Las Fallas - Valencia
My favourite St. Patrick's Day I've ever had was in 2012 when I was living in Madrid. I took a day trip with some friends to Valencia on the East Coast of Spain to take part in the festival of Las Fallas (the double "l" is pronounced like a "y") and the adventure was as memorable as they come. The festivities, starting on the 1st of March, are in celebration of Saint Joseph and run until the 19th. Fallas is all about making a bang. Fire is everywhere, from fireworks in the sky to firecrackers at your feet. Neighbourhoods spend the entire year planning, fundraising, and building their own parade-float-like figure filled with firecrackers to be on display until the end of the festival, when all but one are burnt in massive fires. You can learn more about the festival as a whole and it's history here.
My day started before 7 am in Madrid, when I got on the metro to meet up with two friends. We had heard about bus trips which left Madrid at 9am and returned by 9am the next day. I'm not sure we entirely knew what we had signed up for but we joined hundreds of students on a 24 hour trip to the coast.
We arrived in Valencia shortly after noon and met up for paella on an outdoor patio with a few other friends who had also made the trip from Madrid. We spent the afternoon taking in the sights and sounds of Valencia during Fallas including the unique statues, parades of people bringing flower offerings to The Virgen Mary, and fire crackers galore.
Somehow we managed to connect with a group of Valencians through a friend of a friend, who took us out for Agua de Valencia at one of their favourite spots I never learnt the name of. Afterwards we picked up some food and drinks from a grocery store and went to their appartment for supper. We had a fun evening making new friends while we waited for the 1am firework show.
The remainder of the night was spent dancing in the streets until we met the rising sun at the bus to return to Madrid. We had a full day to recover before being back at work Monday, while the city of Valencia was busy doing it all again. And again.
I captured some video throughout the day (one of my first times shooting anything but stills) and put it together below.