La Tomatina tips for first timers.
If you’re keen to give it a go too, these are my 12 La Tomatina tips to make sure you’re ready to handle what’s about to get thrown at you…
1. Wear goggles
I know it sounds really dorky, but acidic tomato juice really hurts when it’s in your eyes, and once you’re in the middle of the fight, it’s near impossible to get out and wash your eyes until it ends.
2. Begin with a toilet stop
I know I probably sound like your mum, but there’s no toilets in the fight-zone. If you’re busting and you decide to venture out to find a toilet, chances are you won’t get back in and you’ll miss all the action, as only limited numbers of people are allowed in the streets, and as you can imagine, spaces fill up fast!
3. Get there early
The start time of the fight varies depending on when the ham is knocked off the greasy pole (see what I mean here), but if you go and stand in the streets early, you can secure a spot and enjoy the street atmosphere! (FYI most people do this, when I say ‘secure a spot’ I mean a tiny space in which people are standing shoulder-to-shoulder around you… think of it like a spot in a mosh-pit)
4. Don’t be claustrophobic? Just don’t.
Before we went some people I was with had planned on staying near the outside of the fight as they were worried about getting stuck… however this doesn’t really work. With La Tomatina you’re either IN or OUT – there’s no middle ground. So just get in amongst it and know that EVERYONE feels claustrophobic! (ps. just when you’re getting used to being squished in between a whole lot of people with no way out, they drive a truck down the street…)
5. Groups no larger than 3 please.
Stick in a group of about 3 people – this is a good number, easy to keep close to, anything bigger and you’ll lose them.
6. Girls –wear several tops & a sports bra
I don’t know how but it’s become tradition for guys to tear & rip your clothes off during the fight and throw them up onto the washing lines above you.
7. Yes, you can take a camera!
Obviously not a massive SLR, and probably not your iPhone either – but I took a simple point & shoot digital camera, and just covered it in a clear zip-lock bag. It was totally fine and I got some great shots – I’d just recommend cutting a small hole for the lens, and taping the bag down well. I didn’t do this, so some of my photos ended up being just of the inside of the zip-lock bag. (However if you do take a camera and it breaks, don’t blame me)
8. Another one for the girls – wear boy-leg knickers!
After the fight you walk through the town and the locals come out with their hoses to clean you off. As you’re covered in lumpy tomato puree, it’s easiest just to strip off all your layers, (excluding your underwear) and get hosed down in just them. You can leave all your clothes & shoes in nice piles on the street and head back to your car to retrieve your clean clothes.
9. Take a towel and change of clothes – for obvious reasons.
10. If you’re in a group, dress up! We didn’t go in costume as the thought didn’t even cross my mind, but there were quite a few cool outfits out there – particularly tomato related! Next time I’m dressing up for sure!
11. Lather, rinse, repeat… and repeat again, and again, and again…
I won’t lie, getting that tomato out of your hair isn’t easy. Especially if you have long hair like me (no, wearing it in a bun will not help). I think its so hard because La Tomatina is typically held in the middle of the day, with the hot sun beaming down on you, baking that tomato to your head… unavoidable really.
12. Appreciate tomatoes.
Lastly be sure to enjoy a delicious tomato meal pre-fight… afterwards you won’t even want to look at anything tomato-related for a while!