We had plans to escape.

During Las Fallas, the city population changes and over a million visitors appear in Valencia. For the second year in a row, we made plans to go somewhere else the final week of the festival. While I know that might be an unpopular choice for many locals, the constant sound of fireworks starts to grate on my nerves.

The competitions are fierce and the noise is fiercer. The last week includes the judging of all of the fallas, and some of the categories are truly spectacular. However, as the judging announcements are made, there are fireworks celebrations for every third, second, and first place awarded. In addition to those fireworks, there are also daily “sound events” where fireworks create percussive sound events. And then, on March 19, all of the fallas (except one*) are burned by being filled with (you guessed it!) fireworks.

It’s a cultural celebration that defines the unique characteristics of the Valencian people. Highly social, extremely competitive, and spectacular in every sense of the word. It seems like all rules about noise regulations are thrown out the nearest window and forgotten until March 20. People are outside, visiting the fallas and making note of the construction of each sculpture.

Rest assured that the hearing aid business is alive and well in Valencia, where you can get hearing aids and glasses in the same locations.

Want to see more? Check out this link: https://www.visitvalencia.com/en/fallas

So one Monday night in March, my friend Manu and I walked through a good portion of the city center. We were looking at the different fallas and tried to guess what was under the plastic wrap for remaining figures. Obvious or not, these in-construction pieces tell their own story. Additionally, while we were in the city center, we were able to see teams of workers assemble the falla in front of city hall.

Similar to the incredible decorations of the sculptures is the lighting displays you can see in the streets, the streets are also lit up in creative and beautiful ways. In Rusafa, there are a few streets that basically build a “light tent” above the streets, and these lights are often synchronized in color and illumination to musical presentations.

For our walk, though, we were able to see some more typical lighting options. Banners of lights and reflective materials span the streets, sometimes with the names of the falla association that builds the local falla. In smaller neighborhoods, the lighting takes the form of more sedate, but equally beautiful, suspended art.

If you’re wondering, there’s no lighting on our street, and for that, I am thankful. We do have a Casal Faller, or fallas association club, in front of our apartment building, but the falla—and the lighting—is located around the corner. I can imagine that both sound and light can be real distractions for people on busy or heavily decorated streets.

So, it was with all of this in mind, we escaped for the last week to have a more placid and calm week in Alicante. They have their own version of sculptures and fires in Alicante, but it’s during the summer, for the day of Saint John (San Juan with the festival day of June 24). More on that to come!

*Which falla is saved? That would be La Virgen de los Desamparados, in the Plaza de la Virgen. As the patron of the city, she is decorated every year in flowers brought be each of the fallas groups during an event called La Ofrenda, or the offering. Her dress is constructed completely of flowers and is a unique design every year.  

Gentle readers, while I was not here for the final week of Las Fallas, I can wholeheartedly recommend my friend Manu’s Instagram reel with his pictures: https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/18026361433981220/ He takes great pictures and often shares them here… worth a follow!

Street lighting, Falla Pintor Segrelles

Street lighting, Falla Pintor Segrelles

Street lighting, Falla Pintor Segrelles

Street lighting, Falla Pintor Segrelles

Street lighting, Falla Pintor Segrelles

Street lighting, Falla Pintor Segrelles

Street lighting for Las Fallas

Street lighting for Las Fallas

Falla under construction

Falla under construction

Falla under construction

Falla under construction

Falla under construction

Falla under construction

Falla under construction

Falla under construction

Falla under construction

Falla under construction

Falla under construction

Falla under construction

Tent for parties during the last week of the celebration

Tent for parties during the last week of the celebration

The typical "pañuelos" or kerchiefs, worn during Las Fallas. They are often embroidered with the neighborhood falla association emblem or other images.

The typical "pañuelos" or kerchiefs, worn during Las Fallas. They are often embroidered with the neighborhood falla association emblem or other images.

Street lighting for Las Fallas

Street lighting for Las Fallas

Fallas under construction in the city center

Fallas under construction in the city center

Falla under construction in Plaza Pilar

Falla under construction in Plaza Pilar

Falla under construction in Plaza Pilar

Falla under construction in Plaza Pilar

Falla under construction in Plaza Pilar

Falla under construction in Plaza Pilar

Falla under construction in Plaza Pilar

Falla under construction in Plaza Pilar

Falla under construction in Plaza Pilar

Falla under construction in Plaza Pilar

Falla under construction in Plaza Pilar

Falla under construction in Plaza Pilar

Falla under construction in Plaza Pilar

Falla under construction in Plaza Pilar

Falla under construction in Plaza Pilar

Falla under construction in Plaza Pilar

Street lighting with an image of a fallera

Street lighting with an image of a fallera

Falla under construction

Falla under construction

Falla under construction

Falla under construction

Falla under construction

Falla under construction

Street lighting with an image of a fallera

Street lighting with an image of a fallera

Falla under construction

Falla under construction

Falla under construction - Pinocchio?

Falla under construction - Pinocchio?

Falla under construction - the Beast?

Falla under construction - the Beast?