El Fracaso: The Failure

Everyone talks about how wonderful it is to “get lost in a foreign city” while studying abroad. When I got lost in Valencia, Spain during the Las Fallas festival, I really just felt like a failure.


My group of three friends and I successfully made it on the right bus in Madrid, and the bus arrived to Valencia without any problems.

The issues happened after our lovely pizza dinner.

8:00 p.m.:

We pulled out our Google Maps at the bus station, and it told us to take bus 115. After walking to all the different bus stops in the area, we still had no indicators for which stop was correct for the 115 bus.

We all went inside and asked the information desk employee, who had no idea about local busses in Valencia. Determined to not get confused, we headed back outside to ask more people which bus stop we needed.

DSC_0012 building!

8:30 p.m.

We asked several people on the street and at least 4 bus drivers if they know where the 115 bus stops. No one had any idea.

8:45 p.m.

Finally, one bus driver said he knew where we should go. We all paid and hopped on his bus.

9:00 p.m.

We got off by the Valencia football (soccer) stadium, as instructed, and still had no clue where the bus stop was. We then entered the area of the city already in full mode for celebrating Las Fallas. After flagging down other bus drivers and yelling questions to them over fireworks and drums, we were directed three different directions, with no luck.

DSC_0127 little girls with fallas bandanas


10:00 p.m.

The busses stopped running and we took a taxi, after discussing our options with our Airbnb host on the phone.

The whole way to the Airbnb outside of the city center, I sat in the taxi feeling like I had somehow failed my mission of figuring out the busses, after two hours of searching.

But once we got to the Airbnb, my friends and I had a long, real laugh about what happened.

To this day I don’t know where the right bus stop is for bus 115, but here is the epiphany I had about the situation: Sometimes there is no great discovery from getting lost and confused, except for learning that it IS okay to get yourself tied up in knots every now and again. Now I certainly understand that being able to laugh at the situation is vital.

We also experienced an unexpected benefit: our Airbnb was tucked away in a “pueblo” or small town, outside of the main action in the city center. As a result, we attended the festival in the pueblo and celebrated with locals instead of other tourists in the downtown. We were also able to get closer to the action than if we had watched the “cremà” or burn, in the main city.

Overall, I think I succeeded in learning to enjoy the chaos of it all. Here are the pictures to prove it, and a photo explanation of what Las Fallas actually is.

La Cremà

“Las Fallas” means “the fires” in Valenciano, and is a time when the town comes together to celebrate, have “pasacalles” or parades, and light giant figures called “ninots” on fire.


Many of these creations poke fun at celebrities and corrupt politicians, while others are inspired by fantasy.


When the time of the burn approaches, holes are cut into the ninots and fireworks placed inside.

DSC_0213 kids lighting the falla

 The falleras y falleros start the fire and then…

 DSC_0214 little girl during explosion

Everything explodes.


Las Pasacalles:

Here is one of the traditional Valencian parades, in traditional dress:

 DSC_0610 mommy and baby editedDSC_0588 processionDSC_0849 girl looking sidewaysDSC_0604 happy familyDSC_0954 little girl in sunDSC_0915 guy at festivalDSC_0476 guy and girlDSC_0769 lady in red dressDSC_0899 blue dress lady


Más del día y la noche:

 DSC_0294DSC_0279 alice in wonderlandDSC_0198 guy and granddaughterDSC_0123 la virgenDSC_0127 other towerDSC_0008 BIG FALLADSC_0046 tower and flagsDSC_0050 towerDSC_0332 firework and churrosDSC_0133 churro ladiesDSC_0071 china fallaDSC_0089 older fallera walkingDSC_0374DSC_0538 firemanDSC_0396 mermaid fireDSC_0368DSC_0280DSC_0061 woman fallaDSC_0458 the three during the ceremony looking upDSC_0555 monana fire


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