I spent five days in Valencia before La Tomatina festival in August this year and had the best week ever… Valencia is Spain’s third largest city, and is an extremely stunning city with a vast amount of marble everywhere. In the centre the pavements are all marble with these wonderful designs carved into them
One of Valencia’s major claims to fame is that it has the only Vatican recognised bit of the Holy Grail in it, so we decided to visit the cathedral where it is supposed to be. The Cathedral was gorgeous with its bright blue domes. The so called Holy Grail cup is kept behind the glass but it was definitely worth a visit
The beach is about a 30 minute ride from the city centre by local bus which was always good fun. The beach is the sand was very soft and water very warm and the weather couldn’t have been better for soaking up the summer sun..
We did have a few nights out on the town in which was a lot of fun we went to Barri del Carme which is the main nightlife destination in Valencia. There are plenty of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs to choose from, it is worth mentioning that Valencia has a huge number of lady boys. We noticed quite a few of them, just wondering up and down the street and not just at night time either it is very hard to keep a straight face when they walk past you due to the fact that they are obviously not ladies
After our few days in Valencia we headed to a little town called Brunol for the tomato throwing festival. The festival was started to celebrate the end of the picking season, and every year it gets bigger and bigger attracting people from all over the world I think this year there were about 40,000 people and over 140 tones of tomatoes were to be thrown, the worlds biggest food fight, quite possibly and I was part of it.
The small town of Brunol, is about a 40 minute train ride from Valencia, and was full of people from all over the world. As we arrived into Brunol you can feel the excitement in the air and atmosphere was just electric and we just headed to a small café for our first beer of the day not a bad start to the day
The walk into the actual town was loads of fun there are stalls selling everything that you could possible require for the festival, many people were actually buying swimming goggles which was amusing, you could even buy your beer for the walk
As you arrive into the main street it is an amazing sight. A very small and peaceful little town comes alive for one day. With thousands of people and cramming into the little streets and it’s still only 09:30
As the clock slowly starts to tick towards 10am the whole place is alive and the excitement of actually throwing something is all too much and people start throwing there t-shirts, shorts and I am sure a pair of boxers whizzed past me at some point. At the other end of the street, people are drowning each other in water from all directions, even the little old ladies watching from the safety of their balcony are chucking buckets onto the crowds below..
Then at about 10 am, there is an almighty bang like a firecracker and everyone starts cheering , then just rounds the old town corner you catch a glimpse of the first 40 tone dump trucks stacked full of Ripe Red Roma Tomatoes! This is when the chant of “Tomatina” is belted out by the crowd.
The truck drives on tooting its horn trying to get through the crowds and then it suddenly just stopped. I wasn’t really sure what was happening at this point but then the truck started to tip its backload and thousands of lovely red tomatoes start to fall from the back on to the street and people below.. This is when the madness began, Tomatoes are being thrown from every direction again the little old ladies on their balconies have there on buckets and are joining in the fun.
Already I can see the next truck of tomatoes making its way to the main street ready to hit the carnage that is taking place, over the next hour the area look like the site of a massacre and people are screaming with laughter and trying to keep their balance and not fall into the tomato pulp
At exactly 11am and being hit numerous times and covered in tomato the throwing is over and the locals are out with their hoses spraying everyone with freezing cold water, which was gratefully required by myself, after the festival we headed to the nearest bar for sum much needed Sangria before heading back to Valencia for one more night before home.
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