La Tomatina Festival

It’s virtually impossible to put my experience today into words. So, I’ll do my best to show you via video.

Let’s start with the obvious. I’m in Bunol, Spain for the La Tomatina Festival. I’ve always wanted to do it and it just so happened my vacation coordinated with the timing of this event.

All i knew going in was it was a tomato fight. People forgot to mention the 4 hour waiting in the sun on crowded streets.

If you are claustraphobic, this event is not for you. I have now seen multiple people hyperventilating CLOSE UP and i was freaked out just watching them. If you don’t like crowds and tight spaces, do not go.

Now that we got the disclaimer out of the way…

It all starts around 9am with a bunch of idiots trying to climb up a greased pole to get a ham. Yep, you heard that right.

httpv://youtu.be/rd3vwN5aDDE

There is not enough alcohol in the world to get me up that pole or anywhere near those boys fighting each other and the greasy pole. And for those of us incentive based, want to know what the lucky guy who get’s up the pole wins? the freaking Ham hanging off the top & of course the notariety!

Once the ham has been had, you head over to get in line for the tomatoes. Let the fight begin! Or at least that’s what we thought. But then, this happened.

that’s right, you pretty much just stand there while people in that truck throw tomatoes at you.

Let me say this, after waking up at 6am, waiting around in crowded streets for 4 hours (Tip: get there by 9am or they won’t let you in the city) and then being in a stampede only to see this truck throwing tomatoes at us, we were all very disappointed and had pretty much decided the whole thing was a bust.

But then a great thing happened. A street fight broke out. Think water balloon fight with tomatoes. It was kind of awesome really. It all eventually ended up looking like this:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWnPu99uGzA&feature=share&list=UUOQdX5SzLr7reyvf8Ro-bKw

Thousands of people getting pelted with tomatoes. It was insane. And for me, totally worth it.

Here’s what I learned:

1. If you have a IPhone people will purposely throw tomatoes at you while you are trying to film. Basically, b/c they are jealous that you are awesome and bought a waterproof case so you can document this event, you are now a moving target and will get hammered.

2. A tomato thrown hard to the back of your head hurts.

3. Tomato juice in your eye’s burn.

4. It is possible to get tomato bits down your actual ear lobe and find them after you shower.

All that being said, it was awesome.

To quote my friend “this is like Gasparilla confined to a 4 block radius”. Those in Tampa will know what that means.

Definitely not for everyone but I’m glad i did it.

 

 

NewsFlash: Rome is in Ruins

Ruin Exhibit A: The Colisseum. (it is AWESOME)

Now, I could bore you to death with a ton of photos of churches, old dilapidated buildings and art all of which in person is AH-Mazing.

However, none of my photos (even this awesome one to your left)will do it justice and since we now have a little thing called Google which has way better images of all of this than I do, I have decided instead to do a blog on random things to know about Rome.

Since, I’m a firm believer that everyone should visit Italy in their lifetime, here are some tips that will help you travel here.

Trust me, this is all the stuff you can’t find in the books but it’s helpful to know.

So, here we go in no particular order. You can thank me later!

