Friday 21 September 2018

La Tomatina, Spain (Review & Safety Tips) ... Experience of a Lifetime!

Hola! Greetings from Spain returned ! πŸ˜‰

Spain had been a great host and I loved every bit of it. Great architecture, blooming balconies, chocolates loaded, bicycle rides on spanish streets, sweetness of macarons, I was completely overwhelmed. A trip to be remembered for lifetime, the high point being a part of the La Tomatina festival! I hope you remember glimpses from the famous Hrithik Roshan starer - "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara". Thought of penning down my experience for all those who may be excited for splashes of sauciness in the coming years.

#La-Tomatina2018 #Madness #TomatoFestival #Bunol #SpainDiaries #Sauciness

LaTomatina was held on 29th August this year and we were a part of this festival. We had booked 1 day package from Barcelona via Stoke Travel (Charges - 95Euro for 1 day package per person). Ever since we booked, i was bouncing off the walls. Stoke Travel is indeed one of the finest tour operators that we experienced so far in the foreign lands. We had our itinerary defined well in time and also instruction mailers were received well in advance containing some crucial tips to follow during the festival. They own a pretty responsive help desk, which can be contacted through emails or calls and your queries are resolved timely. For booking you may visit Stoke Travel here
Also to highlight we were little confused between and Stoke Travel, but honestly we made the finest choice by booking with stoke as team was nowhere to be seen at the pick up point for almost 1 hour and the tourists who made bookings through them were jittery by then, not exaggerating - almost in tears. They thought for once been cheated until the team arrived. Highly unorganized, no less than a nightmare... what a pity sight!

#StokeTravel - Barcelona the city that never sleeps but sometimes passes out!

Finally the D-day arrived. I was all bright eyed and bushy tailed standing at the meeting point (Hard Rock Cafe, Placa de Catalunya, Barcelona) in the middle of the night (2AM) πŸ˜‰. The team arrived and the entire crowd was split into 2 groups. After quick briefings of the do's and dont's, we got our hand tags that were to be worn for the entire festival duration. (To be identified as Stoke Traveler). One could opt for paella and unlimited beer/ sangria at the base camp with additional 10 Euros. Few folks also opted for Stoke travel t-shirts with slogans flashing - "Don't Keep Calm - It's Tomatina". Our buses departed at 3AM and we were off to the port city of Spain, Valencia. From there we further went ahead to Bunol, the real smashing ground and reached around 09:30 AM in the morning. City was flocked with thousands of people coming from all over the world to enjoy the tomato madness for next couple of hours. We quickly got one cell phone pouch and two swimwear goggles to protect our eyes from the tomato juice and started walking towards the main street of action. We walked down our way to the pole wherein the ham was hung. People tried endlessly to grab it and start the show, but alas! All in vain. Finally the festival started with a gun shot at 11AM. Trucks loaded with tomatoes started moving across the streets and the tomato fight was in full swing. We witnessed 6 trucks that passed by, it was indeed a full entertainment for next 1 hour. Loved every moment of it. It ended at 12 with another gunshot, post which people started heading back The roads were filled with tomato debris by then and Bunol was painted in Red! Roads flooded with tomato puree all over, this sauciness turned thousands of strangers into friends in just an hour. People laid down on the streets, enjoying the puree, splashed water while the city council started the cleaning process immediately after 12 noon. As we headed back, locals provided water from hoses to clean the tomatoes from our body. But trust me you are all soaked up and it definitely needs a shower to clear every bit of it. Skin felt fresh, all due thanks to the tomato facial 😊

We reached back at the spot where in our bus has dropped us. Pulled in our change bag and literally changed under a towel ... looks like I got expert in that 😜Post that we were taken to our campsite in Putzol which was an hour drive and we had unlimited sangria to ourselves and some nice food. There was a beach nearby and we basked in the sun for about 2-3 hours. Later we boarded our buses at 6PM and bid good bye to this beautiful city and reached Barcelona at midnight. A total 24 hours journey with absolute strangers in a foreign land has now become a sweet memory to be cherished forever... Indeed a dream come true!

Some quick tips -

  • Show up early and fetch a good spot as it will be crowded later
  • Wear old clothes as later you would need to trash them
  • Carry a set of fresh clothes and a towel
  • Wear shoes instead of flip-flops, will save you from slipping
  • Do not bring anything with you- Prefer empty handed
  • Wear eye shades (swim goggles) to protect your eyes from the tomato juice. It burns!
  • Carry a waterproof pouch for your cell phone (to click pics during the festival).
  • Always squeeze the tomatoes before throwing else it hurts badly
  • Stay Hydrated at all times
  • Beware of shirt rippers!
  • Preferably wear white t-shirts ... they paint well in red.
  • Know your bus drop point and remember the bus number.

Clip from the La Tomatina Festival 2018

Hope you can contain your excitement until next year to be a part of Tomatina! Happy Traveling!

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