Saturday, March 21, 2015

Fallas 2015, Correfoc: Run with fire!

Some of the most exciting parts of Valencia's Fallas fiesta are the 'Nit de foc' (Night of Fire) and 'Correfoc' (Run with fire) events. These shots and videos are from Burriana's Correfoc (in the north of the Valencian communidad).

Monday, March 9, 2015


A selection of dinosaurs from the (excellent) dinosaur exhibition that I saw here in January. Watch out for it, especially if you have dinosaur-obsessed kids. (Or if, like me, you are one.)

He's behind you!

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Things They Say (11) "You're a what?"

'You're a fucker!'

Now that's not something I've ever heard in a class of seven year-olds in the UK, so I'm pretty intrigued to know where they've picked up this sort of language here in my class en España. I hot-foot it towards the back of the class where a group are playing Headbandz.

It's a great game to build their vocabulary (as you can see). The children take turns to select a picture card (without peeking at it) and place it in a headband that they wear. The other children can see what the picture is but the child wearing the headband can't. This child then has to ask questions, 'Can you eat me?' 'Do I have any legs?' in order to guess what it is. If they fail to guess then the other children all shout together, 'You're a chicken!' or 'You're a bag of crisps!'

Or other things.

As I said, the cards only have pictures on them so the children can't read the answer, they have to know the word. What the-?

Alex is removing the headband. I slip the card out of its slot and put it behind my back.

'What did you say Alex was?' I ask in a traditional 'teacher' voice which tells them that I already know the answer so lies will be useless.

Luís is first off the mark. 'He's a fucker!' he says, all cherub rosy cheeks and gap-toothed smile. Mantequilla wouldn't melt; my niece, Betty, wanted to take him home last time she visited. The others are nodding all around him. Then a very strange thing happens. They all start to clap. Not a 'round-of-applause', but a steady, slappy little clap with wrists joined together.

'You're a fucker!' they chant and laugh.

'I'm a fucker!' Alex joins in.

We're all having such a jolly time. Well, some of us.

I sneak a look at the card in my hand. Then I fish my phone out of my pocket and pudge my way through to my English-Spanish dictionary and my Spanish vocabulary is increased by one word while my stress level decreases immeasurably.

'Seal', in Spanish, is 'Foca'.

What a bunch of little focas they are!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

What big teeth you've got...

Valencia. City of oranges. City of paella. And for one month only...

City of Dinosaurs!

I didn't have time to enter the exhibition itself today (this little monster is parked outside), so I can't give a view as to its quality. But if you're planning a visit to la capital del Turia this month, and you have an interest in dinosaurs, then this might be for you.

The exhibition runs until the 26th of October and you can check out its website here I'll post a few snaps from inside next week.

The exhibition is on Carrer de Nino Bravo, facing the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia (the Opera House).

 Until then...

Hold tight!

Ride 'em, cowboy.

He's behind you!

What big teeth you've got...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

They think it's all over...

Fallas, that is. 19th March, every year, la crema and it's over. Right? Well, not quite...

We visited Alicante last week to see the annual Los Hogueres de San Juan fiesta and were confronted by...

You'd be forgiven for thinking...

Although, there were a few subtle differences from (the 'real') Fallas. Certainly the crowds were much smaller than we usually meet in Valencia city, but then we were in Alicante on the first day of the celebration. And the statues certainly didn't reach the heights of the larger ones in the capital.

But there were mascletas and bands and food and a crema... and more food.

So if you want to sample Las Fallas without the crowds and the cost, check out Los Hogueres de San Juan in Alicante next June. And keep your eyes open...

I imagine this would be useful for seeing round corners...

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Faces of Fallas 2014

I always enjoy visiting Fallas before they are completed. There's less of a crush, and a chance to see the artists at work...

Here's a selection of snaps from the weekend.

The stage is set.

Not the time to lose your head.

Now, when you said, 'Shoeshine...'

You're getting too big for your own good.

Pretty in pink.

Take aim...

Look at...!

I can see the future...

Brush up...

Who are you looking at?

Nit de Foc!

Night of Fire. There's really not much more to say; the pictures tell the story. Burriana, a quiet little place really... 

Oh, and don't wear your new coat..