Las Fallas – Valencia

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Las Fallas is an annual festival held in March in the beautiful city of Valencia in Spain. It is essentially a street party that lasts for days on end. Like so many Spanish traditions, I was completely ignorant of it until coming to Spain for the year. It is a very bizarre festival, but at the heart of it is fun!

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Each neighbourhood of Valencia spends the year constructing a beautiful and elaborate statue called a Falles.  These are often satirical, and each one has its own theme. They can cost up to 100,000 euros to make! We weren’t around for the craziest part – at the end of the festival all statues are burnt to the ground! And then, they start building next years statues!

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The sunny weather was in stark contrast to my Burgos – I certainly enjoyed wearing a lighter jacket instead of my winter coat constantly!

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A daily event was the Mascletas. At 2pm in a main square, hundreds of firecrackers and fireworks were set off, resulting in what sounded like A LOT of gunfire. It is an extremely popular event – Las Fallas seems to be a lot about noise as the kids in the street would have their own boxes of firecrackers to set off all the time. It is not a trip for peace and quiet!

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As it is a street party, drinking in the street becomes perfectly acceptable. Mojitos and caipirinhas were very popular!

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The night of course had its attractions. Lots of fireworks were set off – the display differed from UK displays as even more fireworks were set off at the same time to ensure we had plenty of noise!

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One area of Valencia (Azorin) also had twilight streets – beautifully lit up and oh so magical!

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The next day we viewed the cathedral – that claims to own the holy grail (as do a few other places). It costs 5 euros to enter and we were low on cash, but the cathedral itself is as beautiful as any other cathedral in Spain!

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And what better way to finish the trip than to eat traditional Valencian paella? Valencia is where paella originates, and although the seafood paella is very popular (and my favourite), in Valencia they use chicken, rabbit,beans, and even snails! (Not this one though) Delicious!!

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Modern Day Female Role Models

Happy International Women’s Day!! What better way to celebrate it than admiring some modern day female role models who have inspired a generation, or more, and show us that being a woman can be awesome.

 

Malala

I thought I’d start with arguably the most important one from my list. I’m sure we all know her story: she was shot by the Taliban for going to school, and advocating the right for girls to go to school, and since her recovery has given beautiful and inspirational speeches of why girls deserve education too, and her attitude towards the group that nearly took her life is admirable. She does not hate them, she only wants their children to be free from them. Not to mention winning the Nobel Peace Prize at 18, and she is also extremely intelligent. Truly a modern day hero.

 

Caitlin Moran

I love this woman because she is never afraid to speak her mind – so often her writings and her interviews are about masturbation, vaginas, and why women’s fashion is not designed for the average female body. She is a feminist for the modern age: not afraid to be herself, and encouraging of all females everywhere to not just be comfortable in their own skin, but to worship their own selves and recognise their own awesomeness. And when we live in a age where it is too easy to judge, and compare ourselves to other women and why aren’t we eating avocado on toast everyday, or living at the gym, it’s good to have a voice that tells us eating a huge amount of cheese is okay too.

 

J.K. Rowling

The woman who made our childhoods also has an inspirational rags to riches story. Before she wrote Harry Potter she relied on benefits, and now she’s a multimillionaire (who I think lost billionaire status from donating so much to charity), she has given so much to society through her charity work. Not to mention she is an absolute queen of sass on twitter, it really is amazing. And of course, creating the hugely detailed and imaginative world of Harry Potter was no easy feat. I can forgive her for Pottermore sorting me into Slytherin (yes, really, I always thought I was a Hufflepuff).

 

Angelina Jolie

I think this woman is amazing. Her work with UNICEF has been dedicated and amazing. Whilst many celebrities get involved with UNICEF and other NGOs, and do their bit to try and make the world a better place for everyone, Angelina Jolie has dedicated a lot more of her time than others. It is clear it is something she is really passionate about, and as a firm believer everyone should get involved with charities I can do nothing but admire her. Plus she has a crazy side too (e.g. her relationship with Billy Bob Thornton), which I also can’t help but admire.

 

Emma Watson

True story: I once was told by someone who knew someone who was a Harry Potter extra that Emma Watson apparently acted like a Queen Bee on set, but the more I hear about her, the more I find it hard to believe. She is incredibly smart, and managed to balance working on one of the biggest movie franchises with achieving top grades. Her parents kept her very level headed, as she only had access to all of her earnings once reaching 21. And now she too has become involved with huge campaigns, most notably the UN’s He for She. Yep, definitely a great female role model when so many female celebrities her age are more obsessed with their social media image.

 

Adele

She sings like an angel but talks with a voice like she’s always telling a dirty joke: it’s hard not to like Adele and her obviously genuine, down to earth personality. Not only is she amazingly talented as a singer-songwriter, detailing the trials and tribulations of relationships that make us all blink away a few tears, but she is a level-headed business woman who knows exactly what she wants to achieve with her music, and as sales decline in the digital age she is still breaking world records with her sales.

 

Who are your female role models? Are you doing anything to celebrate today?

Bilbao Polaroids

For some reason I have neglected posting recent polaroid photos from my travels. Probably because I’m a bit lazy and it takes a little bit of effort.

So here are the three I took from when I visited Bilbao last month. The film I used was The Impossible Project’s Lucky 8 (meaning 7 have a red frame and one has a gold frame!). Their advice for this film is to use in the bright outdoors. This I agree with, because I used the film first to take photos at Christmas, and all the festive family photos had a green tinge to them. Which was quite disappointing. So I was skeptical to use the film on this trip, but it actually produced one of my favourite polaroids I have ever taken!

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The Guggenheim Art Museum in Bilbao is a must see!

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Behind the museum. I really liked how this photo developed, as the reflections on the water are beautifully clear.

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A view of Bilbao at sunset. Being the clumsy sod I am I scratched the photo a fair bit, but it created a cool lightning effect on the photo!