August 10, 2012

Swimming in Tomatoes at LA TOMATINA!

Happy Friday everyone! It's August and one thing is on my mind, in just a couple of weeks is the CRAZY Tomatina Tomato Fight in Bunol, Spain! Happening every last Wednesday in August (this year it's the 29th!), Christian and I both agree that it's the craziest, most fun event we've ever experienced. If you're in Spain or Europe, GET TO TOMATINA!! Or maybe your interest is piqued for next year? Our Tomatina experience went off without a hitch! Check it out...

*Oh! And catch my guest post about Greece-Croatia-Amsterdam over at Wanderlustee!!*

It was nearing 4AM and I still couldn't get to sleep in our tiny hostel in Valencia, Spain...because in just a few hours we would be taking part in a HUGE food fight...the famous Tomatina Festival! Ok ok in addition to the excitement, maybe it was also the non-existent air-conditioning coupled with 90 degree weather and almost 100% humidity that was keeping me awake. Luckily though, my eyes were already open by the time the alarm went off ;).

We tossed on some old clothes, grabbed our goggles and a grocery bag taped shut with clothes we could wear post-tomato fight. En route to the train station it seemed like we were the only ones crazy enough to get up at 5AM to catch the earliest train to the small town of Bunol, where the fight would take place. Then people would pop out of no where, come out of alleys, walk up the metro and before we knew it, we were only two in a massive crowd of people also headed towards Bunol! We battled the crowd at the train station for a ticket, and straight-up sprinted so we could get on the train ASAP--we wanted to be right in the middle of the action! We crammed into the train like sardines and 45 minutes later, we arrived :).

As soon as we got off the train, street vendors were selling bocadillos jamon and huge cups of sangria. Ya so what if it was 7AM! We stocked up on some beers and sangria and made our way to the city center with our end goal being as close to the Serrano ham leg as possible. Confused? Let me clarify...the tomato fight only begins once someone climbs up a greased up 30-foot pole to take down a Serrano ham leg that is tied to the top...or the tomato trucks begin driving at 11AM...whichever comes first. Watching these guys fight to the death to get to the ham was amazing--human pyramids, feet in the face and all out duels to get this pig leg down!! Well 10:59AM came and no luck--but so close! Suddenly no one cared about the ham leg, the alarm sounded to signify the start of the fight and then we saw the first dump truck filled with tomatoes rolling we go!!!!!!!!!!

Christian and I were sooooooo giddy with excitement. I made sure my ballerina shoes were still taped on my feet, we put our goggles in place and we were ready to go. Then one truck came, then another, then another, then we just lost track. TOMATOES WERE FLYING!!! People grabbed plastic cups and shoveled tomato sauce on strangers nearby and everyone was laughing their asses off! Christian got a tomato to the face and soon so did I. One hour passed by, the bells sounded to signify the end of the tomato fight and everyone was soaked head-to-toe in tomato sludge. Tomatoes were even piled above our ankles! 

Luckily the locals bring their water hoses out and shower everyone off. Christian and I brought some water bottles and hoped that our emergency bag of clothes didn't get soaked too and success! Our post-fight clothes were fully intact :). We found a corner, had a makeshift shower, changed and ditched our Tomatina clothes. Following the music, we found a square selling cheap beer with a full DJ set blasting! Sure why not!

The train ride back to Valencia was a blur...we were exhausted and so excited we to take part in this massive food fight! As they do in Spain, we took advantage of a siesta and had a late night dinner eating pinxtos at Sagardi...and trying to think of our next crazy adventure...we still have yet to top Tomatina!! 

Our word of advice? Get as close as possible to the greasy pole with the ham on top! It's where most of the action happens. And by all means--PUSH YOUR WAY THROUGH THAT CROWD! And have a blast!!

What's the craziest travel experience you've ever had?!!! We're itching for another! 
CRAZINESSSSS just beginning...
A nightcap at Sagardi for dinner :). So delicious! Grab what you want and pay per toothpick!


tiarenie said...

I'm SO sad that i missed this in Spain! Looks so so so much fun! What a great memory :)

stefanie hurtado said...

this looks like SO MUCH FUN!!! i'm adding this to my bucket list asap.

stefanie hurtado said...

this looks like SO MUCH FUN!!! i'm adding this to my bucket list asap.

B. Jarosz said...

I was enjoying scrolling through the photos of tomato-smashing, thinking what fun that must be, when I got to the pics from Sagardi.

And my mouth started watering.

Pavlovian response?

That place is AWESOME!!!!

gooru said...
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Setarra said...

How did you keep your camera clean during all that tomato throwing??