Después de las clases, fuimos al museo fallero (after classes we went to the Fallero museum), which is the museum of the Fallas. What are the Fallas you ask? Well, Valencia is famous for the yearly celebration of ‘Las Fallas’ which is a traditional celebration of St. Joseph when the city erupts in fireworks displays and good times.
Each neighbourhood in the city forms a group which works together to create an artistic statue using various materials – usually paper mache or cardboard and a LOT of talent! These statues usually depict some sort of story or joke, often related to movies or politics. The statues (or ‘Fallas’) are placed in various locations around the city during this exciting week in February and people come from all over the world to see them. Meanwhile, there are other events going on in the city including instrumental bands marching through the streets accompanied by girls dressed in traditional dresses (they are called ‘Falleres’), the flower offering, which is when they cover a large, building-sized statue of the Virgin Mary with flowers, the Mascleta, which is an ‘explosive barrage of coordinated firecracker and fireworks display’ (according to Wikipedia!) and of course ‘La Crema’ which is the final night of the celebrations where they burn all of the statues, except for one, which gets to be kept in the Fallas museum. So, we learned all of this, and that ‘Las Fallas’ (Or Falles) means ‘torches’ because they are literally set on fire! I have never been to ‘Las Fallas’ but Gemma has and she told me all about it and we got to see some of the winning Fallas in the Museum.
Afterwards, we visited the Hemisferic Cinema which is close to the Fallas Museum. The Hemisferic Cinema is situated in another of the futuristic buildings in the City of Arts and Sciences. It has a 180-degree curved screen on the roof and you sit in a reclined position to view it. You also get a headset which can change the audio to whichever language you like so I was able to watch the film in English which my friend from Italy watched it in Italian, but from the same screen! We watched a documentary on American National Parks on this 180 degree curved screen, which was quite cool because you can imagine viewing the likes of the Grand Canyon on such a realistic screen! It was very cool to see and experience, and we all enjoyed it. Some of the girls had actually already been to the Hemisferic Cinema with their Spanish families during the week but they had gone to see something else, so were happy to come along again.