Hooooola! Welcome to my short but very sweet experience in Valencia, the headquarters of my Busabout La Tomatina experience in Bunol where I was tricked into liking a bogan from Newcastle during a very epic four days of sun, sand, paella, partying, tomato throwing and lols.
This is how this story goes..
I arrived in Valencia with Bert my billion kg Kathmandu bag at around 2pm. No one else was in the dorm yet so I decided to wander around the beautiful streets of Valencia and have a gawk.
After all the rubbish I ate on the boat, I was keen for something healthy and all that was around was sea of jamón baguettes and massive pastries – like actually – they have these heart shaped pastries the size of your head covered in chocolate. Just a casual snack.
I was pretty stoked when I found the awesome smoothie bar, Zummo which became my go to for the week. Zumo means juice in Spanish and I had a lot of fun trying to guess the different comabinations. My staple became fruit of the forrest, orange & banana with extra spinach. Here is a quick list of common smoothie ingredient translations… you’re welcome:
- manzana – apple
- naranja – orange
- pera – pear
- yogur – yogurt
- rutas más deseadas – berries
- fresas – strawberries
- espinacas – spinach
Health in hand I then stumbled across the most amazing market, Marché central de Valence, which was sort of like the Valencian equivalent to Queen Vic in Melb. Every kind of jamón, cheese, fruit, home made chips and much more. In a state of clean eating bliss I stocked up on all sorts of seeds and nuts.
My sailing trip around Croatia was full of couples so I began wandering if there were going to be any cute honey’s to pass the week by with. On this tour there were two hostels filled of Busabout La Tomatina travellers – I was staying at the ‘Red Nest” while there were more at ‘Purple Nest’ around the corner which meant lots of potential to meet boys.
Back at Red Nest all my roommates had finally checked in and turns out they were all friendly girls from Australia – I don’t know what it is about Europe but I keep running into people from Perth! No worries they are all lovely ^__^.
I quickly made pals with a fellow introverted Scorpio named Naomi and we relaxed until we had to go to dinner. She was strumming sweet nothings on her ukulele and I as I joke I requested Beyoncé. She started belting out ‘Halo’ in the most beautiful singing voice I had ever heard. I was much blown away because I meant for her to just strum it – I had no idea she had good pipes too!
Before dinner we had group walk around the town where our cute tour guide Jordy told us how ‘tapa’ literarily means lid and how originally they were served complimentary as snacks the size of a jar lid when you ordered a drink at a bar. I was pretty hangry by this time so I was left wondering why on earth was he talking about tapas if he wasn’t going to feed us anyway?
Along the walk we passed the helado (ice creams) store ‘Gelateria llinares’ which sells puke-worthy flavours such as anchovy, paella, mustard and tortilla. Due to my low blood sugar I had to have a pre-dinner taster – the not so scary ‘cafe’ flavour. He also told us about this sweet milk which originated from Valencia called ‘horchata‘ from a placed called ‘Santa Catalina‘ – finally a place where my name isn’t weird!
Along the walk we soon started making friends with everyone in the group and a guy called Jay from Newcastle introduced himself. He was drinking beer out of a tinny while walking around the streets so I instantly thought “oh God, here is another bogan Aussie”. lol. Little did I know he didn’t have the same attitude towards me and soon after we started a four-day long camp marriage.
After the walk paella (pronounced pie-aye-ya not pie-elle-a) was served for dinner. Jay joined my table and talk quickly turned to who was single or not. I started telling the guys about my past week on the couple cruise and how I never had any luck picking up guys at bars as I am pretty shy and how Tinder was my go to – because like, if they swipe right, it’s a pretty sure deal right?
Meanwhile, Jordy explained that paella meant “her” and that back in the day, boys used to cook paella to impressed the girls that they liked. So paella was made to woo “her”. Jay joked to the other guy at the table “hey buddy, could you imagine being at a night club with a paella pan in your pocket trying to pick up the ladies”… I lol’d and thought “jeeze who is this guy?”
After dinner we made our way to a bar where Purple Nest travellers joined us. My homie Naomi and I were busy talking and being on the prowl when we spotted some really cute boys. After chatting to thema for over half an hour we found out:
- a. they were from Melbourne (so am I!)
- b. they were staying at Red Nest (omg same!) and
- c. they were 22. Oh. Damn.
Meanwhile the rest of my dorn started getting loose on the d-floor and we all started dancing. Jay came over and started talking to me:
J: I can’t believe you FRIEND ZONED me before, you go on about boys not talking to you at bars and here I am
C: Haha really? Sorry, I didn’t really think I was your type
J: What’s your type?
C: I dunno… (inside my head: not bogan?!)
J: Why don’t you like me?
