BioParc and Kick-off to Fallas
Trip Start Jan 15, 2011
18Trip End Jun 27, 2011
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Sorry for the long delay between postings, but I think I've had a couple of the busiest, yet most amazing weeks I can remember. This will be a relatively brief post since I still need to post entries for my trips to Madrid, Andalusia, Barcelona, and the past few days of las Fallas.
During the last week in February, we had some great weather in Valencia and had the opportunity to spend a few days at the beach playing soccer, hanging out with friends, and even swimming a little. It was in the low 70's for most of the week, so in the sun, it was beautiful.
After a week of class and fun at the beach, we decided to join the international student network at UPV on a trip to Valencia's BioParc zoo
The following week, I took another trip with the international student network on campus, but this time it was a visit to one of Valencia's famous "Mascletas" firecracker displays and a guided tour of the Las Fallas museum. I guess I should give a quick explanation of what the festival of Las Fallas is, since I was unaware of what it was until I began looking into studying in Valencia. Las Fallas was origanally a pagan festival to celebrate the spring equinox, but later developed into a Christian celebration of Saint Joseph the Carpenter. In the 15th century, upon arrival of spring and longer days, carpenters and artists no longer needed to illuminate their work by lamp, so they would burn their wooden lamp stands and later, other junk that had accumulated during spring cleaning. This ceremonial spring burning eventually took a more creative turn, which resulted in the beautifully intricate fallas seen today. Now each neighborhood in Valencia has Falleros that put hundreds of hours into preparing their falla (now made from wood, styrofoam, and paper-mache) for the city-wide judging competition
Mascletas is an impressive concussive firework show that starts at 2pm each day during the two weeks of Las Fallas. Since it occurs during the day, it's a noise-based show rather than the traditional fireworks display. Each day a different organization around Valencia sponsors a show and it turns into a competition to see who can assemble the most impressive ear-numbing show. The Mascletas, essentially just sticks of dynamite hanging from strings in the main city square, explode to well-timed rhythms and beats, and end in a deafening finale that can be heard from just about anywhere in Valencia. It's a very unique experience, much different than the fireworks shows we're used to in the States, and it will leave your ears ringing for at least an hour (since we were very close to the show, we were actually told by the locals to open our mouths during the concussions so the shock waves wouldn't hurt as bad--or blow our ear drums, haha).
After Mascletas, we took a guided tour through Valencia's main Las Fallas museum
Enjoy the pics and please continue onto the next blog postings for updates on my recent travels.