Month: March 2012

Valencia, Las falla-works!

Las Fallas is a huge celebration in Valencia that takes place every year. The Fallas range from small to large, and are  paper mache structures that will eventually be burned on the night of Saint Joseph, which was March 19th this year. I couldn’t stay for the burning because I had work on Tuesday but seeing the Fallas in their full form and walking around the city of Valencia was still incredible.

My friend and I took a 6-ish hour bus ride from Logrono to Valencia. It was actually really nice because we had normal breaks at normal rest stops with normal food and bathrooms…nothing like riding on greyhound.

We found our hostel (home youth hostel Valencia- very nice!) which was right in a central plaza area that was having a concert later that night. We walked around with our friends until the dinner reservation I made at 9.

First night

The Falla by our hostel

If you know me, or at least this blog you can probably tell how important food is to me. I love having a nice traditional meal, especially when visiting a city for such a short amount of time. I can eat a ham sandwich any day of the week (and I usually do…), but I may only be in the city where paella was conceived once.

I also strongly believe in taking recommendations on restaurants. If someone bothers to recommend a restaurant, it has to be at least semi-good or they would be really embarrassed for recommending a place that is sketchy and gross. Right?

The recommendation I got came from one of my adult students that studied at the University of Valencia. I told him I couldn’t wait to eat paella, and he told me that I had to eat it at a non-touristy place where they make it fresh. He also said I should make a reservation, which I take as another good sign. I’m glad I called ahead because it was a full house by 10 p.m.

Where: Bodego de la Sarieta

Juristas 4   www.bodegodelasarieta.com   tel: 96 392 35 38

Thank god these were on the table- we arrived famished.

I've eaten my fair share of salad in life- this might be the best. And the best looking.

We started eating before I could take a picture because we couldn't wait! Fideua!

Being classy

At the end of the night to split all that food, water, wine, and dessert, my friend and I paid 20 euros each. Maybe if you are a frugal traveling vagabond that only wants to get to know the “gritty” heart of a city, this kind of experience is not for you. But it is the best for ME.

Agua de Valencia- keeping with traditions.

The next day started bright and early with so much to do and see. First, upon asking a man where a particular street was he gave me directions to the bus station so I could get a map. TREATED.

There he is walking away, with a giant cool head in the background...

Then, my friend and I walked up a billion stairs, for kicks I guess, and to have this view.

On top of the Serranos Towers

Throughout the whole day there were parades of woman wearing gorgeous traditional dresses, and bands playing music, and fireworks exploding, that by the end I did not want to ever see a parade again. I started hating fun and going insane.

So, I’ll leave you with these pictures.

The shoes match the dress. EXACTLY.

I liked this Falla a lot. Many others had a political message or were lewder and cruder than the last. This one is just nice and creepy.

in the Mercat/ Mercado/ Market walking around. I have a lot of pictures of ham that I will spare you of.

Lost from the flock

Then we meandered our way towards the City of Arts and Sciences- which includes an aquarium and a museum and other nice looking buildings. I didn’t go in any of them, but it was worth it to walk away from the crowds and fiesta action for a bit.

Looks like Darth Vader's angelic twins head?

Oh, another parade. How uncool.

I believe this was the "main/winning" falla since it was in the Ayuntamiento Plaza....

The next morning we had to say goodbye to Valencia and its sunny weather. You may wonder why I didn’t go to the beach, and I don’t have a good enough reason besides I like the idea of the beach more than I like the beach. I’m also happier that I saw more parts of the city with such limited time. A beach is a beach. Bitch (pronounced  like beach in Spain).

The bus ride home is something that I laugh about now 2 weeks later.

I was on day 3 of no shower, plus fireworks, sun, and no sleep. The driver was going to have to rent the machine you get to shampoo your carpet to shampoo his bus, and he wasn’t happy about it…. because these two other actual rasta dirty hippies were also on the bus ready to strike up a conversation. They asked the bus as a whole if we were going to chat, and I responded for everyone with a clear “NO” which made them laugh for probably the whole ride.

The driver who was already less than pleased with us (for unknown reasons) had to come into a rest stop to pull my friend and I away from counting the calories in our kinder chocolate bars because he was going to leave without us. This also gave him the opportunity to call us fat and tell us we did not need chocolate while making large gestures with his hands around his butt and tummy….uf!

Alas, I have gotten so used to getting called “grande” (big) here that I’m not sure where my self esteem is. Probably on strike like a fair amount of people in Spain today. La huelga general para la reforma laboral. I’m not sure what “reform” certain people are talking about, but I still went to work and it seemed like the people I worked with did too…since….we were all there.

Do your thing Spain- as long as there’s always someone around the corner waiting to call me guapa 🙂

un beso

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Sports!

Logrono is one of the cities that many pilgrims pass through on the Way of St. James, better known in Spanish as El Camino de Santiago. I walk past arrows and the symbolic shells every day, so I basically do it every day 🙂 A small small part of it, because it takes several months to go the entire way from the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela (routes may/ can vary depending on where you believe the beginning is…?)

Over the weekend I actually did a small part of it with some friends and we had a picnic. We were inspired by the spring like weather that has come to Logrono already. Toma!

a tad windy

a tad falling down.

If the weather continues on this sunny and springy path I’m going to keep not signing up for the gym that is directly behind my apartment (not an exaggeration) and start going on more nature walks. Especially the weekends I stay in Logrono; which will be 1 more before Las Fallas in Valencia (I’m going March 16-18th), and then many after that until Semana Santa (Holy week/ Easter / “spring break” April 5-15th).

I also experienced my first Spanish rugby match and Logrones futbol match.

If you’re like me you think of football as FOOTBALL, DA BEARS, DITKA! But, alas I am talking about soccer.

Here are some sporty pics….

Spirited fans singing (strings of swear words put to a tune)

the group before the game

Our color coordinated group

Turned completely away from the game...

rockin the logrones scarves

girls not paying attention to the game, but looking cute!

Rugby! Like American Football with no rules (fact).

extremely close to the field/ semi-danger zone.

Watched some friends practice futbol, and sat on the sidelines and did this ja ja ja while taunting them of course.

After watching so many sports, you may think I am sporty. ehhhh….I played soccer in 6th grade, I play tennis on occasion (not in Spain), I recently got into golf, and I can still remember parts of cheers/ dance routines from high school. My exercise of choice is walking, and it’s the best kind I can think of living around La Rioja because there’s a lot of gorgeous areas to walk and hike.

In preparation for not participating in any sports, I went on a walk and snapped this. I live here.