C: hmm.. Look pal, I’m just looking for friends, if we make out, we will ruin that!
J: But I want that smile.
Oh dear.. he mentioned my smile.
Then he started showing off doing all of these crazy dance moves and making me laugh.. he is actually quite a good dancer – turns out he did hip hop dance lessons for a year.. Am I really starting to like an Aussie bogan that does hip-hop? Who am I?!
Two hours later the judgmental bitch inside of me had waded and I decided – why not? YOLO right? What is the worst that can happen. So we went for a walk and kissed in front of some 1000-year-old monument until 2 in the morning. I mean, who will ever know I made out with a bogan?
He wanted to come back cuddle to my bunk with me “no way” I said.. “that’s not going to happen, this whole thing never happened!”
On day 2 we woke up nice and early to go to Peniscola Beach – a beach in the very beautiful old town of Peniscola about an hour an a half drive away from Valencia town centre. Rumor has it that the castle in the old town is going to be featured in season six Game of Thrones as the set of Casterly Rock – the seat of House Lannister which was pretty rad to see before it becomes a thing. During the wait for the bus we ran into Jay who was only holding a sad small plastic bag.
C: Cool beach bag
J: I slept in late and this is all I could find
J: Do I need a towel?
C: We are going to the beach.. so yes..
J: I left it at home.. I’mma just air dry!
C: -__- *sigh
The boys wanted to go check out the castle and Naomi and I wanted to catch up on our emergency tanning so we thought this was our chance to ditch them and find the beach. Much to our dismay, half an hour or so later, the boys found us and told us we were doing it wrong – that there was a much nicer beach on the other side. Ta.
On a side note.. Spanish beaches are a great display of the human body – woman of all creeds, weights and sizes are happy to go topless. Men are happy in skanky speedos. Makes you question what all the fuss is about really – a body is a body right? It is a bit sad we are so hung up and self conscious in Australasia. Who says you have to be perfect to hang around in only what God gave you? That said.. I am yet to go topless on a beach O_O!
Jay was coming out of the water as Naomi, Damo and I went for a quick dip. When I came out, Jay was very comfortable on my towel.. Ok.. well, he has kind of a good rig and his boganness is starting to grow on me.. shit..
C: Ok, feel free to make yourself at home..
J: Already have
On the way back to the bus we decided we all needed mandatory pre-departure helados. Jay stopped at the first helado place while I saw another one that looked good a few doors down where I of course got a scoop each of café and caramel.. the dairy free diet will have to be paused for now. When I got back Jay had a massive 3-scoop helado “I bought extra to share with you”. Naaw. I can’t say no to free helado!
We were all pretty tired on the way back so I slumped on Naomi’s shoulder while we listened to tunes and Damo and Jay snoozed in the seat in front of us.
C: If I had a red pen, I would totally draw on his head.
N: I have a black pen.
C: Ok. Jay, can I draw on your head?
J: Only if you give me a back massage.
He left the bus with a properly defiled head. What a trooper. No shame.
When we got back we went of a mission with the hostel group to get burner outfits for La Tomatina the following day. A burner outfit is like a burner cellphone – you know when drug dealers / marfioso’s have a cheap disposable phone for doing deals which they can easily throw away without the authorities being able to track any evidence. The same concept basically applies to La Tomatina outfits – the clothes get so ruined that you have to throw them away. Even the underwear. I bought an all white outfit for around €15 so I was a clean target – some men’s boxes and some espadrilles to go with a white top and the Busabout La Tomatina headband I had. We also passed this shop with many woven straw objects outside it including a cactus.. which I promptly selfied with.
That night we had planned to go to watch flamenco. Naomi and I decided to grab dinner by ourselves on a gal pal date. We found an awesome tapas place where we got potatas frittas (fried potatoes with chipotle and aioli), fried chorizo on bread, mussel croquets, tortilla de potatoes and a big plate of grilled vegetables. We were pretty tired so it was good to eat our feelings.
On the way back to the bar we ran into Jay and another tour guide. Turns out he was an acappella and he and Naomi busted out a duet of Dean Martin and Grease loudly on the street. Jay wasn’t going to the flamenco show so Naomi and I headed off sans bogs.
When the show started it was pretty impressive – three fat Spaniards passionately played guitars and sung while an amazingly talented man danced.
Halfway through I got a lil bored and thought I would sneak off to find where Jay so we could potentially make out. I bumped into Damo who said he was back at the hostel and was surprised to find him in bed chilling. I got in an we watched some Family guy on his iPad and snuggled. It was all pretty pleasant until one of his roomies came back with a girl and started getting it on in the bunk next to us.
C: Ok, I’m leaving..
J: I want you to stay here tonight.
