Paris in Under 2 Days

If, prior to my year living abroad, someone had told me that the first time I would really visit Paris, I would be trying to cram everything in to less than 2 days.. well I would tell them that they were nuts. Yet, alas, that was exactly how it happened.

With less than 48 hours until my flight to Madrid leaving from Charles de Gaulle airport, I arrived to the City of Light bright-eyed and bushy tailed, wondering just how much I would actually achieve in just a couple of days. The answer? A lot.

Day 1 – Afternoon

My train arrived in Paris just after lunch-time, meaning I had the whole afternoon to get going with sightseeing. The very first thing that I did, before even leaving Austerlitz train station was buy a packet of 10 metro tickets. I would advise everyone to do this. It works out cheaper than buying a single ticket each use, and I only had 1 left spare at the end of my stay.

I then made my way, by metro, to my hotel/hostel. I say hotel/hostel because although it was advertised as a hostel online, the room that I stayed in could just about pass as a hotel room. The only qualm I had was that despite there being a shower in the room, there wasn’t a toilet and I found that pretty odd. Nevertheless, my comfortable room on the sixth floor (climbing six flights of stairs multiple times per day counts as cardio right?!) did the job. If anyone reading this is looking for affordable, well located accommodation along with a work out then I would suggest giving the Hotel Montmartre Clignancourt a go. You can find out more about it here: http://www.hotelmontmartreclignancourt.com/en/

Once checked in, I headed out on to the street feeling pretty clueless about where to even begin. My hotel was only a 5 minute walk from the Basilica du Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre, so that’s where I decided to make my way to first. It was beautiful from both the bottom of the stairs and the top. Definitely worth a visit. Plus by climbing even more stairs I made sure to burn off all of the calories I gained by eating macarons! If you follow the road to the left of the Basilica you will come to a plaza full of cafés and restaurants. It all looked lovely but extremely touristy a.k.a. overpriced. I opted for my favourite iced tea and a cookie from Starbucks instead before descending the stairs once again and heading in the direction of my next destination which I was extremely excited about!

IMG_2602IMG_2627My first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower from Montmartre

After quite a bit of walking, and even more attempting to work my way around the Parisian metro system I managed to reach the one thing I had been waiting for – the Eiffel Tower! This is obviously THE most touristy thing you can do in Paris, if not the world, but that does not mean that it isn’t worth it – because it totally was! To me it’s something that everyone should tick off of their bucket list and I’m so glad that now I have. The time I spent queuing wasn’t too bad at all, but maybe that had something to do with the fact that I was there in the middle of the week before the Easter holidays had began in France. My only tip is that if you are under 25 take ID with your DOB on it! I only took my student card thinking that it would be enough, but it seems that in Paris they don’t care if you are a student, and you can only get free/discounted entry to places with proof of age. Luckily, the nice lady at the Eiffel Tower ticket booth took my youthful appearance as enough proof that I am still just a spring chicken, however the next time I might not be so lucky.

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Day 1 – Evening

My last spot of sightseeing for the day was the Arc de Triomphe. On leaving the metro it was located directly in front of me, thus I expected it to be extremely easy to get to. I thought wrong. After going round and round in circles around the monument for longer than I’d like to admit, I realised some stairs leading underground with ‘ARC DE TRIOMPHE’ carved in stone above them. ‘This is dodgy’, I thought but went with it anyway. The stairs lead to an underground tunnel, where you can buy your tickets and then climb up to the top. There was also a military museum inside. The view from the top was spectacular, a panorama of the whole city including the Eiffel tower. It was the perfect place to be at sunset.

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By the time I had headed back to my hotel, washed and changed it was almost 10pm. After a long day of hoofing it about town without a proper sit down meal I was ravenous. I had a quick look on Trip Advisor to see where would still be serving food at that time and was lucky to find something just across the road from my accommodation! Although the food at Le Panorama wasn’t very French, it was damn tasty and the service was second to none. I had a lovely carbonara, one of the best I’ve ever had, washed down with a rosé which was recommended by the garçon. To finish off I savoured a delicious crème brûlée before nipping back across the street and in to my bed to rest for the next day of adventure.

If you’re ever in the Montmartre area of Paris and looking for somewhere to have a nice meal, I couldn’t recommend Le Panorama more: http://www.abpanorama.com/ .

