Visit Valencia for the spring festival “Falles”

Photo by Robert Königshausen
Photo by Robert Königshausen

Visit Valencia for the spring festival “Falles”

by Robert Königshausen
Stripes Europe

One of the funniest spring festivals takes place in March, in the Spanish city of Valencia. The town is full of music, firecrackers and funny sculptures, with a fulminant final towards the end.


Falles sculptures | Photo by Robert Königshausen

You can find the “Falles sculptures throughout the town, and a great number of them. They are made of papier-mâché, often representing world leaders funny or ironic way, some up to five meters high. Children have their own called “Infantil,” mostly with comic-characters. Next to them are often food and drink vendors even concerts. And Valencians like to party all night, until 6 a.m.

Churros are a typical snack in Spain. Hot, fatty pastry dipped in thick hot chocolate. It’s the perfect snack on a chilly night.

At 8 a.m. brass bands are marching the streets, waking everybody for another day of fun. In our street, teens played music, while families set off firecrackers.


Falles set on fire | Photo by Robert Königshausen

At 2 p.m. fireworks start daily at Plaça Ajuntament. It’s more noise than colors and the locals really love it. On the last day of “Falles,” sculptures are set on fire. This lasts several hours, in fact, all night, and is a big spectacle. Only one per year is saved and on display in the falles-museum.

Feeling hungry? Valencia is famous for its variety of locally-sourced rice dishes. Paella was invented here. Paella Valenciana is the original: rice from a pan, garnished with chicken, rabbit and white beans.


Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencas | Photo by Robert Königshausen

Beyond the festival

Don’t miss Oceanográfic, one of Europe’s biggest aquariums, where you can see belugas, shark, jellyfish and a dolphin-show (similar to those in Orlando). It’s situated in the “Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencas,” an ultra-modern building complex by star-architect Santiago Calatrava, shaped like fish, and a sight on its own.

Want to find the Holy Grail? It’s on display in the Cathedral, since 1437 A.D. (Many people doubt its authenticity, as it’s hard to prove any part of it was ever near the first Christians.) If you like techno-music: just switch on your radio at night. I found at least four stations playing high-energy-music.

No matter what’s your choice and focus: you’ll for sure have a good and interesting time in Spain’s third-biggest city.

This year, the Falles runs from Mar. 1-19.

 

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