, Malaya (my favourite as I can actually afford it!) and Desigual (another favourite, however can’t justify the prices… Yet). And to ensure I am immersing myself in the Spanish life, I’ve bought a few Spanish cds. However, up until yesterday, I had managed to hold off on purchasing shoes. Yes, I know, what was wrong with me? The problems I’m facing is 1. The lack of allowed weight I have left in my suitcase (before being charged a ridiculous amount by the airline), and 2. The immense amount of shoes I already have (and therefore, lack of storage space) at home. However yesterday, I couldn’t hold back any longer and and gave in to my S.O.D (Shoe Obsession Disorder). Whilst they are not for everyone, I love them…

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    And one other thing I’ve enjoyed whilst here is the drama in the previously mentioned show ‘Mujeres y Hombres (y Vice Versa), currently featuring dreamy Christian. It’s become a long-running joke with my ‘mama’ that I am a big fan of Christian and his journey of finding ‘the one’…

    And it is on that note, I shall love you and leave you (so I can make it home in time to catch the finale!)

    Hasta luego peeps!

    NB: I’ve since realised it wasn’t the finale, which is fine by me, as it means I have more chances to swoon!

    For the love of food!

    For the love of food!

    One thing to note, the Valencians love their food. Which works just fine for me, as it’s a passion I can relate to.

    Lunches, I’ve found, are an exercise in itself. Most places offer 2 dishes, bread, dessert and a drink for one low price. My first day at the university cafeteria gave me a shock when I only had to pay 4,75€ for all of this:
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    (more…)

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