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Day 2 – Morning

Straight after I checked out I headed to the 1st arrondissement where the Louvre is located. However, prior to checking out some art on canvas, I wanted to sample some gastronomic art so I strolled along Rue de Rivoli until I arrived at the tea house I was looking for – Angelina. I had read online that this was where they sold the best hot chocolate in Paris and I would be damned if I left the city without tasting it. I treated myself to a white hot chocolate and what we call in north east Scotland a ‘funcy piece’ named Duchesse. It was one of the most lavishly decorated places that I have ever visited and if most of the other customers hadn’t been dressed similar to me I would have felt highly underdressed. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my breakfast, but not enough to justify the price. Angelina was one of those ‘I’ve been, I’ve seen and I probably wont go back’ kind of places.

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Next it was time to go across the road to the Louvre. I remember being taken aback by a strange feeling of astonishment when I first laid eyes on it. Partly because it was much more beautiful than I had imagined and also because I suppose that I have seen it in so many pictures, films etc. that seeing it right in front of me with my own eyes was a bit surreal. After taking some snaps I headed in to the queue and once past security tried to find the ticket office. Once I had found the ticket office (it took me a while as I was having a mega blond moment) a kind member of staff told me that I didn’t need to pay for entry because I am under 25! What a boost! I was expecting to have to pay a fortune to enter such a prestigious gallery, but luckily, because I had already learned my lesson about carrying proof of age I had taken my driving licence and got in without having to pay a penny! As someone who loves visiting museums, especially by myself because I can go at my own pace, this was the perfect way to pass a few hours. I could have spent all day there – or longer! I decided to tackle the Italian and Spanish wing, therefore I was able to lay eyes on the well-known Mona Lisa amongst other (and in my opinion better) paintings. For me the Louvre was completely free and one of the highlights of my trip!

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IMG_2783IMG_2812The Mona Lisa

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Day 2 – Afternoon

After being slightly let down by the ‘best hot chocolate Paris has to offer’ I was hoping that Ladurée’s macarons weren’t going to do the same as I crossed the Seine and walked to their closest patisserie. Anyone who knows me knows that I am in love with macarons, so for me not to visit Ladurée, where they sell 15,000 of them every day would have been impossible. I decided to go for orange blossom, lemon, salted caramel and rose flavoured macarons – they did not disappoint! 10/10, the best macarons I have ever tasted in my life. Slightly less expensive than Angelina had been, and 110% worth the cost. I can’t wait to go back and if you are ever in Paris you should go too!

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After having filled up on confectionary I was ready to try and find the last place on my to-do list – the Shakespeare & Company bookstore. I thoroughly enjoyed the 15 minute walk  through little streets full of unique boutiques and even did a little bit of shopping on my way there. It was definitely and area I’d like to return to with more time to spend there. Finally I arrived at the famous bookshop. From a book lover’s point of view it was fantastic. Again, I could have spent all day there, as well as blowing my entire bank balance. There were lots of neuks and crannies where you could curl up and get lost in a good story, and even resident cats to cuddle while you do so. Eventually I managed to settle on some of Rabbie Burns’ poetry, a book about Norse mythology and a Bukowski novel before heading on my way. This is one place that yet again I cannot wait to revisit and would advise anyone who is in to reading to check out. It was a boost that it just so happened to be across the road from Notre Dame de Paris which I didn’t think that I was going to have time to see! But unfortunately by that point it was time to go to the airport so I was unable to explore Notre-Dame any further.

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So there you have it, how I managed to cram my whole Parisian bucket list in to under 2 days. It certainly wasn’t relaxing but I managed to accomplish everything that I had hoped to and someday will go back for more.

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A Day in Amboise

After devouring a whole block of 6 month old comté (living in France has caused me to gain a slight cheese problem), I feel fuelled to write my next post about my day in a lovely little town upon the Loire, Amboise.

Living in a small town can become a bit boring after sometime, and in my case, after a few weekends spent in Blois (where I currently live) I was ready to explore a new area in the Val du Loire region. A few co-workers had recommended I took a jaunt to Amboise and that was all the encouragement I needed to book a ticket and hop on the first train heading there on a cool but bright January morning.

