Our early morning train took us along the French Riviera, where we spied the pastel sunrise as we zipped past Cannes, stopped for our first French pastries in Marseilles and finally arrived some 7 hours later at Argeles-sur-mer. A town near the French and Spanish border – having traversed nearly the entire French coastline.
Argeles-sur-mer was again a destination chosen more for its location en route to our fixed plan of attending La Tomatina festival, than for any real knowledge about the place. It turned out to be a resort town bordered by a long sweeping beach and promenade, well serviced by a festive summer marketplace.
We stayed here for a few days, lazing on the beach, catching up on some exercise and eating some veggies – having a bit of a rest from the full time travelling we had been doing – (a break from the break if you will!).
Revitalised, we boarded another train (you’re sending a pattern here, I’m sure!) and crossed over the Spanish border to spend two nights in Valencia, our base for the long awaited La Tomatina festival.
For those of you who haven’t heard of it (and indeed many Spanish didn’t know what we were talking about) it’s the worlds largest food fight. Thousands of people descend on the small town of Buñol one day at the end of August each year, to spend an hour pelting each other with tomatoes. It was as insane and amazing as that sounds.
We started at 6am, hurrying through the quiet streets to the bus depot to meet our 200 strong tour group. We were bussed to the scene of action and let loose on vats of sangria before cramming into the narrow main streets, sensibly lined with tarpaulins to protect the store fronts.
The starting point was either a cannon at 11am, or upon the reaching of the ham strung from the top of a greased pole in the centre of the town square. Notwithstanding the attempts made, the ham was not grabbed and at 11am, at the cannon fire, the trucks descended on the town, filled to the brim with tomatoes.. How it went next, see for yourself in Kelly’s GoPro video – click the link to view! (Note – click the words below it, not the picture as its only a picture and I’m not fancy enough to make it work!)
Needless to say, washing my hair afterwards was essentially tomato soup, our clothes were quickly abandoned as lost causes, and the disgusting smell of warm tomatoes that seemed to permeate everything meant we were firmly sworn off tomatoes!