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Fallas 2010: La Cremà

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fire-dance

Filmed with the Sanyo VPC – CS 1 (super tiny) available here: USA, UK, Deutschland and Spain

 

On Friday night, after a day full of bad weather and a month full of noise, Fallas 2010 finally came to its fiery end at la Cremà. The destruction of Almirante Cadarso’s Fat Cat towering monument structure with its huge paper machè ladies smoking cigarettes and tightly packed residential neighborhood made for a dramatic display.

There’s no more incredible end to a city festival than the Cremà. The burning embers, raging fire, thick black smoke and gigantic structures crashing to the ground in flames make for a terrifying and unique experience.

I’ve often tried to explain La Cremà to friends who’ve never seen it, but it’s impossible. There aren’t words which can accurately convey the insanity of it all. You tell people it’s crazy, and can see what they’re thinking: "Yeah, I’m sure it’s very crazy. But crazy within reason". No! You aren’t understanding! It’s really completely crazy! Such a thing shouldn’t be legal! The burning of these gigantic 3 story monuments in a densely packed neighborhood, with thousands of onlookers mere meters away, is a crazy thing and a terrible idea.

Over 700 constructions around the city are burnt within a few hours of each other, which makes you think that a tragedy is just a matter of time. But, there are experienced firefighters on hand, with a long history free of major accidents: a fact which is comforting but doesn’t completely erase the terror of La Cremà — the perfect end to Las Fallas, surely one of the world’s most unique and crazy events.

This is the final event of Fallas, but we’re going to be posting things in reverse order… so, stay tuned for photos and videos of the Cabalgata del Fuego, the final mascletàs, Nit de Foc, the monuments and more. We took literally thousands of pictures, so it’s taken awhile to get through them.

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 La-Crema

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The city burns, but look who’s still dancing!

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For hostel/hotel bookings during Fallas, we’ve found the best rates at Hostelbookers, Booking.com and Apartments in Valencia

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March 20, 2010 at 11:19 pm Comments (6)

Summer Festivals in the Valencian Community

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A huge number of festivals and events occur in villages throughout the Valencian Community, during the hot months of August and September. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the highlights.

Buñol – La Tomatina

August 26th — Everyone knows the Tomatina; when you think of “crazy Spanish fiesta”, the images of thousands of tomato-covered youngsters are among the first which spring to mind. Make sure to wear old clothes and goggles!
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Requena – Fiesta Vendimia

August 19th – 30th — “Vendimia” means grape harvest, which should tell you everything you need to know about the 11-day festival in this town known for its excellent wines. Don’t miss the Noche de la Zurra, during which everyone takes to the street and is soaked with wine!
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Paterna – Cordà

End of August — Paterna, just outside Valencia city, honors its patron saints at the end of August with a Christian & Moors procession and a crazy tradition known as la Cordà. Think fireworks and insanity — but you have to see it to believe it.
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Sueca – Festival of Rice

First week of September — The rice festival and international paella competition make up the year’s biggest event in this town, about an hour south of Valencia. The week-long festivities include a little of everything, from religious processions to bullfights, but the emphasis is on eating. Mampf.

Segorbe – Bull Week

September 7th – 13th — The traditional entrance of bulls and horses into Segorbe is extremely popular with the locals, and has been declared a festival of national touristic interest. The bulls run rampant through the main city streets, guided and controlled, as well as possible, by men on horseback. Men who are far braver than I. Check out this video, before you decide if you want to attend.
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Find Accommadation for these Festivals here:

Hostels & Hotels

Summer Festival Valencia Car Hire
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July 27, 2009 at 5:37 pm Comment (1)

Deconstruction on Teatro Princesa

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cool-neighborhood-valencia

With an almost 4 month delay they have finally started the deconstruction of Teatro Princesa, which was destroyed in a fire earlier this year. Making great use of the chaos, the city has turned Calle Murillo into Construction Nightmare Ground Zero — this week, they started tearing up the street for the fourth time. Of course, we understand that in the long term, it’s better to have repaired streets, but why exactly is it necessary to tear up, then pave over, then tear up, then pave over, tear up, pave over and NOW TEAR UP THE STREET AGAIN?! Within the time frame of about 3 months?! Man! If we could, we’d move out tomorrow!

Anyway, we heard that the crews claimed that the deconstruction of the theater would take about 2 days, starting Friday, finishing Sunday. My guess is it will take at least a month. Just look at this mess!

We live in a building right next to the Teatro (literally: I could reach out and touch it), and the city has provided us absolutely zero information as to the schedule of deconstruction, let alone what risks we run by staying in our apartment. All the information we’ve gotten is from asking neighbors, and the workers on the ground.

Oh well, at least we got some neat pictures out of it:

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The street we live in
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Horchata in Valencia

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July 5, 2009 at 2:21 pm Comments (0)

Fallas 2009: La Cremà

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fallas-before-crema
The Lovely Ladies of Convento Jerusalén
Shortly Before Their Death

La Cremà is the fiery, spectacular conclusion to the weeks-long festival of Las Fallas. On the night of the 19th of March, the 766 monuments which had been placed around the city just days before, are set aflame. We went to see the fire at Convento Jerusalén.

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Watching one of the large monuments burn is memorable. An act which combines melancholy and renewal in equal parts, la cremà is something that stays with you for awhile.

It’s hard to believe that Valencia’s citizenry would spend millions of dollars, investing a year’s worth of work for monuments that are displayed for mere days and then destroyed. What’s the point?

La Cremà is an act of cleansing, of beginning the year anew. One can easier forget things past, when the symbolic embodiment of them is laying in ashes at one’s feet. This, I think, is the point. Spring is here. Last year was turbulent, and there were a lot of things to celebrate, reminisce on and even ridicule — the latter of which, many ninots did a savagely good job of. But spring is here, and it’s a new year. Dry your eyes, little fallera. It’s time to move on.

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Fallas Poster

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March 22, 2009 at 2:57 pm Comments (4)

Fire Update – Princesa, Maldonado

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The beginning of Fallas has brought a frightening rash of unofficial and unwanted fires to our neighborhood, on the south side of Carmen.

First was the sad destruction of the Teatro Princesa, which was engulfed by flames a couple weeks ago. Levante reports that the city is taking charge of the destruction of the theater, as the property owners have not acted on the demolition order. Already cranes are in place on Calle Murillo, starting to take down some of the more dangerous structures in the building where the fire began — Murillo #6. We took some interesting images of the men at work.

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Then, as we were going home from today’s mascletà, we almost walked right into another raging building fire on Calle del Maldonado. We have no idea how this one started, but it was pretty frightening.

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It was another abandoned building, in a city that’s sadly full of them. What I’d like to know is, why does the city government spend so much money building a Formula 1 track, and the City of Arts & Sciences, when there are so many dangerous and abandoned buildings directly in the city center?

Pay attention the next time you walk through Carmen — the historic heart of the city — and notice the sad ratio of empty buildings in ruin, to those that are livable. Wouldn’t taxpayer money be better spent fixing these up, than attracting elite sporting events?

Current view from our back tarrace:

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March 9, 2009 at 7:44 pm Comment (1)

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