Luckily, the journey only lasted about a quarter of an hour, and before I knew it I was stood at the entrance of Amboise train station squinting at google maps and trying to work out where to go next. The walk from the station to the centre of town took around 20 minutes and thanks to mobile GPS it wasn’t too difficult to navigate my way there.

Amboise 1amboise 2My first glimpse of Amboise

As I reached the old town centre I felt like I had taken a step back in time with all of the little old-fashioned boutiques and the almost imposing castle. All of the Christmas decorations were still in place as in France they are left up until Candlemas which is usually celebrated at the beginning of February. The sparkly Christmas lights, tinsel and wreaths just added an extra hint of magic to the atmosphere. I decided to begin by having a wander around the shops as they intrigued me. There was a nice mixture of shops selling clothes, household items, souvenirs and other knick-knacks. Best of all though, were the patisseries which gave off the most scrumptious aromas. My favourite was the well known Patisserie Bigot. I was greeted by helpful staff who politely chit-chatted away to me in French and gave me a taste of their heavenly chocolate. I ended up purchasing some melt-in-your-mouth macaroons as a treat for myself and some marzipan fruits to send to my Grandma. Both of which were delicious and cheaper than I expected them to be considering the great reputation of Patisserie Bigot. After reading some of the reviews online I do wish that I had sat in their little café for lunch or at least a cup of tea and a fancy piece, in fact I might even make a trip back to Amboise for that reason alone! It’s no wonder that this cute wee patisserie has been on the go for 105 years with it’s amazingly high quality produce and service!

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Amboise 3The wonderful Patisserie Bigot
After spending up my euros on souvenirs and sugary treats I decided to take a look at some of the historical landmarks which Amboise has to offer. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to go inside of the castle because there was some kind of event happening, but to be honest I didn’t fancy paying €20 to enter anyway. Instead I decided to head towards the Château du Clos Lucé which was a 10 minute walk away from the centre of town. In hindsight, I am so glad that I did this! The Château du Clos Lucé is where Leonardo Da Vinci lived for the final three years of his life and also where he died in 1519. I handed €10 over to the smiley woman on the front desk before stepping in to Da Vinci’s world. To me the best part of being inside the castle was seeing the study where such a great mind worked. I also enjoyed being in the great dining hall where the fireplace was still crackling away. Down in the basement there was a little museum dedicated to his work and inventions made as a military engineer.
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After completing my tour of the castle I decided to have a walk around Leonardo’s garden. There was a race taking part and the marshals were dressed in old-fashioned clothes which made the experience even more surreal. The gardens were beautiful and relaxing. You could just sit on a bench and take the world in, it was really lovely. After making my way around the garden for quite some time, I stumbled across an art museum displaying some of Da Vinci’s paintings and drawings. I was pleased to be told that entry to the gallery was covered in the price of my ticket – definitely €10 well spent! Thus, I spent more time marvelling at  Da Vinci’s work before making my way out of the castle grounds.
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Some of Da Vinci’s works displayed in the gallery at the Château du Clos Lucé 
On my way back to the town centre a sign boasting ‘viewpoint’ peaked my interest. I followed the sign and climbed up A LOT of steep steps to the viewpoint. It was worth breaking a sweat for as it offered a stunning panorama of Amboise. The viewpoint gained bonus points for being peaceful with not a soul in sight. I sat and soaked up the afternoon sun whilst overlooking the petite town for a while before heading back to the town plaza where I savoured a rich hot chocolate.
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A quick selfie from the look-out point
I began walking back to the train station, assuming that Amboise had given me everything it had to offer. How wrong I was! The icing on the cake was still to come. If you have read any of my previous posts you will be aware of my admiration of sunsets. That evening the sunset was an absolute peach and just by chance I caught it as I was crossing a bridge over the Loire river, it made my day.
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The Loire Valley is popular with tourists for many reasons, the main one being the castles. If for whatever reason you are drawn to this little corner of the world, a day in Amboise is most definitely a good idea.

4 Things to Do in Barcelona

The capital of Catalonia is up there as one of my all time favourite cities to have visited. Here are 4 activities to give a go if you ever come across the opportunity to visit the Mediterranean paradise.

