Oktober Fest in Valencia (May 2014)

Valencia - featured image

After visiting Valencia few times during our voyage with HS Bruckner, we found ourselves at the end of a four month adventure at sea and we arrived in Valencia once more, together with a dear friend, now passenger on our vessel for the second time.
We had a tour of the centre, admiring again the same beautiful landmarks all the tourists are visiting while in town – the City Hall, the market, some churches and cathedrals, some squares and the Railway Station (Estacio del Nord). We had one more building we wanted to see before returning to the port and that was the Bullfight Arena, situated in the Placa del Toros. We had seen it a few times before, only from the outside, because we are not interested at all in shows of this kind and only wanted to admire the exterior of the building.

Extract from HS Bruckner diary:
“When we arrived in front of the Arena, I had some kind of a shock and I couldn’t help myself from crying out loud ‘ Are these people celebrating something each time we arrive into the town? Or even more often than this?’
Inside the big Arena, another Fiesta was taking place just now – Fiesta de la Cerveza, a kind of Oktober Fest or Beer Festival, held at the end of May.

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All the sandy area in the middle of the Arena – the same place where the bulls are running away chasing the red colour shown to them by the toreadors – was now covered with a huge white tent, sheltering a great number of long wooden tables and benches and some open air restaurants.

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The hot burning grills were already filled with different kind of barbeque meat – beef cutlets, sausages, chicken wings – and the most delicious of them all – the beef ribs (costillas).

Valencia - Fiesta de la Cerveza (1)
We arrived again in the right place and at the right time for a new party in Valencia. And we were not alone. At least 200 people – most of them locals of all ages – gathered in the same place for a delicious and relaxing night out.
It was almost 8 p.m. when we arrived at the Arena and the party had already started. On the big scene – in front of the happy crowd – a band was performing a live show, entertaining the atmosphere with songs belonging to an international repertoire. All of them – three boys and one girl – were young and dressed in German traditional costumes. The boys were mostly playing the instruments and the girl was singing, accompanied by the voices of few hundreds of people who were acting as if that was the most beautiful evening of their lives. Maybe this is the way in which the locals live their everyday life. They work during the week and have fun during the long week-ends, in big crowds, in the middle of the city, taking part in different Fiestas and Ferias.

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Valencia - Fiesta de la Cerveza

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We were not very hungry, but we couldn’t resist the wonderful smells coming from the burning grill and we took a big portion of beef ribs – one portion for two persons 18 euros – and we had an enjoyable dinner, among a happy and noisy crowd.

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Everybody was eating, drinking beer, singing and even dancing from time to time. When we left the scene – at 10 p.m. – the crowds were warming up for a noisier and hotter night, still lots of people were coming in, the grills were burning and the beer was flowing in rivers. The music was louder and louder and more and more people were taking the scene, joining in German dances and South American sambas.
The people must have danced the night away, singing Spanish and international songs, having one beer after the other, regardless the high price of one pit (4 euros). For us, the night was closing a little too soon, but we were very happy we had the opportunity of celebrating again on the streets of this amazing city. The Valencians know how to have fun and make the visitors feel good, too.
They welcome tourists with fireworks and crackers, music, dancing, parades and huge fires on the streets. Like this, all the visitors coming to Valencia – for a holiday or just a 3 day city-break – will leave this city with a lot of happy memories and the strong desire to return for another Fiesta or Feria at some point in the future.
We hope to do the same and we are looking forward to seeing the new preparations for different Ferias, Fiestas and other celebrations on the streets, during different seasons.
Valencia, ole!!!

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