By Kevon Edmonson, Harvard University
NO REGRETS! That is the phrase that best characterizes my decision to study abroad in Madrid. Well, more than not having regrets, I am enjoying my time abroad. One of my favorite aspects has been traveling during the weekends. As this is my first time in Europe, I have been taking advantage of the relative ease in traveling throughout the EU. Admittedly, it is very easy to completely forget about or even devalue travelling within Spain. In my opinion, that would be a mistake as each region is abound with cultural and geographical differences.
Recently, I went to Valencia for Las Fallas with a friend. During the festival, giant paper-mâché sculptures can be found throughout the city. These giant figures are then burned on the last day of the festival (La Crema). We originally planned to stay throughout the entire weekend, but after struggling to find accommodations we opted to do a day trip. It was about 4 hours there and 4 hours back in a full bus—and totally worth it! We arrived at around 2pm, and left at 2 am.
Once there we wasted no time to see the Fallas. This year, there were quite a few Trump themed once, as Trump has more or less dominated the political dialogue worldwide. I am not quite sure how we missed every one. It might have been due to the fact that we fled the city center to the beach to escape the kids. Not just any kids. Kids armed with 'fuegos artificiales', which exploded left and right in broad daylight. During Independence Day and New Year’s Eve in the United States, the use of fireworks was generally confined to a rather small window during the evening. Here, it seemed as if each child had a wooden box filled with firecrackers.
The beach was without a doubt calmer than the city center, and where we decided to eat dinner. Las Fallas was a big draw to Valencia, but I must admit that I was also there for the paella. My host mom, and so many other Spaniards recommended that I go to Valencia for a great paella. In the end, we sat beach-side at one of the restaurants before returning to the city center and watching La Crema.
10/10 would recommend!