C: That’s not going to happen.
J: Can I sleep in your bed?
C: That’s not going to happen.
J: Why not?
C: My poor roomies!
J: Only cuddles!
C: Naw.. ok.. but only if you leave at 5am before everyone wakes up – I don’t want them to know you were in my bed!
The next day my roomies asked “whose bloody alarm went off at 5am” “did Jay sleep over last night?!”. Buuuusted.
I asked Naomi what she thought:
N: It’s a hostel, what else are you supposed to do?
C: But isn’t it gross?
N: Nah, you’re only cuddling!
Day three was the day of the much-anticipated La Tomatina. We all woke up at 6.30am to make the 8am bus ride feeling pretty tired from our late night the night before. I was pretty excited by this stage about getting messed up by tomatoes. In my white I ended up looking like a tennis player. We had no time to get a healthy breakfast so we had white bread jam sandwiches. Yuk. Oh well!
We got to the festival and had about an hour to kill before the tomato throwing started. The guys got beer, I got strong coffee.
There were a lot of lol outfits to be seen such as nine Scottish guys all wearing red speedos, Jay wearing a Borat style onesie, our team leader wearing girls short shorts and so on and so forth. Basically, just as Halloween is an excuse for girls to dress slutty, La Tomatina is an excuse for boys to wear their gruds in public. As a joke I put a €1 coin in one of the Scottish boys underpants.. he took it too far and wanted me to put it up his.. His hairy ass blinded me and I was much too grossed out and ran away – so he put it up there himself!
In the tomato throwing area there was the traditional ham up a soap-covered pole. Many people attempt without success to climb to the top of it to get to the prized ham. A lot of people got close – but only when they worked together. Alpha-male’s tried jumping on others in pursuit of glory, but the ones most likely to get there made human ladders and helped each other. Said Scottish man from coin-gate was well drunk by this time and decided it was a great opportunity to climb the ladder sans red underwear with his willy was flying around in everyone’s faces. Eventually, like everyone else, he fell off it sans ham, on his hams.
Finally the canon to signify the start of La Tom went off and big trucks came pouring in with 150,000 tonnes of tomatoes. We had a blast smashing tomatoes in each other’s faces, down people’s backs and throwing them at strangers on the balconies.
At one point the Google Maps car came past and I got on Jays shoulders to try and secure my place in the Bunol La Tomatina Map. Wee hello Mum!
Once the end canon sung to signify the end of the tomato throwing, we all had to stop and that’s when the hoses started. By this stage the road was about 20cm deep in tomato soup. People made tomato angels and filled cups to splash at people.
We actually got a little lost walking back to the bus, but thankfully after some Spanglish conversations the policía got us back in the right direction.
By then we were pretty hangry again and just as well there were plenty of street vendors selling chorizo in buns, paella, beer and water.
We got home around 3pm and all had very long thorough showers. Even though I had washed my hair twice, when I brushed it my hairbrush came out thickly covered in tomato. They say you’ll be scratching tomato seeds out of your hair for days. They weren’t wrong.
Jay came into our room to talk to Naomi about some bank issue just as we were all laying down to have a nap. He climbed into my bed for a snuggle and we had an epic nap for two hours. I guess this is a thing now?
Our alarm sounded at 5:30pm and we got ready to head off to the after party.
The official La Tomatina after party is a huge event that is put on for all of the different tours that go to La Tom, not just Busabout, so there were a couple of thousand people there. Our Busabout crew got there pretty early and started messing about on the d-floor almost immediately. The DJ was playing some great hits so we all got really into it and were dancing pretty stupid trying to outdo each other. Jay was showing off again doing the worm, the slug, twerking and all things in between. Okay, so he is pretty cute. We ditched the crowd to go make out – finally hitting the hay around 3am. A long long busy and fun day.
He didn’t bother asking me if he could sleep over again, he just climbed in. Why not everyone knew now anyways right? My bogan loving status confirmed.
I had to get up at 8am to head off to A Coruna via Barcelona. I packed up Bert and said my goodbyes to my camp boyfriend and hostel buddies.
Later that day he Facebook messaged me saying the boys from his room were calling me his camp wife. Jesus that escalated quickly!
Now he is on a month long Contiki while I explore France, Italy and Spain and it is unlikely we will be in the same place at the same time.
Will I ever see my bogan-twerking-tinny-drinking-camp-husband again?
Part of me thinks if it will be, it will be. Either way, it turned out exactly how it was meant to be and was perfect during the four days that was.
Meanwhile, I write this as I fly over Paris with intentions to replace boy problems with pastry problems. Almond croissants and other #notdairyfree treats here I come – I’ll pay for that later!
Until next time lovers.
xx C[line] Clicky Clicky..