Valencia: A taste of Las Fallas
On Friday, Loanne and I jetted off to Valencia with the Spanish liquor brand 'Licor 43' to experience 'Las Fallas' festival, a riotous week of city fires, explosions and parades in honour of Saint Joseph (the city's patron saint). It was our first time to Valencia and our first time experiencing 'Las Fallas.'
I must admit the idea of firecrackers and explosions going off down every street corner made me slightly apprehensive but as soon as we arrived the streets were heaving and there was an electric buzz in the air.
Upon arrival to our hotel room (which was situated in the heart of the festival) we were welcomed with a bottle of the original Licor 43. This was the first time we had tried or even heard of the liquor and what a pleasant surprise, it was so sweet & delicious and a great taster of what was to come over the next 43 hours.
Below I've summarised our highlights of the festival (there's also a video that captures the full experience too). For any of you who want to experience something a little different, I would recommend Las Fallas as the city really does come alive! I'd advise staying for 2 days maximum as the continuous explosions may get a bit too much, earplugs may be a wise option.
Probably the most epic firework display we have ever experienced, At midnight, people gather on the Paseo de la Alameda to enjoy an epic half hour of colours and lights. We were lucky enough to be at the very top of an apartment and located a few meters from where the fireworks were let off, I got a little worried at some points as I felt the fireworks were almost going to fire in our direction! Nevertheless it was an epic evening made even better by drinking 'Balon 43' cocktails, a mix of licor 43, ice and sparkling water and garnished with lemon and orange slices. Super delicious!
On Sunday afternoon we experienced Mascletà. This is where thousands of people gathered to watch a display of gunpowder explosions that literally had the city vibrating. The sound was like an earthquake, certainly not for the faint-hearted but an incredible experience that had all the locals in awe! Afterwards, the city’s terraces fill up as people go to enjoy a typical aperitif and some traditional Valencian food under the Mediterranean sun. Us, on the other hand, went to a cocktail making class, learning how to make ' Carajillo 43' a popular serve in Mexico which combines the strength and bitterness of espresso coffee with the spicy sweetness of Licor 43. (A perfect alternative to an espresso martini!)
Fire burning/ Nit del Foc
On the final night we had 'Nit Del Foc' where everything that is bad is burnt and reborn from the ashes to welcome a new season. The focus of the fiesta is the creation and destruction of ninots ('puppets' or 'dolls'), which are huge cardboard, wood, paper-machè and plaster statues. The ninots are extremely lifelike and usually depict satirical scenes and current events. They usually take a year to construct costing up to 75,000 US dollars! Can you imagine?! So quite naturally it's a very momentous and poignant occasion amongst the locals when the statues are finally burnt.
This was the final highlight of the festival before heading back to the hotel and getting ready for home time. (*Weep*)
What an amazing weekend trip it had been. Not only did we get to experience and immerse ourselves in such a traditional and unusual Spanish festival but we were also introduced to an absolutely delicious liquor in a beautiful city we had never explored before. Licor 43, thank you! Not only for "43 hours of pure passion" but for 43 hours of excitement, experience and a taste of deliciousness we'll savour for a long time!