李明熙、Kimberlogic:直布羅陀馬騮山 華倫西亞放火節

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英屬直布羅陀/李明熙

在地中海入口的直布羅陀是英國領土,佔地近 7 平方公里,以前是軍事重地,現在以旅遊業為主,雖屬歐盟,卻不在「神根公約」之列,我們從西班牙陸地步行過境,關員只看入歐蓋章的日期,而離境時,關員只輕瞄護照封面便放行,出入境關卡形同虛設。

一出關口便要橫越直布羅陀機場跑道,所以每當飛機升降,都要封路 10 分鐘,對出入境的車輛則大受影響,可幸每天只有早午晚 3 班往返倫敦的民航機。來直布羅陀的以郵輪客居多,買過免稅煙酒,再續地中海遊。

直布羅陀有自己的英磅,情況跟蘇格蘭一樣,在英國本土不被接受,不過商店普遍接受歐元,兌換價各店不同,像我們只短留半天,沒有購物需要的,用信用卡付費最划算。

我們到直布羅陀,全因為想在山頂遠看對岸的非洲大陸。直布羅陀跟摩洛哥約 14 公里距離,船程只要 90 分鐘。上山的方法有 3 個:徒步、包車及坐纜車。山不高,只有 426 米,但大部分是人車爭路,路迂回不好走。包車比纜車價錢貴近一倍,而坐纜車登山,可說是在直布羅陀的唯一活動,在網上預訂纜車票,更有免費邊境接駁巴士。我們沒有預訂,怕風大纜車停駛沒法退款,但淡季人龍不長,等半小時便可上車。

在山頂可 360 度看到直布羅陀全巿,山上有兩個賣點:一個是玻璃地板的架空觀景台 Skywalk,今年 3 月請了演 Luke Skywalker 的 Mark Hamill 來剪綵,但山本身不高,沒半點驚險感;另一個是數之不盡的猴子,我們對猴子從不抱好感,看到不少遊客抱著猴子拍照,真替他們擔心。倒是沒有遊客餵飼猴子,因為罰款額是 500 英磅,真正有阻嚇作用,而猴子本身有專人每天餵飼新鮮蔬果,免得牠們跑下山滋擾居民。

Falles Festival of Valencia/Kimberlogic

Although we did some research about what the Falles festival is, we didn’t fully understand it until we arrived in Valencia. We had taken a morning train from Barcelona which put us in Valencia around 13:00. When we left the train station we were immersed in a crowd of people on the street and found all of the metro entrances blocked by police. We had to walk to the next metro station in order to enter which was difficult in the sea of people with our big backpacks. We later found out that at 14:00 each day from the first of March to the last day of the festival professional firecrackers and gunpowder are set off near all of the falles (and the subway is closed while this is happening).

What are falles? Falles are the monuments each neighborhood builds. There are over 300 falles in Valencia, some are up to five stories high, while some are quite humble. Each neighborhood builds a falla infantil, which is a falla for children that is not satirical or risqué, and a full-size falla for the adults; these tend to be very political and/or provocative. The falles statues look like cartoons coming to life. They are bright, colorful and life-sized or much, much bigger.

Each neighborhood (which is every 2 to 3 blocks) has their own group of artists that work for the entire year fundraising, creating, building and painting these falles. They work up until the very minute of the start of the festival, sometimes not even completing every detail. The falles are then displayed in the middle of the street, normally on a crossroad, and traffic is diverted for the next five days.

During the five days of the festival, you can go around to each neighborhood and see these wonderful creations, but there is so much more to this event. There is a religious component, as with most things in Europe, this festival began in the 1500’s to honor Saint Joseph (the saint of carpenters). There is also a procession of offering. This is a parade of the people involved with the falles in their neighborhood, dressed in traditional clothing, bringing flowers to the main cathedral to decorate an enormous effigy.

The last day of the festival is the most exciting. Starting around 22:00, each neighborhood burns their falla infantil to the ground. Then, around midnight or later, the main falles are burned. It is a spectacular pyrotechnic display. The falles are normally lit on fire by firecrackers and gunpowder in and around them. The fires get so big that the fire department is present at each falla, hosing down the buildings next to them and setting up barriers to keep the crowds of people at a safe distance from the flames. The only falla that is spared from the fire is the overall winner, chosen by a vote from the viewers.

The Falles festival is the start of Spring for Valencia and symbolizes a fresh start from the past year’s events. Everyday of the five-day festival is a big party. There are street vendors, parades, firework and firecracker displays and so much more. If you are anywhere near Valencia in mid March, this is a must see event!

我們的 #Home2HomeTravel

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李明熙、Kimberlogic 雜碎集

我們沒分東方或西方思想,只想以雜碎的遊歷去建立自己的世界觀和價值觀。We are neither eastern nor western mind. We just want to establish our worldview and values through traveling. 【李明熙】 曾用七個月時間從柏林踏單車回港,又不自量力參加蒙古越野單車賽。現從事影像製作、旅遊、教育等,自我催眠周身刀。著有「陌路回家」、「單車遊牧」及「良業遊民」。 【Kimberlogic】 An American who resides on the small island of Peng Chau, in Hong Kong, has a passion for traveling, partaking in local food and drink, different cultures and customs and watching people react to the world around them.

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