My name is Eoin Walsh and I am sixteen year old Transition Year student who has recently just returned from a three week language experience near the beautiful city of Valencia where really and truly, I had an experience which I will never forget. I arrived in Valencia with the purpose of improving my Spanish. I came away with so much more. I arrived on Friday the 3rd of March to a very warm welcome from all members of my host family. The family lived in a beautiful house in a small residential suburb on the outskirts of Valencia called Moncada. In my host family there was a Mother, Father and two boys aged 13 and 16.
During my first weekend with the family I came to know them extremely well. On Saturday I was treated to a tour of Valencia. I could never have expected how amazing Valencia really is. Each footpath in the city is lined with rows of orange trees which were luckily in season during my stay. The city is a vibrant mix of old and new with the two halves, El Casco Antiguo (old quarters) and El Casco Nuevo (new quarters) blending seamlessly to create a truly amazing city. Add on top of that a mile long unspoiled beach and there is nothing which Valencia is lacking. The family showed me all the amazing attractions and afterwards treated me to a welcome lunch out in their favourite restaurant in Valencia.
I was very lucky to visit Valencia at a time when they were having a major festival, Las Fallas. In the whole year in the lead up to Fallas towns in the Valencia region build large statues traditionally carved out of wood which compete in a competition during the time of Fallas (1st to 19th of March). The statues are incredibly large and can cost anywhere in the region of 50 to 200 thousand euro to build. On the last weekend of Falles the winners are announced and only the winning statue will be saved. All others will be burned on a night of huge parties on the streets of Valencia. During my time in Valencia there was always an incredible atmosphere because of the festival.
On the Sunday my family brought me to the Main Square in Valencia. At exactly 1 o’clock everyday in Valencia for the whole period of Fallas there was a fireworks display called La Masclueta. This is a huge event for locals and happens in the main square everyday. I was lucky enough to get to witness the madness of the Masclueta many times and it was really one of the best things I’ve ever been lucky enough to see. We watched from a friend’s balcony which overlooked the square below.
I look forward to updating you in my next blog where I will talk more about my experience in school and the friends I made there! Bye for now!