23.06.2007 27 °C
They really like their noise (traffic, sirens, motorbikes without mufflers, loud voices and fireworks), and especially last weekend when there was the festival of Saint Joan.
In the weeks leading up to the festival fireworks go on sale and kids of all ages enjoy letting them off in the park especially when unsuspecting and unaccustomed travellers and tourists are walking by. As the festival gets closer the frequency of the bangs seems to get closer and bigger … any time of the day or night. Sunny (our dog) could never be a Spanish dog, but the dogs here don’t even seem to notice.
As a preliminary to the evening we went to check out the ‘Magical Fountain’ – a water and light show people said we should see. Every half hour the fountain starts up and coloured lights shine through the water making a truly beautiful scene. This is all choreographed to orchestral music and it is very impressive. Perhaps it was less impressive though on the night we saw it because the music was often drowned out by the noise of the fireworks and crackers going off continually nearby. Rather than a big city planned firework event, each family buys their own fireworks, crackers and sparklers and heads to an open space – thus the non-stop noise and scattered cardboard remains the next day.
The festival of Saint Joan culminated with a BIG beach party around midnight. According to the local press 100,000 people, (less than previous years!) gathered on the Barcelona beaches to party, dance, drink, let off crackers, bungers, and fireworks, make a lot of noise and hang out there until dawn. We went to see what it was all about, and yes, there probably were that many people on the beach. And al least half of them were trying to catch the same metro as us at 11.30pm to the beach.
It was amazing … crowds and crowds of people, all trying to get on already over crowded and packed trains in the middle of the night. When we had finally progressed our way to the platform, we waited for 3 trains to pull in (each one cheered by the waiting crowd), but when the doors opened we couldn’t even push our way in. We ended up walking to the beach which was at least in the open air.
We weren’t keen to spend the whole night at the beach, but catching the metro home at 2.00am was almost as crowded as the ones getting there. Needless to say the noise, fireworks and crackers went all night.
Late the next morning when we finally arose, the streets, parks, beaches all looked the worse for wear with litter, and firework debris everywhere. Thank goodness for the street cleaners who come out daily though to sweep, rake, and hose the place and keep it looking litter-free.