I had intentions of gaining some valuable work experience or earning some money over the summer; neither came to fruition but I did have a summer to remember!
Travelling across 9 countries in Europe I could have mentioned any number of stories or anecdotes from along the way but in reality one day stands out from them all. An event of ‘bucket list’ proportions….La Tomatina
Initially this had been a suggestion thrown casually around over a pint with a few friends in Manchester and seemed almost like a pipedream all those months ago. After spending 2 weeks planted in front of the TV watching the Olympics I decided it was time to venture out and take on an adventure, I suppose this could mean I was inspired by the Olympics in a loose sense but nevertheless I looked up some cheap flights and a week later I had arrived in Copenhagen. From here I realized with 12 hours of travelling I could be in Valencia in time for La Tomatina so a brief conversation later the plans were made and I was due to meet my a friend from home a week later in a swanky hotel in downtown Valencia, at this point neither of us really had any idea what to expect other than the shear anticipation of something out of the ordinary.
Arriving in Valencia there was almost a calm before a storm and we even struggled to find somewhere to eat that night! The few travellers we met were well prepared and some had paid hundreds of euros to book on all inclusive tours the next morning to Bunol, the destination of the worlds largest tomato fight. This made us slightly concerned for our adhoc travel style but we knew that where there’s a will there’s a way. A brief 3hour sleep after a rather daft late night had us hailing down a cab at 6am the next morning. The train station was already heaving when we got there and from here on in the atmosphere and excitement only grew.
We were informed that the sleepy little town of Bunol had developed year on year as the biggest tomato fight after legend of two young boys having a small fight of their own over 60 years ago, this was just one of the myths thrown around. The town was prepared and seemed to really embrace the whole spectacle, with the street lined with sheeting to protect the walls, as the tomato juice is so acidic it actually cleans their streets. There was music coming from the roofs and windows and buckets of water and hosepipes from above would keep the crowd cool.
Many hours were spent watching hundreds of people attempt to climb the greasy pole off which a large piece of ham had been hung from, at the time this seemed like a perfectly logical way of starting a food fight.
The fight begun and the chaos ensued; there was nowhere to hide in this tomato fight as truck after truck dumped tons and tons of tomatoes along the narrow streets. It is difficult to describe how unbelievable this event was. They recon a record turn out of a few tens of thousands joined my friend and me for this years La Tomatina, we are already talking about 2013. If we don’t repeat this it will take some beating I’m sure but it certainly quenched my thirst for something extraordinary and I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone. It feels like I haven’t been in Cardiff for ages now but I am really looking forward to starting back.
Let me know if any of you managed to get to this years La Tomatina or if you got up to any other ‘bucket-list’ adventures yourself that you’d recommend me for next summer.