If you come to Spain in the Spring, you must go to Las Fallas. If anything, you will see just how crazy the Spanish actually are. Never ever will you see anything like this in the United States. There are too many opportunities for someone to get hurt, a building damaged, or all hell break lose. Fallas is one big lawsuit just waiting to happen. What happens is. It’s a festival where hundreds of statue type artwork is constructed throughout the city with different themes depending on the artist/organization. Some are huge, over 20 stories huge! others are required to be under 3×3 meters. It lasts the entire month of March but the final day is when it gets really crazy. Starting at 10, all the smaller “fallas” are prepared, fireworks go off, and the little cardboard masterpieces are set on fire! The first one I saw, I couldn’t have been more than 15 feet away. I think I was actually closer than I should have, apparently some guys were warning me, “cuidado gidi!” The pyro was coming out of me and the fire was really thrilling. However, at one in the morning, after all the large fallas have burned to death, the major centerpiece of the festival in the center of the city is destroyed in a blanket of fire after a spectacular firework display. They don’t hold back here. I guess they don’t have many regulations because these fireworks were better than Disneyland’s display! Immediately when they finished, the “gidi fallas” was there one moment and then the next, it was gone, entombed in a furious fireball!
Now, the end of the night was definitely the best part of the trip. However, my friends and I wanted way too long to experience these miraculous sites. We all payed 32 euros early in the semester to a program set up by the University because we were told they only limited seats available. They ended up adding I think up to five more buses. We left the city at 8:30 in the morning, had a short, sporadic, and rapid tour of a few places in the city and then taken back to the plaza at one to get a good view of the “Rhythm of Thunder”, or at least be close enough to the center were they are set off. Everyday for a month at 2 in the afternoon, a pattern of thunderous explosions go off in the center of the city. It’s so loud it makes your heart feel like it’s going to explode from your chest, very interesting and a must do. However, we waited over an hour for a five minute thunder display. After this, there wasn’t too much to do. We walked around for hours in the markets and to see the different Fallas. But we still had too much time with nothing to do. We sat around and took naps in the plazas, sat at cafes for hours, bought bunuelos (delicious fried pumpkin doughnuts) and churros. But there wasn’t enough really to do for the time we were given because the main event happened so late at night.
My suggestion: make your own trip out of Las Fallas. It’s a long weekend so you get Monday and Tuesday off. Leave either Sunday or Monday morning and stay in a hostel. Explore the city and see all the Fallas you can. Then come Tuesday, you’re able to rest and do as you wish until the main show Tuesday night. You might be able to get a train back in time for class Monday, but if you can’t, just use one of your absences. Most people skipped class anyway Wednesday because we didn’t get back to Alicante until 5 in the morning! If you’re gonna do Fallas, do it right. It’s something that’s special about Spain and the region of Valencia. Alicante has their own smaller version in June but most of us will be gone by then. So if you’re gonna go, don’t do what I did please. The trip could have been more fun than it was.