1. Park Güell

Park Güell is one of the most magical places I have ever been to. My friends and I naïvely decided that it would be a good idea to walk to the park from the city centre. Little did we know that a) we would have to practically hike up a mountain to get there, and b) wearing clothing suitable to the time of year was actually a huge mistake and would result in us sweating our asses off. That didn’t stop us though, together we climbed our way up to Antoni Gaudi’s wonderland in the surprisingly scorching December sun. My only regret about visiting the park is that I wished I could have spent more time there, marvelling at the amazing architecture, mosaic work and above all the dazzling views of the Barcelona skyline. On the evening of our visit, my friends and I were lucky enough to witness a beautiful Barcelonian sunset from a quiet, secluded area of the hill. I actually think we had climbed so far up the mountain that we had left the park, but that just made the moment even more special. Watching the flurry of pinks and purples fill the sky over one of the most enchanting cities in the world with my closest friends was an experience  I wish could have lasted forever.

I would recommend that anyone who visits Barcelona ensures that they make plenty time to see the sun glinting off of the landscapes and Gaudi’s masterpieces in Park Güell. And as fulfilling as the walk to the park was, I’d suggest taking a taxi, or at least the metro because you will want to save all of your time and energy for making the most of the final destination.

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    Couldn’t resist capturing this little bit of Caledonia in Catalonia.
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2. Barceloneta Beach

Again, another place I wish we had been able to spend longer exploring (4 days in Barcelona really is not enough!) This really is a lovely little beach and perfect for if you fancy taking some time out from sightseeing to just catch some rays and watch the world go by, or even to play some volleyball. There are lots of lovely shops and restaurants nearby which is really handy. The beach is also located across from a cable cart collection point. Once again, the sunset over La Barceloneta did not disappoint.

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3. Parc de la Ciutadella

I can think of so many reasons to visit this lovely greenspace. If people watching and feeling the sun on your face isn’t enough, there are live musicians and circus performers aplenty to keep you entertained. Within the park you can also find a gorgeous fountain, topped with lavish gold horses, Barcelona Zoo, the Catalan Parliament, a lake where you can rent a rowing boat, a science museum and the cool mammoth statue which you can see below. It would take a  really long time to get bored of Parc de la Ciutadella. One of the great advantages of visiting here is that there is plenty space, even during the weekend we were able to find somewhere to sit and didn’t have to wait to be served a quick snack. If you do visit the park, you might even get lucky like we did and get the chance to watch some cute wee green birdies eating their dinner.

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4. The Columbus Monument

You can find the 60 metre high monument at the point where Christopher Columbus first set foot on Spanish soil after returning from his discovery of the Americas. It truly is a lovely sight to see. However, this suggestion is not only about the statue itself but also the area surrounding it. It is a lovely part of the city to just wonder around, munching on warm churros from one of the catering vans if you so desire. There is also a large shopping centre with plenty places to eat, which sadly we didn’t get the chance to take advantage of. Moreover, the monument is located close to the port, which makes for some nice photo opportunities.

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So there you have it, Barcelona really is as wonderful as Ed Sheeran’s catchy new pop song makes it out to be.

Porto

When my best girlfriends and I arrived in Porto back in November, not even the drizzle could dampen our spirits. As we’re currently spending a year scattered across Europe, any opportunity to spend some quality time together is worth seizing and bargain flights destined for Porto International Airport were enough to convince us to explore a new region of the Iberian peninsula. Perhaps this post will entice you to do the same someday.

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Where We Stayed

Last April I converted to being an Airbnb user and I haven’t looked back! For anyone who might not be familiar with the concept, Airbnb.com is a website which allows you to stay in spare rooms/apartments in the homes of other Airbnb users for a fee much lower than most hotels!  It is a fantastic way to get to know habitants of the country you are visiting and to really immerse yourself in the culture. Not only this, but using the site has allowed my friends and I to stay in decent accommodation in perfect locations on a students budget! I would recommend the service to anyone. The Airbnb where we stayed during our time in Porto was one example of such affordable accommodation in an ideal area. Our apartment was placed on Rue Santa Catarina, Porto’s liveliest shopping street and a 5-10 minute walk from the city centre. The accommodation we chose was an entire apartment, including 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen and a living area. The open-plan setup may not be have been everybody’s cup of tea, yet I found it refreshing and added to the character of the flat. The only qualm was the fact that the nippy cool temperatures from outside followed us inside, however it was November and in Iberia they’re not really big on heating, instead adopting a ‘the colder you are the more layers you put on’ attitude – so I let that one slide.

