We were all feeling a little more subdued after our late night on Saturday, so we decided to get started later (around noon), and then take our time wandering. The weather was perfect, the birds were chirping, the fireworks were going off, and all was right in the world. Fireworks play constantly in the air at this time of year, from incredibly loud bangs to lights shot high into the air or decorating the sidewalks.
We ended up across the Turia riverbed in a search for a grocery store, and also found a small pub where we ate lunch and watched part of a soccer game (Valencia and Mallorca’s teams). We were there about two hours, talking and considering the ways that American and Spanish culture are different, especially around big-league sports. An Asian couple ran the place, and the man remarked (in Spanish) that we were eating authentic Spanish food prepared by a Chinese man. Brilliant.
After siesta, we again hit the streets to hunt down dinner… and ended up in an American Tavern, oddly enough. The Spanish interpretation of American culture has a few funny parts, and it seemed that this particular restaurant drilled “attentive waiter” into every single member of the wait staff. That being said, there were fireworks ornaments strung throughout the restaurant for the Fallas festival.
So, what is the Fallas? One of the major festivals in Spain, the Fallas festival is a several-week long extravaganza that changes the entire city. Think of the hoopla around Mardi Gras. Multiply that by Brazil’s Carnivale, and you may be getting close. Check out this link, too.
Throughout the city, there are different sculptures in various states of assembly, and many of them are incredible works of art. Each Falla team creates their own theme, so some are political statements, some are fanciful interpretations of folk stories, and some are everything and more.
After dinner, we walked around to look at the Fallas sculptures and admire the craftsmanship and artful interpretation of many themes. We were kind of at a loss on this one, though. Here’s what we could understand:
- The horse is the U.S.
- The red-haired girl in hot pants (!!!) is France, and she is carrying a banner with “Liberte, Equalite, and Fraternite”
- The very, very angry guy on the back of the horse is an enigma to us… perhaps the Spanish Inquisition?
- There’s also a dude eatingbuenelos, the Spanish equivalent of carnival fried dough, in the back of the sculpture
See what I mean? Not very clear in every instance. The artistry in these pieces is truly incredible.