Mi Madrid #8: Las Fallas & Valladolid

What is remarkable about Madrid in addition to being the capital of Spain and the concentration of a huge number of attractions? It is located in the center, and it allows you to travel to any part of Spain in a matter of hours and at a tolerable price. So, in March for one week I visited two cities at once on opposite sides of the center of Spain.

Valencia

Glorious city, the third largest in Spain, Valencia is located near the Balearic Sea. It is not surprising that in the summer season the paella’s birthplace enjoys tourist demand.

However, the city attracts foreigners and countrymen in March, when one of the most famous festivals in Spain, Las Fallas, is held. This holiday lasts four days and is dedicated to the end of winter. It is somewhat similar to the Russian Shrovetide, except that the costs of producing cartoon characters from papier-mâché reach 1 million euros!

We arrived in the city by noon, on the opening day of the festival, together with ESN (Erasmus Student Network). In less than a day, we and the Mexicans managed to get lost twice, look at the daytime salute (fuming more than fire), walk around the center of the city, gazing at the huge colored figures of the cartoons’ characters, and get to the sea. At the end of the departure, the organizers took the group to the open-air party, where students from other institutions in Madrid and neighboring towns gathered.

We returned to the city 24 hours after departure. Did the trip cost 20 euros? Definitely yes.

Valladolid

Together with compatriots from St. Petersburg, we decided to go to the once-former residence of the Spanish monarchs, the city of Valladolid. The plan was simple – to come in the morning, leave for the night. Said – implemented.

As long as Valencia is known for paella, Valladolid is part of the community of Castilla y Leon, where they produce the best wines in Spain. But this city is also known thanks to Seminci – the International Film Festival, the “testing ground” for forbidden and undervalued films. And, of course, Cervantes lived and worked here, a monument to which stands on the square in front of the City Cathedral.

It is worth saying that we did not plan to go around all the sights, and therefore for a few hours in the city we walked only around Campo Grande (where the peacocks were found) and the Plaza Mayor. We missed both the Christopher Columbus Museum and the house-museum of Cervantes. Instead, they enjoyed the streets of the Old Town, the quiet flow of the river and the gutter of geese. Everything would be fine if we did not forget to buy wine…

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