San Juan, Valencia

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

On Monday night we headed out to the summer solstice festival on the beach in Valencia. San Juan is essentially a giant booze up on the beach masquerading as a tribute to the pagan festival which celebrates the longest day of the year. In Valencia, the town hall start handing out firewood for you to build your bonfires at around 7pm so you go down and pick a pitch and get down to building the biggest fire you can manage.

Once that's sorted there's really no reason not to get settled into the sand with a nice Amstel with fresh lemon juice I should imagine.

We lay out, drinking up the surroundings and the Amstels, air heavy with the smell of barbecues and burning firewood. In the distance, people were setting off fire lanterns that hung over us in the sky.

At midnight, everyone runs screaming to the shore to jump over the waves and then back to the bonfires to jump over the fire. 

Some people seem to forget they're supposed to be jumping over the waves...

After midnight, the beach fills up with younger people as the families pick up their stuff to leave. San Juan is notoriously bad for drunk rabbles and pickpocketing so guard your belongings with your life and probably go into the sea fully dressed if you don't want to come back to a patch of sand and absence of clothes. 

If there's one thing you'll learn after an extended period in Spain it's the Spanish people LOVE. FIRE. They're out burnin' up their beaches, lightin' up their streets and sparkin' up their fireworks from a young age. The best thing you can do is throw yourself in feet first and try not to be frightened of a little thing like 2nd degree burns.

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