Don't get me wrong, I love having friends and family to stay but life is never quite the same when guests are here. I don't like to wake them up with my usual early morning cleaning; my craft room needs to be quiet since it is next to the guest room and so, no cutting, painting or videoing.
June is also the month of the burning here and no, I don't mean over doing the tanning (although some people do that too!) Think of Southern Spain and a great many think, sun, sea, sand and booze.
There is another part of Spain that is less well known, the local culture is largely not promoted, things that would, in the UK be regarded as tourist attractions, are kept spookily quiet and, unless you speak or at least attempt to speak Spanish, you won't find out about them.
All over the region, there are the Fallas, burning of huge effigies, largely comic in nature and extremely elaborate. Here are some pics I took a few years ago in a local town.
As you can see, they are often rather close to buildings but never fear, the Bomberos are always on hand with the hoses to douse things should they get out of hand. Which they sometimes do. In Alicante one year, there were apartments that had window canopies go up in flames....they had a hard time putting them out when the flames leapt up several levels but hey, this is Spain not health and safety land!
Considering the numbers involved, the councils here are extremely impressive in their clean up operations. The following day, you'd never know anything had been going on. As soon as one set of statues has burned down, the area is doused and then cleared of all debris.
Following the Fallas in Alicante (24th June each year) are the 5 nights of the (International ?) Firework Competition on the main beach. Yup, right on the beach. Thousands of people of all ages gather to watch this spectacle, it's brilliant, the atmosphere is terrific and lots of people take picnics (very impressive ones) on to the beach in preparation for the wait. Lights off and fireworks up at midnight. Just before they are started, a couple of loud bangs are let off in warning. It always amazes me to see babies taken to this, obviously they are trained to love fireworks from infancy and while alcohol is consumed, you don't get loutish behaviour or rolling drunks, it is very much a family occasion.
So there we are, a little bit of local colour for you. Hope you enjoyed it!