I met a nice girl from New Orleans today while we were all checking into the hotel. Her name is Michelle and we are both soooooo excited to be in Spain. It seemed we had a lot in common, so I asked if she wanted to be my roomie for our time in Spain. People say that Spain is one of the happiest countries and has the most festivals in the world. It makes my happy just to be here, and I was hoping we could catch some of the festivals.

After we got settled in and unpacked our extremely over packed suitcases (I saw Michelle’s was mostly shoes and purses), we wanted to find out if anything special was going on today. Michelle suggested we ask the front desk clerk for some advice. She gave us tons of information and pamphlets, but the most interesting information she gave us was about this HUGE festival that would be happening TODAY in a town near Valencia, which was just a bus ride away from where were staying! The festival is called La Tomatina and people from all over Spain and all over the world come to participate in a tomato fight they will surely never forget. That sounded like so much fun! The hotel clerk explained that there are many stories about how it all started back in the 1940s. She told us that most people say the festival got its start because one day during a parade a couple of kids were bored and threw tomatoes at the people that were participating in the parade and then everyone at the parade started throwing tomatoes at each other. I asked Michelle if she wanted to go and she said “Are you kidding me? Let’s roll!” So we both ran upstairs to change clothes.

The clerk told us we only had 10 minutes to change, but I swear we were back downstairs in five. The bus to Valencia was very punctual and we were the first ones on it. It was 9:30 am, when we got to Valencia and then we took another bus to Buñol, were the “guerra de los tomates” (tomato war) takes place.  We were told that the festival would start at the plaza as soon as the trucks filled with massive amounts of tomatoes arrived. The streets were filled with tons and tons of people; people playing music, people dancing, children running and playing, and people selling things. Who would have thought so many people would show up for a tomato fight? Then, before I knew it, the fight began. Luckily, Michelle and I wore t-shirts and jeans. After 10 minutes or so, we were covered from head to toe in tomato juice! I admit: it was more fun to throw the tomatoes than being hit by them! Michelle and I looked at each other and, at the same time said, “this is so AMAZING!”

When we got back to the hotel we took the longest showers ever! We also threw our clothes into the dry cleaning bags hanging in our closets, and now we are both writing about the good times and uploading pictures. We had never imagined that there was a tomato fight tradition in Spain. That’s why the little town of Buñol is famous all over the world and I’ll be picking tomato seeds out of my hair for a while!