This week some 22,000 people and some 140 tonnes of tomatoes came head to head at the Tomatina in Buñol. The Tomatina festival is now famous worldwide, and people travel to this small village 30km from the Mediterranean to take part in the tomato-chucking mayhem.
La Tomatina 2014 started at 10.58 hours on the 28th of August. First comes the smell, then shouts and the shrill honking of incoming trucks loaded with tomatoes. Within but a few minutes, the cobbled street is transformed into a thick red carpet and a collective madness.
Said to have begun with a minor scuffle after part of the local carnival went wrong, the festival, lost some of its innocence and become a global event with increasing safety issues for the participants, and increasing commercial exploitation of the event.
This lead to a legal reduction in capacity by more than half (in 2012 more than 45,000 people, attended) Changes brought by the City Council have resulted in the limitation of crowds in attendance, signage and access, and have this brought the event under control. Some say however that in doing so, the original spirit of fun and spontaneity has been lost.
Certainly, the carnival aspect is less visible. There are fewer costumes on display and traditional headgear such as watermelon helmets or straw hats are conspicuous in their absence, it is now more common instead to see mobile video micro cameras with watertight covers and.
One thing that has not changed however is the hospitality of the people of Buñol, who open their doors during the festival today as they have done always.
Perhaps the only figure that remains unchanged is that of the tomatoes, no less than 140,000 kilos, all gone splat in the space of just an hour!
The village of Buñol can be reached by train from Plaça Catalunya in Barcelona in 4 hours and 45 minutes.