Not so much writer’s block as just not knowing how to put everything into words.
So I won’t.
This is a blog about travel/saving money and seeing as I’ve been doing neither of those of late, how can I write about it?
Now. I am currently in Spain, Valencia to be exact, to take part in La Tomatina. ‘The World’s biggest good fight’.
This tends to be a ‘bucket list’ item, although I’m ashamed to say it wasn’t truly one of mine until more recently.
Due to financial/work reasons I find myself wandering alone on this occasion. And I had forgotten how liberating it was! From little things like not having to confirm with anyone on times/prices of flights and hotels to being a bit more social and making friends with people on the trip!
The whole trip for La Tomatina I booked through STA with Busabout. This is my first time dealing with this particular travel company and I have mixed impressions.
The hostel is the Purple Nest. It’s in a really good location away from the more touristy side of things which made finding cheap, local and authentic places to eat much simpler.
Rooms were clean and quite full which is standard for hostels, luckily I had a bunk to myself so I could spread out!
There was an orientation walk around Valencia on arrival, but I arrived too late to catch it, so instead socialised on the terrace bar.
Dinner was included on the first night, a traditional Valencian Paella and sangria. Im not much of a sangria drinker so I stuck with a local beer.
As we all started go get to know one another it turns out the majority of the group were Australian, with a few other nationalities thrown in!
After food everyone met up for a pub crawl a short walk away from the hostel. I had been up since 3am so I’m ashamed to say I only stayed for the one drink, but from the states people were in the next day, I think I made the right choice!
The whole trip is organised by Busabout and different activities were available each day. So the first day was a beach day for me and some others. It was pretty hot, a few clouds that I was grateful for as my skin has not seen the sun like that in a while!
The group of girls I was sharing a dorm with suggested going for tapas which I was up for, it’s food! We ordered nearly everything off the menu and had a taste of everything in a little tapas bar called Sol y Lluna (sun and moon).
Early night for us all as we had to be up at 6am the next day for La Tomatina!
After the included breakfast of white bread and jam, we all loaded onto coaches to head out to Buñol, the tiny village where La Tomatina takes place, a population of 10,000. 20,000 tourists arrive for one day to pelt fruit at one another!
We all crowd in to the centre of the village to watch the initial part of the festival, the clamber for the ham. A ham is placed on top of a pole that is greased up with lard. Anyone can compete to reach the ham which they can then keep.
Needless to say it was a spectacle to watch people attempt to climb up to reach it!
At 11 o clock the trucks start rumbling through the village loaded with tomatoes and a rocket is let off to signify the start of the fight! People on the trucks throw the tomatoes down to everyone and everyone starts throwing at everyone else! It gets very messy, very quickly! It is advised to wear goggles or a snorkel mask, and I’m glad I did!
Tomato gets in places you didn’t know tomato would ever go!
The trucks continue to bring tomatoes in until there is an ankle deep soup in the road. People are swimming in it, filling buckets and flinging it, it’s tomato mayhem! At 12 the second rocket signifies the end of the fight.
Tomato sodden tourists traipse their way to the showers, passing locals who help hose them down. I went to the river to wash off, I wasn’t very successful and was still finding bits of the fruit as I made my way back to the coach.
The return journey was reminiscent of having a day at a theme park as a child, going crazy for a day and nodding off on the way home.
We were pooped!
A long shower to remove the remaining fruit particles that had firmly embedded themselves in my hair and dried on my skin. I was ready for a nap, but first, food. We had been told of a sandwich place that made mini sandwiches (bocadillos) for €1 each. We stuffed up on carbs and most of us returned to the hostel for a nap before the Tomatina after party.
Again, we were loaded onto coaches to take us to the party destination which was in the middle of nowhere and able to hold all 20,000 Tomatina survivors.
Another kind of mess took place in the night.
I managed to bump into someone who was also heading for Ibiza the following day so the journey continues…