New Website!

Hello lovely people! I apologize for not posting recently, but I have recently outgrown my space here on wordpress.com.  I have developed a new blog with both my old content and brand new exciting content.  If you would like to check it out you can find it at

expeditionmeg.com

Thank you and I hope to see you over at my new blog!

Las Fallas-The Monuments, Flower Offering, and Fires

Two of the most important parts of Las Fallas is a special flower offering in Plaza Reina and the monuments.

They set up a huge figure in the middle of the Plaza and then they fill it with flowers to make a beautiful dress.  Hundreds of “falleras” line up in a parade and participate in the offering.  Falleras are women who dress up in the traditional fancy garb and fix their hair like Princess Leia from Star Wars.  I can just imagine how heavy their dresses were.   It was one of my favorite parts of the week, even though I say that about everything.  I just loved Fallas.

The main attraction of Fallas is definitely the monuments that line almost every street.  Its amazing that at the end of a year’s work, they just set fire to these babies and watch them go down in flames.  They are literally burning money, time, sweat, and tears.

I loved walking through the streets and seeing hundreds of monuments, each one with its own unique sense of beauty.  All of the monuments were made to criticize or highlight an event or issue, from high oil prices to terrorists to politicians.  There were no bounds.  You would never see this type of thing in America.  People would have a huge fit about it and claim racism, or sexism, or some other kind of -ism.  It’s great to see that people here can handle some criticism and take a joke.

Every year, voting takes place on the monuments, and the winners are announced towards the end of the festival.  Everyone makes a miniature version of their monument called a “ninot,” and the winner of the competition is saved from the fire.  Only one of the ninots is saved a year and placed into a special exhibit.

Finally, on Thursday night, there is “La Crema,” where the entire city burns down all of the fallas.  At 10pm, they burned all of the small fallas, and at midnight, they burned all of the big ones.  Then at 1am, they burned the main falla in Plaza Ayuntamiento.  I have never experienced anything like this before, and I highly recommend you go if you ever have the chance.  When else will you be able to see amazing works of art purposely burned down.

That concludes my falla series.  I hope you liked reading about it! Next up is my recent trip to Rome and Greece! Can’t wait to write about it

Gorging on Food and Partying during Fallas

You will gain weight during Fallas.  You just can’t avoid it.  With churros on every street corner, hot dog stands lining every street, mojito carts everywhere, and just about anything you would want to eat readily available, you could easily pack on a few pounds.  I know I had my fair share of junk food, and I do not regret it (even though I’m going to be in a bikini in a few weeks).  Those churros were just too damn good.

Let me tell you about a food sent by God himself.  Enter the buñuelo, a fried dough ball served best with a sprinkle of sugar on top.  I thought that I loved churros con chocolate (and I still do), but man do I love a good buñuelo.  They only sell them either by the dozen or half-dozen, and I could probably eat all of them.  However, for the sake of my waist line I always shared them with a group of people.

Are you drooling yet?

I am usually good about eating (relatively) healthy, but I could not resist it when my walk home consisted of passing 20 churro stands.  I had at least one every day for that week.  They had different variations of these churros and bunuelos.  They had them chocolate filled, chocolate dipped, creme filled, white chocolate dipped, and my person favorite, caramel filled.

In addition to these fried goodies, there was also an abundance of hot dog stands and random food everywhere.  Thankfully I am a very thrifty person, so it kept my stomach in check whenever I had to fork over my money.

Now let me tell you about the parties.  Fallas is basically a week long party.  Music, people, dancing, food-everywhere. I LOVE dancing, but I hate the preparation that goes into getting ready for clubs.  I like getting primped and prepped, but I just get too lazy. Enter the  “verbena,” kind of like a huge block party. They were held every night between March 13-18 from 11pm-4am.  Sadly, the neighbors started complaining a few years ago about the noise, so they had to cap the verbenas at 4am.  These were a much cheaper, more casual, and (in my opinion) more fun version of the discotecas.

Hundreds of streets held these verbenas, and they ranged from big outdoor venues with a stage and DJ to a tent party with some food stands surrounding them. Then, if you still wanted more, you could go to the discotecas til 8am.  I love dancing and going to clubs, but I also love my sleep.  This week definitely took a toll on me, but it was worth it.

Unfortunately I don’t have any good pictures of these parties because I was too paranoid about bringing anything with me.  Sadly, six of my friends lost either a phone or wallet this week. It was a good wake up call for me to watch out for pickpockets.  However, it was still an amazing experience, and I’ll think about it for years to come.