FUN-travel: La Tomatina – Buñol, Spain

September 11, 2012 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: La Tomatina – Buñol, Spain 

Trip Day 50 – Wednesday, August 29 – La Tomatina, Buñol & Chiva, Spain

“Pequeno Tomatinas”


La Tomatina in Full Swing

  • 7:00 – up and adam for our big day
  • 8:00 – taxi over & back $20 Euros
  • secured roof top is a big win!
  • water station is set up in main square – Plaza de Puebla next to church – 4 huge hoses on raised platform
  • pole is up set up with big ham leg attached on top
  • the revelers cheer as people take their turns attempting to climb it to get the prize
  • biggest hurdle is that it’s all soaped up & slippery
  • 9: 00 – locals turn on their spigots & start hosing the people in the street
  • on rooftop we fill buckets with water to throw on the revelers
  • our hosts have typical breakfast of tomatoes, bread & olive oil, potato chips, tortilla (egg & potato dish) & beer for us
  • the costumes are incredible!
  • 3 people outfitted  in theme – as a hot dog,  Heinz ketchup & mustard bottles
  • 2 guys in full tuxedo body suits
  • 2 with watermelon head helmets
  • Japanese man in fishnet stockings & red ruffle panties with “pequeno tomatinas” sewn on
  • most people in t-shirts
  • 11:00 – canon sounds for the official start of La Tomatina
  • now the crowds are packed in like sardines in all 4 directions from our corner perch

Mixing the Soap for the Pole

  • 11:10 – 1st truck arrives with tomatoes – crew on board starts throwing as many as they can – then truck dumps a portion in the street
  • chaos ensues!
  • 4 more trucks drive through at intervals

    The Tomatina Truck

  • have no idea how no one gets run over!
  • 12 noon –  canon sounds for the end
  • by this time people are begging to be sprayed with water
  • locals come out and start sweeping & hosing the streets
  • you can’t believe the amount of clothing articles are left
  • the tomato juice actually cleans the cobblestones
  • 1:15 – we venture down to walk back to taxi pick up
  • Japanese couple sharing taxi are on their honeymoon
  • 1:30 – back to hotel
  • drive to mas y mas grocery store for lunch of you guessed it – bread, meat & cheese
  • go to recommended restaurant for dinner & make reservation
  • grande siesta
  • 8:30 – dinner @ La Orza – tomato & tuna belly salad, roasted tuna with grilled vegetables, nice Ribero del Duero wine
  • 10:30 – drive back to hotel

True Entrepreneur


  • by 8:15 the main square is packed with people
  • major claustrophobia!

FF (FUN-fact) – La Tomatina is a food fight festival held on the last Wednesday of August each year.  The town of 9000 swells to over 30,000 that day. The festival begins with the sound of the canon at 11:00 and ends with the sound of the canon at 12 noon.

More FF – We met people from Portugal, Finland, Norway, Latvia, Japan, India, & the US.

Up On The Roof

FUN-travel: Chiva & Buñol, Spain

September 10, 2012 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Chiva & Buñol, Spain 

Trip Day 49 – Tuesday, August 28 – Chiva & Buñol , Spain


Tomato Contest

  • good hot coffee on patio
  • Chris found connection for a balcony on internet & have appt @ 11 am
  • 9:45 – drive to Buñol
  • find parking close to main square
  • in pursuit of a balcony
  • walk up Cid (main street for festival)
  • many people wrapping & draping their apartment homes with blue tarps
  • (tomato stains stucco – need to keep it off)
  • see family with corner home & roof top on 4th story
  • looks like a good place to be
  • walk over and ask in Spanish “Is it possible to rent a balcony?”
  • they said, “Si”
  • the rest is history
  • get interviewed by local TV station
  • 11:30 – connect with Jacopo
  • wonderful young man from Italy who books balconies for festivals
  • his tag line is “Being there, but without the crowds”
  • he likes our rooftop so we introduce him to the family
  • 2:00 – lunch in Plaza Layana – full of young people partying
  • order pizza to be safe
  • 3:00 – back to hotel in Chiva

Locals Hanging Out on Cid

  • siesta

Cid At Sunset

  • 7:30 – drive back to Buñol
  • Cid is closed to traffic
  • 7:00 – tomato contest – judges are rating the locally grown tomatoes
  • street is lined with locals on both sides
  • have set up tables with food & drinks
  • street has colorful lighted decorations strung across it
  • lots of music & people strolling
  • get table on street – great people watching
  • have beer & paella
  • 10 pm – head back to Chiva
  • stayed here because they had a *** hotel


  • didn’t get good directions for meeting Jacopo
  • wandered around for 30 minutes trying to find him
  • more mediocre pizza
  • wished we would have stayed in Buñol
  • only ** hotels here
  • Chiva hotel needs some TLC & maintenance

FF (FUN-fact) – One of the most popular theories is that disgruntled townspeople attacked city councilmen with tomatoes during a town celebration. Whatever happened to begin the tradition, it was enjoyed so much that it was repeated the next year, and the year after that, and so on. The holiday was banned during the Spanish State period under Francisco Franco for having no religious significance, but returned in the 1970s after his demise.

FUN-travel: Granada to Chiva & Buñol, Spain

September 4, 2012 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Granada to Chiva & Buñol, Spain 

Trip Day 48 – Monday, August 27 – Granada to Chiva & Buñol, Spain

Buñol Plaza de Puebla


Cid – Street for La Tomatina

  • up and ready to go to next big adventure!
  • (same coffee, fruit, sandwich to-go experience)
  • 10:30 head out
  • drive looks a lot like the mountains close to Yuma, AZ
  • make good time
  • arrive 4:15
  • drive to Buñol takes 10 mins
  • 1st stop – beer break
  • 2nd stop – Buñol Hotel & ask about La Tomatina & getting a balcony
  • very helpful young women @ front desk tells us about the Paella Cook-off  happening @ 7 PM
  • town is terraced on a steep hill
  • snake down streets
  • find the castle, the church, the main square – Plaza de Puebla
  • 6:45 – need to eat – find pizza place – mediocre at best but I’m really hungry
  • 7:15 – walk one block to street by the park, over four blocks long, lined on both sides with families & groups cooking their paella
  • consists of sand on the pavement to create fire pit, stack of firewood, a metal stand to make stove, & big round metal pans of varying sizes with handles (like a huge wok with the bottom cut flat)
  • unlike anything I’ve ever seen!


Paella Cook-off

  • have to drive 330 miles
  • no luck finding a balcony

FF (FUN-fact) – The tomato fight has been a strong tradition in Buñol since 1944 or 1945. No one is completely certain how this event originated.