Overall the Airbnb we used was comfortable & stylish. If you are interested in learning more about it you can do so here:  https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/5788565 .

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What We Ate

Being students, eating out during our jaunts is usually cheap and cheerful. Nevertheless the appetizing cuisine was one of the highlights of my weekend in Porto. We ate like queens on a pauper’s budget. On our first evening we ate at an affordable diner-style restaurant. The Portuguese-English language barrier between ourselves and the staff made it evident that this wasn’t the usual ‘over-priced to con the tourists’ kind of place (we survived by speaking Spanish and hoping they would understand despite being mildly offended). Furthermore, the restaurant was packed with locals which is always a good sign when the aim is to get an authentic taste of local culture. It was in this restaurant where I tried my first francesihna, which I can only describe as a croc monsieur on steroids! Luckily I was ravenous following my day of travel, otherwise I would never have succeeded in gobbling up the humungous slab of bread, ham, sausage, and steak clarted in cheese sauce, beer sauce and warm tomato purée put on front of me. However, finishing the giant portion of chips which accompanied the Portuguese speciality would have just been gluttonous. The meal being washed down with a fruity Portuguese sangria was the icing on the cake and I was left anticipating which delicious dish would I discover next.

The following morning we were pleasantly surprised once again by the low price of our high quality breakfast. The wet weather had left us drenched and yearning for something warm in our stomachs. Fortunately the old fashioned wee café we stumbled in to off of Rue Santa Catarina provided just that. We were heated up by a healthy serving of Caldo Verde, a traditional potato and kale soup which originates from northern Portugal.  The soup was served alongside a toasty freshly made bread roll. We also treated ourselves to a coffee and Portuguese pastry which fuelled us with energy for the busy day of exploration. And for a total of €3, we were pretty impressed.

And finally the beverage which tickled my taste buds the most – a steaming hot mug of incredible mulled port. I cannot think of anything better to do than to sit drinking mulled port with your best friends and watching the world go by, on a cold November evening. I felt all warm and fuzzy inside and I believe that the cosy drink in my hands was responsible to a large extent. I can confirm that it was far more delicious than any mulled wine or cider I have ever tasted. After a few more litres of Portuguese sangria (at €5 per pitcher it would have been rude not to) it was no surprise that we rounded up the final evening of our city break feeling pretty merry.

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What We Saw

I firmly believe that a weekend is the perfect amount of time to spend visiting Porto. In just under 2 days we succeeded in seeing almost every attraction which we had hoped to and I feel that a week would have been too long and we would have become bored. We began our Saturday morning by taking the tram out of town to Praia de Matosinhos where we passed a few hours strolling on the beach, watching the paragliders take advantage of the blustery winds and of course playing on the kiddies zip-line (this entertained us for longer than you would expect it to amuse a bunch of twenty-somethings).

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By the time we had returned to the city the rain wasn’t taking time to fall. This didn’t stop us discovering the stunning architecture or the older part of town though. I have always admired the time-consuming art of Portuguese ‘azulejo’ tilework and enjoyed having the opportunity to see it in person. To me, the loveliest example which we stumbled across was this blue and white church beside Bolhão metro station.

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On Saturday afternoon we walked from the centre of town to the Duoro river. The trek was wet and windy but worth it. I can’t help but wonder how much more beautiful the river banks would have been had the sun been shining though, and I must admit that the descent to the river was rather dangerous due to the steep old fashioned steps being extremely slippery. Luckily the terracotta roofs brightened up the scene a bit, as we got our first glimpses of Ponte Dom Luis, the gigantic bridge crossing the Duoro.

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We made the decision to cross Ponte Dom Luis, the high winds and poor visibility due to the intense rainfall made this decision a pretty treacherous one as we risked being blasted in to the icy water below. Upon reaching the other side we were dripping from head to toe, but ever the adventurers we pushed on along the riverbank making our best efforts to not be forced in to taking an unwanted swim. Eventually we arrived at our intended destination, a cable car pick-up station. I think that by this point we were more excited about being able to dry off for 5 minutes than seeing the beautiful city sparkling with light on a dark winter night. Nevertheless, the delicate twinkling along the river really was quite pretty. The ride came to an end far too quickly and once again we were begrudgingly left out in the cold. Thankfully mother nature had decided to give us a break and the weather had dried up slightly. Our last port of call in Porto was crossing the Maria Pia bridge, as not only did it lead us back in to the centre of town but the views over the Duomo were spectacular. Pont Maria Pia is definitely not for the fainthearted or those with a fear of heights, at 60 metres tall. Yet in spite of the terrifying drop beneath me I was glad to have made the journey by foot across Gustave Eiffel’s final creation.

