22.09.2007 - 25.09.2007 32 °C
We are back in Barcelona again on our way home after 6 months on the road. It has been quite a time. We have experienced every emotion from amazing and inspiring to annoying and frustrating. It hasn’t been easy all the way – arriving in a new place takes a lot of work and research to get a basis of information – town map, transport map, where to buy tickets, exchange rate, accommodation and not be ripped off, internet, ATM, food, opening and closing times and usually all the information you can find is in a foreign language. But it has been worth it.
Coming back to Barcelona was like getting home – we knew most of the information already and had the language too. We visited some old haunts – bars, restaurants, internet cafés and plazas.
True to form, Barcelona turned on its major 3 day festival of the year just as we arrived. That meant that there was a lot to do and events to see but also that all the shops and markets were shut for the whole time.
Part of the festival was the Giant Parade. Lots of different characters – dragons, kings, queens, jester etc dance around the street to pipe or drum bands. They are like enormous puppets, with a person walking inside them. They only come out once a year so we were lucky to catch them.
The best thing we saw was the ‘Casteller’ competition (human castles). It was fantastic to watch as about a hundred people all dressed in white pants, wide black sash belts and coloured shirts, work together to build a massive tower of people at least 7 levels high. They are well practiced and quick so the poor people on the bottom don’t have to hold everyone up longer than necessary. As the tower grows in height, the climbers get younger and smaller and the very top 2 people are just kids about 5 or 6 years old, climbing with crash helmets on. As they pull themselves up to the top, the crowd is focused on those little bodies climbing up so high. No one makes a sound, then as they reach the top a unified cheer of relief goes up from the crowd and the bands start to play. Everyone is happy and pleased for their success. Coming down also has to be done carefully and in strict order but they seem to just slide down everone’s backs. We saw 3 ‘castellers’ and each time was just as exciting and tense as the first.