Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Learning about Valencians

Since we are not in Valencia for Las Fallas, we went to the Museum of Las Fallas on September 15th to learn more about this annual festival. This festival is unique to Valencia and so spectacular and strange.  Every year one ninot (a figurine of a falla) is saved from fire and placed into this museum. These figurines are so well made, that it reminded me of the wax museum of Madamme Tussauds.  However instead of being life like in Madamme Tussauds, these figurines are much stranger and more amusing (the fallas are traditionally humorous). It is also an interesting insight into the Valencian psyche, as the figures are saved by the popular vote. We were able to see the representative figurines from the last 80 years of Las Fallas, as well as atmospheric posters, pictures of the best fallas, and portraits of Fallera Mayor.  The portraits were Amelie's favorite part as to her they were like pictures of modern day princesses.   We were also able to learn how to the figurines were made both traditionally and present day.  At the end of the Las Fallas every year there are fireworks and the night of burning in which all of the figurines and floats are burned.  It seems like a very interesting custom. 

There were some very odd ones for sure.
Amelie and Liam found one of Lion King characters.
After we went to the Museum of Las Fallas, we rode our bikes to the Lonja de la Seda (Silk Market) in the historic center of town.  On our way we happened by two jump houses that were set up in a square.  Since it was free to play, we hopped off the bikes and let the kids go crazy.  They jumped for about 30 minutes before the event ended and everyone was asked to leave.  It was the perfect amount of time to allow them to burn some energy.  We have no idea what the event was for, but every time we pass the square Amelie is on the look out for the jump houses.

The Silk Market was built during Valencia's golden age, the 15th century, when the Kingdom of Valencia was at its economic and cultural peak.  We entered the forest of palm-tree-shaped columns that span the magnificent main hall and were awe-struck.  We also noticed carvings that hold the secrets and mysteries of this society throughout the main the hall.  We enjoyed roaming the four main parts: the main Tower, the Consulado del Mar room, the Patio de los Naranjos (Orange tree courtyard), and the Contracts Room (with many spiral columns).

Amelie taking a break from running around the Main Hall to pose for this picture.

Amelie and Liam in the Orange tree courtyard.
Inside the Consulado del Mar (Consulate of the Sea) section that has forty medallions containing busts of Roman emperors and other famous people around the ceiling.
Amelie and Liam laying down to be able to scrutinize the ceiling
 (and probably because the floor was cool and it felt nice).
On the steps leading up to the Consulado del Mar that also overlook the Orange tree courtyard.
Walking the streets back to our bikes.

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