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Porto may not be at the top of your travel bucket list, it wasn’t number one on mine either, but it should unquestionably be on there somewhere. I would recommend visiting during warmer months, I’m sure that my friends who had to put up with my continual whining about the weather wished that we had. Regardless, the cuisine and architecture really made this charming little western Iberian city stand out for me.

 

 

Las Fallas

The name ‘Spain’ usually provokes images of sunny beaches, sangria and castanet clad flamenco dancers in people’s minds. But whilst living there for four months it came apparent to me that what the Spanish really do best is partying! There is nothing quite like a Spanish fiesta and Las Fallas is no exception.

During my time teaching English in Valencia I was made aware, on a regular basis, of the spectacle that is Las Fallas (Falles in Valencian language). In fact, it was whilst I was living there that Las Fallas was granted it’s current status on the UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage of humanity list. Thus, not even the extortionate price of flights could keep me away from one of my favourite cities in the world for this special weekend.

Arriving at Valencia airport at 8pm meant heading straight out to meet all of my friends at my former regular drinking spot (Focus, Benimaclet), after a 40 minute metro journey of course. Due to the fact that in Spain no party really begins until at least after midnight this was the perfect opportunity to line our stomachs with patata bravas and tortilla, and of course a couple of tinto de veranos. (Tinto de verano being the less touristy, better tasting equivalent of sangria which Spaniards drink much more frequently).

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Filling up in ‘Focus’.

Then from Benimaclet we hoofed it over to the old river bed, known to locals as the ‘Jardins du Túria’, to witness one of the most breath-taking firework displays I have ever laid my eyes on. It was spectacular, and the stunning scenery simply made the whole event even more sensational. During the firework display we took part in a good old botellón, which is basically Spanish for ‘drinking lots of alcohol in an outdoor public place’ and is the equivalent of ‘pre-drinks’. We followed this by listening to one of the many bands playing live music whilst sipping on beers we picked up for €1 during a stroll through the park.

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By far the most enjoyable experience of the weekend, at least in my opinion, was the street parties surrounding  almost every falla. My friends and I spent our Friday night boogying to a live DJ playing an energising mix of well-known songs in both Spanish and English. The atmosphere was electric and the best part of all – unlike at most organized events in the UK, the drinks sold at pop-up street bars cost next to nothing. For me the only let down was that it all ended so soon! Finishing a party at 4am is extremely early by Spanish standards. Yet, with incredible music, a crowd full of potential new friends and €1 vodka shots how can anyone complain?

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On Saturday we were rudely awakened by the ‘La Despertà’, a morning parade of brass bands and people throwing fire crackers, the purpose of which is to wake up the city so that the celebrations can commence for the day! In the eyes of the Spanish there is no time to sleep when there is a party to be had! My friends and I spent our day wandering the streets of the city centre, taking in all of the marvellous fallas. On the final day of the festival the winning falla is chosen and all of the others are burned – an event called ‘La Cremà‘ which unfortunately I was unable to attend. However, the fallas were all so varied and intriguing that to me choosing the best seemed practically impossible.

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A few examples of some of the many fallas.

The final event which we took part in was ‘La Mascletà’ – a fireworks and firecracker display which oddly happens during the middle of the day! This event takes place in the Plaça de l’Ajuntament at 2pm every single day of the two week long festival. Despite being there more than an hour before it began we were unable to find a space in the crowd where we could see anything so decided to have a botellón and soak up the atmosphere instead.

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And lastly, the light displays. I remember feeling disappointed with the poor effort made by the Valencians at Christmas time due to their lack of festive lighting, however I now understand the reasoning behind it all – they were saving the best for Las Fallas! As with the fallas, a winning light display is chosen on the closing day of the festival and boy, do they pull out all the stops!

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Thus, sadly came the end to my fun filled  weekend lapping up the oh so rich Valencian culture showcased during this fabulous festival and I wouldn’t have spent it any other way!

 

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