Sunday work up late for church ... when I stepped out about 11:30 to find some breakfast, I noticed everyone was walking towards the cathedral, so I followed along. Seats were filling up quickly so I sat next to an old lady who was also by herself. I should mention that I was dressed atrociously for mass, but she was kind to me anyway J Her name was Clara, after St. Clair and she recognized La Virgen de Guadalupe when I told her my name was Lupe. She explained a lot to me about the celebration that day. Noon was was to be replaces by a special ceremony where the City's flag is received by the Archbishop and the church. She even translated the Valencian hymn for me and pointed out the priest who wrote the hymn
. The ceremony was beautiful... the flag was carried in by all of the elected officials of the city and special dignitaries from the provinces, etc. The archbishop gave a blessing then the flag and crew continued on their journey around the city. I said goodbye to Clara and she wished me well in Valencia (hope to see here again - she says she goes everyday to mass at 9:00 am -- though since I've been in Valencia I haven't been able to get up that early!!) headed back towards the hostel trying to find anywhere I could get some food. Found myself again following the crowd to a little garden plaza where everyone seemed to be gathered, waiting for the flag again. All I could find was a coke stand selling crackers (which I devoured) and waited for the celebration to start. This time there was lots of singing and rallying (seemed to me to be about the very hot topic of independence for Catalonya = statehood). This plaza has a statue of the city's founder Alfonso el Magnanimo. After much cheering and singing the crowd moved on... and yes I followed... to the city's municipal square, where city hall is located. There the flag was returned ceremoniously to its original place, and celebrated with a thunderous display of fireworks, yes during the day!!!! This was as spectacular as the evening show. By now it was 3:30 going on 4:00 PM and from what I could tell, nothing was open for business. So I headed back to the hostel again and found my roommates slowing moving about (they had partied till 6:00 AM). Soon, we headed out together and had a quick bite (Spanish fast food), then joined the crowds that were quickly filling up the streets again
. And soon, the parade began marching down the street with excellent music and fantastic costumes!! We all drained our cameras by taking way to many pictures. Here they are for you to enjoy. The parade seemed to represent Valencia's long and colorful history. This was (in our unanimous opinion the world's longest parade. It began at 6:00 PM and when we left at 9:15 its was still going strong!!) We headed out to the Ciutat de Artes Y Ciencias... so the girls could see what I'd been telling them about all day... the brand new Palau de Artes. They were absolutely amazed and I felt happy to have been able to share something about Valencia with new visitors, as if this were my home town. We headed back downtown for dinner, and caught the last stage of the parade (at 11:00). Had some yummy tapas and red wine for dinner and called it a very good night.
Saturday night October 10th I was chilling out in my room with my new roommates Ashley and Kerry from Oregon (they were on break from school in Denmark) when all of a sudden we hear loud thundering noise coming from the street -- the fireworks had started. It was an awesome show!!! See the video...