So back to the East, to Valencia! With the majority of my time spent on CIEE
tours ["not that I don't enjoy seeing the outside of buildings... -Abby] and
learning the cultural facts and fantastically old buildings, I got to do and see
some really cool things! But really, I did enjoy the tours, especially to the
Museum de las Fallas, a tradition of making huge wooden/other material masses
(like parade floats) and ultimately all but one piece stays in the museum, to
welcome the springtime.
The first night, me, Katie -my
roomie-, Lisa and Kristen made sure to enjoy the traditional foodstuff of
Valencia, Paella (without seafood for me), Agua de Valencia (mix of orange juice
and white wine, I believe?) and Horchata de Chufa. We also wandered the night
streets getting slightly lost but ultimately getting to know the area better,
which helped a bunch for the next two days.
And then what all of us were waiting for on the
second day: THE BEACH. Ahh, yes. The wonders of the Mediterranean on la Playa de
Malvarrosa. But yes, it was great to plunge into the waves, tan in the sand, and
even play ball in the water with a more than kind Spanish family.
Later, getting lost served us well once again
on Saturday night: We found a mini-performance of a string quartet and then
found a huge crowd of people around traditional Valencian dancers.The best part
was that ~ordinary citizens~ began joining in as well. It was also nice to
recognize the last song as the traditional song of Valencia, one that Fausto,
our ever wonderful tour guide sang to us on the bus ride there.
Luckily, we ended
up on the right track to the election of las falleras, kind of like a beauty
pageant where women, and even a section for young girls, from all over Valencia
strut their stuff in elaborate, gorgeous gowns to represent the community in
March during las Fallas. All the women and the gowns and downright detail were
stunning! And ~watch out~, the next day we had a mini-tour where Fausto
explained more about how the dresses are made, the hairstyles are done, etc. He
also mentioned that the woman there, hosting the mini-museum of falla dresses,
was actually the designer of them all and was very humbled at his accolades of
the styles and hard work put into them.
Due to supreme beach exhaust (and not
to mention burrrrrneeeeedddddd skin), only me and Lisa went out at midnight to
see the fireworks on the Playa de las Arenas. It was a pretty long show, about
15 minutes, and it was nice to take in the cool beach breeze. After the show, we
took advantage of sand that didn't burn layers off our feet!
More than just a visit to the
community in which my Spanish father was raised in, all-in-all, this was a
supreme adventure and a great way to start wrapping up my time here in Spain
with my Session Two friends and most importantly, the directors here, Cristina,
Eero and Fausto. I'm gonna miss you guys so much!