Teruel –  party in the town that doesn’t exist

Teruel – party in the town that doesn’t exist

3 minutes to read

If you mention the name ‘Teruel’ to Spanish people, a common response is "does it exist?" There are valid reasons why questioning Teruel’s existence has become a popular joke across Spain. It’s kind of in the middle of nowhere. But let me tell you; not only does it definitely exist, it is also home to the craziest all-night-party I’ve ever been to in my life.

Picture © Credits to Creative Commons/WDPassport7 (Where the fiesta begins, in Teruel's main square)
Picture © Credits to Creative Commons/WDPassport7 (Where the fiesta begins, in Teruel's main square)

Something 'different'

I was in Pamplona’s San Fermin one summer, watching bull run after bull run and generally seeing a lot of the same thing over and over again. In passing, a random guy I got chatting to on the street mentioned ‘Las Fiestas del Ángel de Teruel’ also known as 'La Vaquilla del Ángel'. I had never heard of this festival before, nor the town, but he assured me that “Teruel has the best party in the whole of Spain. Better than San Fermin. And tourists have no idea about it.” I didn’t pay the guy too much attention at the time. It seemed like a rather bold claim. But a few days later, my friend Miguel and I took the train to Zaragoza to escape from San Fermin. And at night in a cocktail bar, we got talking to a group of locals who told us “Forget about going back to San Fermin, you absolutely must go to ‘Las Fiestas del Ángel de Teruel’. It starts tomorrow”. To say the least, it sounded like something ‘different’. So we decided to go.

Picture © Credits to iStock/cineuno (The road that leads out of Zaragoza)
Picture © Credits to iStock/cineuno (The road that leads out of Zaragoza)

Leaving the real world behind

The next day we took a bus in the hot afternoon from Zaragoza Delícias bus station. We noticed almost immediately that the entire bus was filled with other young people in their twenties, all dressed in white, on their way to Teruel for only one reason; the Fiesta. Halfway into the ride, looking out the window I saw what looked like endless dry desert land and rocks. The view reminded me of that scene in Breaking Bad where Hank dies. We seemed to be disconnected from everything. No wonder people question if Teruel exists.

Picture © Credits to iStock/Tomás Guardia Bencomo (The landscape surrounding Teruel is largely dry and rocky desert land)
Picture © Credits to iStock/Tomás Guardia Bencomo (The landscape surrounding Teruel is largely dry and rocky desert land)

Party all night

Once we got off the bus, the sound of music was booming and seemed to be coming from every direction, as did the swarms of people partying in wine stained T-shirts, all in such high-spirits despite the sweltering heat. A few minutes earlier, I had been starting to forget what civilisation looked like and then, there I was in one of the liveliest parties I had ever seen. We were lucky to find a hotel but paying for the room turned out to be pointless; we spent the entire night out in the streets, partying with random locals until the sun came up.

Picture © Credits to Adam L. Maloney (Huge crowds of people fill the streets in Teruel during the fiesta)
Picture © Credits to Adam L. Maloney (Huge crowds of people fill the streets in Teruel during the fiesta)

The morning after

It was only the next morning, when the music had all stopped, and the crowds had slowed down and all but dispersed that I actually stopped to realise how stunning the old part of the town is with its mudéjar architecture, most apparent in the Tower of El Salvador, inspired by the fallen Moorish empire that once ruled this land. That was a touching final moment for me and another reason to believe that Teruel exists. Or does it?

IgorPicture © Credits to iStock/Dymov (Muslim inspired 'mudéjar' architecture makes the old town of Teruel a charming place)
IgorPicture © Credits to iStock/Dymov (Muslim inspired 'mudéjar' architecture makes the old town of Teruel a charming place)

“Everything became quite unreal finally and it seemed as though nothing could have any consequences.” - Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

[Cover image © Credits to iStock/Josedbey]

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The author

Adam L. Maloney

Adam L. Maloney

Adam is a Londoner who travelled to over 20 European countries and lived in both Portugal and Spain for several years. Adam is a fan of exploring intriguing neighbourhoods and meeting locals.

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