Once that rocket is launched to announce 11 o´clock on Wednesday 29th August in Buñol ( near Valencia), one hour of sheer squashed tomato hurling tom foolery commences. Fun and laughter ensues! Creation of spontaneous, fabulous photographic opportunities of one of the most hilarious fiestas of the Valencian calendar year, rolls out across these red strewn streets. Where “bodies” lay sprawled, trying to regain footholds, but can´t for giggling too much and responding by retaliating with what ever “red, gooey, gunge” they can claw back off the street and”wham” back at their assailants.
“La Tomatina Fiesta” has received International fame and usually 40,000 or more Europeans, Americans, Asians converge on this small town . This is some 30 miles away from the nearest airport in Valencia and though you can travel by car , the Tourist Board recommends you take the train (return ticket is approx 3 dollars from Valencia) or bus(no return tickets, but around 2 dollars for a single). Everyone will be in fiesta “free for all tomato projectile” mode and may have already started celebrating before joining the commute. You are sure to have made new friends before you get there!
Please, please pre-protect your camera equipment in plastic bags.This is no sympathy, and in fact, you will become a likely target for these tomato hurlers of all shape , sizes, ages and refinement. Believe the “British Reserve” mode flies out the window before you get there.
Tomato Warfare Rules of Engagement ( N:A:T:O: approved- yeh, for sure!) :
# You may only throw tomatoes, tomatoes and more tomatoes (The clue is they are red, different shape and sizes -categorised as a fruit, though some folk think they grow on pizza´s.)
# Please squash them before throwing them. Whole one´s will cause bruising when thrown with menace (Oops, sorry darling, missed one!)
#Polizia (local constabulary) strictly forbids you to tear off other folks clothing, thought the locals seem to ignore that. (It springs to mind, “When In Rome….”, but do so at your own perril!)
#Play fair – a cheek for a cheek. ( Not sure which cheeks are referred to? Oh well, all is fair in love and tomato warfare.)
# Do not take bottles. Do not carry anything that may harm other people, or cause a hindrance to your tomato whirling arm.
#Make sure that wallets and handbags (purses) cannot be pulled off you or lost accidental in this fun brawl.
# Tomatoes and fiesta are free. Do not bring your own.
#Show respect for the passage of trucks bearing these mature tomatoes. You will not run out. They keep on rolling up with tonnes upon tonnes of this tomato cannon fodder.
#Do not wear white (or best clothes). White to a giant tomato in full flight, is like red is to a charging bull!
# Only throw at people. (Fabulous, give me your best shot!)
#Do not deface someone´s home or windows!!!
#Take no prisoners.
Well, that all sounds fair game and enough mishief for me .
Sounds a wonderful way of relieving summer stress, and without having to do a gruelling hike for days up to the top of a mountain in Nepal to shout and shout and exhale all that pent up emotion.
If you are a tourist and need accommodation places for all budgets will be found in Valencia, but are limited in Buñol. Contact either the Spanish Tourist Office or call 0034- 963-986-422or fax 0034-963 -986-421.
The Ayuntamiento de Buñol can be contacted for more specifics of teh town and fiesta details of events leading up to, during and after – as well as local amenities.
Unfortunately, this year I will be unable to personally take part, but then it will be with joy that I will be at Barcelona El Prat Airport to greet my daughter Julie (and best friend you could wish for) and other grandson, Shane Adam. Just received a text of their arrival dates!!Must find a fiesta or two for them to attend.
However, would love to receive some of your La Tomatina photo stories and tales to go with them. Please email me.