Or how a party became a lesson
It all started on a morning in February 2013 when I was on a long trip in Europe, the next stop was La Tomatina, a famous tradition that takes place in Buñol, Spain, very close to Valencia. I was traveling with a friend who later became one of my best friends that the life could gave me, although I see him not too often because he is always traveling and moving from one place to another, I really miss our talks and good times together.
It should be said that although this tradition exists for years, 2013 was the first time that the government decided to implement a system of access (quite deficient by the way) to control the number of people who year after year arrived, then decided to sell tickets that include round transportation from your place of origin to Buñol, these could be purchased from the website, until then all good, we were with our tickets ready and prepared for the excitement!
Well we arrived at the meeting point from where the buses were supposed to leave to Buñol, that was a terrible disaster, the buses did not have a number, so it was impossible to know which one you had, everyone wanted to arrive and everyone was fighting for a place, apparently they sold more seats than they actually had, in short, finally we were able to get on a bus and we went to the long-awaited Tomatina.
When we got there, Buñol was ready to receive us, there were fences on all sides to control the access (even so people jumped and went where they wanted), there was a lot of security that was responsible for receiving our tickets and in exchange you were given a bracelet, with which you could enter the area where would be the tomatina (closed some streets where the truck full of tomatoes would go), something like San Fermin but with tomatoes.
Finally the trucks arrived full of rotten tomatoes (yes, rotten!), I did not expect them to be rotten, but I understood that it would be a waste to be usable, so good, despite the bad smell I decided to participate with everything, throwing tomatoes everywhere that was crazy, and in the middle of the tomato war protected the sight with some goggles since the acidity of the tomato harms the eyes.
That massacre of tomatoes lasted a long time, all the people fell to the floor and threw tomatoes against each other, that was a soup of humans swimming in a tomato sauce, all happy and celebrating life in the midst of that absurd, but good, What we should do? that’s how we humans are, in the middle of that absurd we were happy to enjoy that moment.
Little did we imagine Osmar and I, that the real adventure would come later. Well, finally they blew a whistle, and the fun was over, everyone seeing each other, little by little the conscience of the adult mind returned, like a dog running through the meadows and attention to the present is the whistle that returns it to home. So all trying to shake a little, my hair had been stiff and covered with pieces of tomato (took me 4 weeks to be able to remove them completely), luckily we had saved our passports and the few euros we had in a ziploc bag.
After a tremendous party, we were starving, but first we took a “shower”, we were inexperienced so we didn’t think to bring extra clothes with us, to take a proper shower and cnahge, but even so we decided to remove a little of the sauce we had on top, the people who live in Buñol are very good persons and take hoses and jets of water to share with tourists.
After eating and spending the few euros we had (remember we already had the transport included so we thought we did not need much money, just the necessary to eat), we decided to take the bus back to Valencia, where we were staying at a friend’s house … there began our story!
When we went to where the buses were, we met again the terrible organization of those transports, none said where they were going, so we assumed that everyone was going to Valencia, and in the middle of my desperation to get there I got on a full truck of chinitos with a few empty seats Oh grave mistake!
Finally the truck started, Osmar and I fell asleep, the truck took the road, after a while of being asleep and a good time of travel, Osmar luckily woke up and told me that we had been traveling for a long time, more than 2 hours, when Buñol is not more than 35 minutes from Valencia, then it was there when we started to worry, where did we go? We asked the driver and oh surprise, we were going to Barcelona! Without money and full of tomatoes, how were we going to return to Valencia?
We got off at a gas station, where luckily there was a restaurant and a hotel, so we were analyzing our options, to get to the nearest town by train, to stay at the hotel? but we did not have money for any of those options, it seemed that the most feasible was to ask someone to go to Valencia to take us. I thought that asking for a stop would be the easiest thing in the world in Spain, but what do you think? It is forbidden! .. So nobody, absolutely no Spanish there was willing to break the rules.
I was asking more than 20 people (that their course was towards Valencia) if they could take us, nobody wanted, even those drivers who were traveling alone were not willing to help us, of course with that smell, dirty, without money and without more than our history and an identification, who would be the brave ?.
It had been more than 3 hours, it was getting late, it was after 5pm, we were in a gas station in the middle of nowhere, Valencia was more than 8 hours walking (on the road), I was worried that it was done at night, and the sky began to cloud. Suddenly a camper arrived, in it was a young family, a German in his 30s, his wife and his little daughter who was only a few months old, it seemed they were going to eat at the station’s restaurant. I said to myself, they seem to be travelers, they will surely understand our situation, so I bit my pride again, and as a beggar I approached them like someone who asks for bread, I explained to the boy (again) our situation, he was my only hope, so I let him know, sadly I did not see him very convinced, he told me he was traveling with his family and his little baby and he did not want to take risks. On the one hand I understood it but on the other, I realized that our situation was serious, so we began to contemplate the only option that we had left, it was time to start walking the road to Valencia, yes, 8 hours!
So we did, Osmar and I started walking, all the cars that passed us were playing us claxón do not know if that estorbábamos or because they were surprised to see people walking around, I thought in that situation, we would have just 2 options, or the police picked us up or a charitable soul gave us a stop, at that point the first option was most likely for me, and even it was not so bad when I preferred that to die crushed like a rat on a road in the middle of nowhere.
Shortly after the sky announced with gray clouds what was coming, it started to rain, the first drops of rain fell on our heads, what could be worse? Suddenly, a camper happened to our side, very fast , and in the distance we saw that stopped they were the hippies! .. I saw someone in the distance that left the camper and started to make us sign, come, come! … we ran with all our strength and arrived at the camper … Uff It was like being born again! They opened the doors of their camper, that was a real motor home, with everything a small family needed, even a dog!
That’s how these angels saved us in that adventure, they took us to Valencia (they turned their course a bit, because I think they were going to Alicante, so they had nothing to do going through Valencia), they told us that they were Germans living from time already in Spain (that’s why we got auto stop, a Spaniard was not going to break the rules!), he gave surf lessons and his yoga and massage girl. Finally we arrived in Valencia, we exchanged contacts in a small piece of paper that you always end up losing, so I never heard from them again, I do not know if they still live in Spain, but wherever they are always my best wishes will be with them.
So after 4 years of this adventure, this post goes for them and for my dear friend Osmar, that the adventures always go with us and we have something to tell to our grandchildren, hugs everyone from the distance.
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