Following our exertions at the beginning of the week, we had a relaxing Thursday morning. We caught the metro into town after lunch and wandered around town admiring the fallas.
We had dinner in a Basque bar, similar to those in San Sebastian where the pintxos are displayed along the top of the bar, and in the square outside there was a gathering of ladies in traditional dress (aka falleras).
Next it was on to the flamenco show. This was held in a small venue called Radio City, down a side street not far from the Mercardo. There were about 50 in the audience, and the group was on stage for about about an hour. We both really enjoyed the show. The singer’s voice was so soulful, and the way the dancer stamped her feet to the rhythm of the music whilst dancing was incredible. The photo isn’t great, but you get the idea.
Yesterday we were up early bright and early for a trip to Xàtiva, just under an hour from town. We’d intended getting the 10:53 train, but when we tried to buy tickets at the machine, it said the train was full and so we had to catch a later train instead.
With over a couple of hours to kill, we headed for the Plaça de la Reina to have a coffee whilst watching the world go by. There seemed to be a big parade going on, with groups of people in the traditional costumes followed by a marching band. The parade was seemingly endless, it was an organised chaos.
I love travelling by train whilst abroad, as each country seems to have its different quirks, and it’s always an experience. We managed to work out which train we needed to catch and from which platform, and we whiled the journey away looking out of the window as we passed through the suburbs into the rural areas and through the odd town. As we got further away from Valencia, we could see that many towns and villages had their own fallas, so Las Fallas must be a provincial thing, and not just confined to the city.
Once in Xàtiva we found the tourist information who gave us a map. The town dates back to the Romans, and the Moors also settled here. It’s famous for it’s castle, perched on top of the hill. We followed the path on the map, but only went half way up as it was way too hot.
Once back in the town we checked out the local fallas before stopping for an ice cream, and we decided that we would return to Valencia. Our ticket back was a timed one for a couple of hours later, but I played the tourist card with the guy in the ticket office, and he let us through.
Back in Valencia the parade was still going, only this time the falleras were wearing lace veils and carrying flowers. The route ended in the Plaça de la Virgen where there’s a wooden structure of the Virgin Mary, and each of the falleras gives their bunch of flowers as an offering. These are then placed in the wooden structure to make up Mary’s robe.
Getting around was chaotic, as barriers were in place and many of the roads were closed. It took over half an hour to get back to the metro, when the usual walk is less than 10 minutes.
The weather’s been great today so we stayed on site. I went out on my bike, cycling through the orange groves and the next door town, which was really enjoyable.
I haven’t had a shave for a couple of weeks as I’ve never had a beard before. I’ll probably leave it for a couple more weeks, and then shave it off, another one to cross off the bucket list!
Tomorrow is La Crema, the climax of Las Fallas, when they set light to all of the fallas. They start off on the outskirts of town and work their way through to the centre of town. At midnight there’s a big display where they set light to the fallas in the Plaça de l’Ajuntament, complete with pyrotechnics. It’s quite an event, and is shown live on national TV. We had originally planned to watch La Crema in the main square, but it’s going to be absolute chaos, so we’ve decided that we’ll spend the afternoon in town and get back to the camp site after dinner, and watch proceedings from the comfort of the bar.