  • There are over 1 Million scooters in Rome. You see about 3 of them for every car. In fact, I think the city buses are more prevalent than cars. My point is these scooters are dangerous so watch yourself crossing the streets. And do not bother renting a car.
  • This fact is for my Arena/Sports friends. Watch out, i’m about to drop some knowledge on you 🙂 The colisseum originally had a layer of sand on the top b/c that would help soak up the blood of the dead animals and Gladiators (gross right?) Anyway, the latin word for Sand is ARENA which is why all arena’s are named that today.
  • The tour bus is FUN and a great way to see the city.
  • Rome is comprised of 7 hills. Walking around is comparable to San Fran.
  • All Italian men try to kiss you on the check upon seeing you. Both cheeks. Apparently this is normal but I still don’t like it. The good news is if you let them (especially wait staff and restaurant owners, this usually amounts to free drinks and sometimes free dinner)
  • In August, it is HOT. And I’m from Florida and it’s still HOT. Bring LOTS of water with you at all time. All of vendors will sell water that is FROZEN. Get that kind as it will melt in 30 min and will be a lot more refreshing.
  • Wine is super cheap. If you drink wine, you will be very happy in Rome. Excellent wines at the same prices as Boones Farm J
  • Pinocchio is a really big deal here. You will see him in all the gift shops. Stock up!
  • All meal are 4 courses and there is no rush what-so-ever when it comes to services so just relax and enjoy the meal. They are in no rush to get you out of a restaurant.
  • I have not tried it but people will drink water from anywhere. Fountains, faucets on the side of streets. It does not seem sanitary to me but yet everyone does it. I was in a fountain and someone came and dipped there water bottle next to where I was standing.
  • There are a lot of ruins with nothing to see. Circus Maximus and the Forum are good examples of this. Read a history book and look online and save yourself the time if you are pressed. There are much better things to see.
  • If you order seafood it will come with it’s head on and eyeballs in. Be prepared.
  • The food is unreal. What they serve in the states is NOT real Italian. The cheese & pasta is truly amazing. I will come back here just for the food.
  • The toilet seats have no rims. Which makes for a very large seat. Which means you could fall in the toilet if you aren’t careful. Don’t ask me how I know this.
  • Blue jeans are actually from Genoa, Italy. They were the first to create the indigo dye and so jeans (Genoa) were named after them.
  • I would recommend the Roma Pass but only if you aren’t going to pay for tour guides. It’s worth the price b/c you get to skip all the lines.
  • There is no real homeless here like in other countries or people asking you for money. It’s refreshing.
  • For some reason, people seem to know we are American on site.
  • Gelato here is actually healthy and can be eaten 3-4 times a day. Half of this sentence is a lie J

Chow!

Rome – Day 1: The Vatican, Fountains, Statues & HEAT!

Let’s get started with a little tip for any of you looking to take over a country. Yep, you read that right. If you are looking to take over a country, I highly recommend Spain.

Why?

You know how most countries you visit want things like a boarding card and answers to a few basic questions like “why are you here?”

Well, Spain has no interest in that what-so-ever.

Easiest customs ever. Didn’t even look at my picture. Barely glanced at the passport and that was just to make sure the stamp actually landed on a page.

So, now you didn’t hear this from me but Spain is ripe for the taking. Someone get on this quick. All i need for the tip is free Sangria and Paella for life. Thank you!

I’ll right more about Spain later as we were only at the Madrid airport for about 6 hours before heading to Rome.

Roma. My kind of city.

Rome is my niche. I love it here. And I think people love me here. Could be b/c I’m blond, might be b/c I’m loud & American but anyway, so far me and my friend Court are a HIT.

Here’s  a pic of us with the restaurant owner last night.

As you can tell by the photo, I’m a little scared & surprised. One minute we are minding our own business at dinner. The next, the wait staff is asking for kisses on the cheek. And then the owner is greeting us & our dinner is free. Fun times!

Random, but does anyone else see a little Ed Asner in this guy?

So free food, is 1 great thing about Rome.

Here’s another reason I love Rome. Pasta. Cheese. Wine. Gelato. Repeat. Then Repeat again.

Today, we headed off to the Worlds Smallest Country. That’s right, the Vatican. After a 3 hour tour of art and more art I came away with this thought.

“I would rather shoot myself in the foot than be an artist”.

Michelangelo spent 4 years painting the Sistene Chapel ceiling. I spent 4 minutes looking at it and was too tired to hold my head at that angle any further. Here is a drawing of the angle Michelangelo had to be at in order to paint that ceiling.

If I was the painter I think I would have gone to the Pope and said “Look dude, I think this painting is really about Jesus and Mary, let’s paint them & a pretty blue sky and call it a day”.

I guess that’s why I’m in Marketing.

Other than that the day can be summed up with the following: Statues, Art, Walking, HEAT. All in all a fabulous first 24 hours in Rome.

Chow baby!