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3 crazy festivals in Europe you can visit      

One of the highlights of backpacking and seeing other cultures is when you go to a festival and all the locals go a bit crazy. Sleepy towns become a heaving mass of people out to have a really good time and they are more than happy to let you join in!

Here are three of the best, each with its own craziness rating.

Enjoy tomatoes as never before in Spain!

What is it?La Tomatina
Where is it?Bunol, Valencia, Spain
When is it?Last Wednesday in August

Crazy Rating: 3 out of 5

A festival based around the humble tomato doesn't sound like it is going to be high in the crazy-stakes, but what happens at the end of this week-long celebration of the tomato is where things really start to go wild.

A ham is placed on top of a greased pole, young men then try and climb the pole to get the ham and once the ham has been retrieved the festivities begin.

An estimated 125,000kg of tomatoes are driven into the square by trucks at which point the participants (who may have had a few drinks) get stuck in and start throwing them at each other. It only lasts an hour and by the time it has finished it looks as if something much more sinister has taken place.

Top tip: don't wear anything you ever want to wear again as your travel insurance is unlikely to accept a claim for this.


Join in with Germans beating each other!

What is it?Gemüseschlacht
Where is it?Berlin, Germany
When is it?September

Crazy Rating: 4 out of 5

Before German reunification in 1990 the district of Friedrichstain was in East Germany and the district of Kreuzberg was in West Germany; however they were joined Oberbaum bridge.

They celebrate this late in September by having a massive water and food fight on the bridge where the two sides aim to push the other back into their district.

While it starts with water, it often degenerates into rotten eggs and fruit. Almost anything goes as long as it won't harm somebody, this includes foam batons. You have been warned.

Top tip: don't wear anything that will go see-through when wet.


Thrill as Greeks show how bonfire night should be done!

What is it?Rouketopolemos
Where is it?Vrontados, Island of Chios, Greece
When is it?On the night of the Saturday before Easter Sunday

Crazy Rating: 5 out of 5

The exact origins of this festival are unclear, but the basic premise of this is that on the Saturday before Easter Sunday, at 8pm the churches of Saint Mark and Mary Erethianis fire homemade rockets at each other.

Local residents protect their houses with wire mesh and there are handy sirens that go off letting you know that all hell is about to break loose.

The idea is that the rockets that hit the towers of the rival churches are counted the next day and the winner is the Church that scores the most hits on the other tower. Invariably there is a dispute and the resolution is that they agree to do the same next year and thus the tradition carries on.

Top tip: don't go for a stroll between the two churches at 8pm


We hope these festivals have inspired you to explore Europe this year. Wherever you go backpacking and whatever you end up doing make sure you have a good quality travel insurance product, like Responsible Travel Insurance

Author: Adam
     
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