¡Despertà, Valencia!

At 7:30am, I shot out of bed and looked around frantically for a bible, certain that Armageddon was upon us. A few seconds later, I remembered that I’m not the least bit religious. The massive booming shaking our apartment was probably just a freak thunderstorm.

Juergen beat me to the balcony and, even without my glasses on, I could see that he was enveloped in smoke and frantically waving at me to join him. There was no rain. Oh shit, it was Armageddon after all!!

Well, close enough. At 7:30am, Valencia celebrates the Despertà — a parade to awaken the city with firecrackers. Mission: accomplished. We got dressed as quickly as possible, and joined the procession headed down Calle La Paz toward the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. There, we saw a mascletà, before returning home, still wondering what the hell this was all about.

It was quite a way to wake up. And if we would’ve stuck around after the mascletà, we could have enjoyed a pelota match, and a free traditional breakfast for everyone in the square. Dammit! Well, forewarned is forearmed, and from now on we are going to be keeping a close eye on what’s happening in the city. The official Fallas website, http://www.fallasfromvalencia.com/, is going to be a useful resource. The information is also offered in English, and contains a full program and description of events. It only works in Internet Explorer.

At 2pm today is another mascletà, and then at 7:45pm is La Cridà — the official opening of the Fallas festival, which traditionally takes place on the last Sunday of February. At the Serranos Towers, we’ll see a huge fireworks and lights display and then the crowning of the Fallera Mayor (festival queen). Expect pictures soon.

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