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Now living in l'Olleria, south of Valencia

Friday, 27 August 2010

La Raima

On the last Friday of every August, La Pobla Del Duc (a local village) celebrate the grape harvest, with a battle!

All of the (presuambly) less than perfect grapes are put into trucks, and taken down a street, and anyone in sight is bombarded. Also, for some random reason, a water bowser went down the street too.

Needless to say, the street is full of people, ready to take part in the battle. Sturdy (or no) shoes are best, as flip flops just fall of. Goggles are a good idea, whether swimming goggles or safety ones. Cotton wool in the ears (or earplugs) and cover yourself with oil before it begins. The oil, is to prevent the tannin irritating your skin. Many people used vegetable oil, but baby oil worked fine too.

It was very hot today (over 40 degrees most of the day) and it was funny seeing everyone with very shiney skin, but knowing it wasn't sweat.

At 12 o'clock, a firework went off, and the battle commenced. The trucks slowly moved down the road, with people in the back, throwing bunches of grapes at everyone in sight. Needless to say, everyone on the street simply threw then back! However, that, of course, simply gives them more ammunition. After a while, it became apparent that even those on the street were throwing them at the other spectators. How rude. I'm not used to throwing things at strangers. I soon got used to it though!

At one point, a young lad grabbed me from behind, and used me as a shield from his friend. He did appologise afterwards though. The whole thing was great fun. There were people of all ages. The grapes didn't hurt too much - a lot like snowballs. Only if you got hit in the head by someone with a good strong aim did it hurt. Most of the time, it was simply a constant thumping of small bunches, or single grapes.

Within minutes, the road was 3 inches deep in dark red juice, and at the end, 2 people lay down and 'swam' in the mess. As usual, the TV crews were there, recording the Spanish at play.

Afterwards, there were showers laid on for everyone to use. I had a good rinse off, but on the way back up, there was a single lorry laying in wait, and, although I tried to hide behind a tree as it passed, I got covered again! Thankfully, we know someone who lives in the village, and she gave us her house keys, so we could have a proper shower! (Thank you Laetitia)

We returned to the site of the battle for a wonderful paella - the traditional Valenciano celebratory meal! Yum yum.

Brilliant day out. (But that T-shirt didn't get white again!)

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