Sorry for those of you who enjoyed my blog last year, this ones been pretty crap by comparison. I'm still in Spain; however most of it's been more of a holiday than 'travelling'. So far I've spent time in Tarifa, Seville, Granada and Valencia and whiled the days away investigating the variety of tapas each city has to offer, kicking back on the beach or city park soaking up the sun or working on building up my pitiful red wine tolerance through the joy of Sangria.
I do have a general Spain musings blog in the works, but I'll save that until after I hit Barcelona, the main purpose of today's scribbling is to give a bit of a recap on La Tomatina, a festival based on a massive hour long tomato food fight in a small town just out of Valencia......
Actually, that's pretty much it!
We arrived in Valencia five days before the big fight. I've been travelling with Zilla, a friend of mine from Hobart for about a week before in Spain. We were meeting a group of about 8 Brits who were coming over for the week. Unfortunately we had out dates wrong and discovered the night before we were getting in a day early. The accommodation in Valencia is booked solid for the festival so we were lucky enough to get a hostel bed for the night before our hotel booking began.
The following day we moved into out awesome hotel met up with the rest of our crowd who'd flown in and we spent the next couple of days exploring Valencia. Which meant we spent the next couple of days investigating the variety of tapas on offer, kicking back on the beach or city parks and drinking Sangria....
The one thing we noticed was the vast majority of the tourists in town for Tomatina were Aussies. There must be something in the water, or our convict DNA, but the concept of a massive food fight is something that really appeals to those of us from the great nation Down Under. Although it's kind of annoying to hear that twangy accent in every shop, bus and elevator - I have to admit to being sorta proud that so many of my countrymen felt the pull to lob a tomato at a Spaniard.
The day began at an early 6am to make sure we get the train there early enough to get prime position on the main street. We'd all dressed ourselves in white to make sure we'd get good before and after photos. I may have overdone it a little bit compared to the rest of the group (see the phots), however it was worth it for some of the responses I got from a couple of the locals.
Once we got into the village, we joined the throngs of other people and made our way down to the main street. Luckily we'd got there early enough to get to the area where the tricks roll through and waited. And waited. And waited. The problem was none of us had won watched and had no idea how close it was to 11 when it began (that's not taking into account Spanish time, which is a big part of the next blog), but eventually a huge horn went off somewhere in the distance. And nothing happened.
The crowd by this point has getting pretty impatient. Although we'd been entertained by the locals dropping buckets of water on us from their apartments, and the Spanish 'Ripper Strippers' throwing the clothes of their victims into the crowd, be were ready for some squishy tomato action and wondering exactly how they were going to deliver the tomatoes down a narrow village streets packed shoulder to shoulder with people . Then the faint aroma of tomatoes spread through the streets and a truck appears around the corner. Seeing a truck half the width of the street somehow make its way through the crowd was pretty impressive (let's not discuss the OH&S issues).
As the truck made its way through the mass, we noticed there seemed to be no tomatoes coming out of it. What's going on? Is it not on this year? Are we too far away? The truck passed with the leader shaking his head saying 'No more' and the crowd feared the worst. It was a difficult 10 minutes, but all was not lost, another truck rounded the corner dropping tomatoes like red drops of gold, and the madness began. The road ran in a river of red and no one was left without some trace of tomato on their person. It was just a good as imagined, just like a food fight in a movie - so much fun.
As the ending horn sounded we made our way through the crowd to begin the pilgrimage back through the streets marvelling at the crowd that had seemed to becoming a unifying salmon colour. We spent the next couple of hours sitting in the street drinking beers, enjoying the sun and towards the end, watching drunk locals in bad shorts picking fights with the security because they weren't allowed on the train without a top.
So that's La Tomatina in a fairly large nutshell. One of the main reasons I went to Spain. I give it two thumbs up. That's all folks, more updates soon.