My first day in Barcelona involved acclimatizing to the lovely city, mangling Catalan by mostly speaking French, and trying to stay awake until 9 pm.
Over the past few days, I’ve been reliving some of my favourite memories from Barcelona’s La Mercè, the annual festival celebrating the city’s patron saint and Catalunyan culture. During my time in Barcelona, I fit in lots of festivities and parades, from the joyful opening parade to the fire beasts and dragons, to the thunderous wake-up call of the gun-toting trabucaires. And much, much more.
Barcelona’s annual La Mercè is a celebration of Catalunyan culture and features a lot of interesting creatures. In addition to the primary gegantes and other traditional characters (introduced last week in opening parade of the La Mercè), there is a separate cast of dragons and fire beasts, dracs i bèsties de foc, who have their own event better known as the passejada de dracs i bèsties de foc, or “walk of the dragons and fire beasts.”
During my time in Barcelona last year, I kept myself pretty busy going from La Mercè festivities to seeing all of the essential sights. By my last day, I was overloaded on modernisme architecture and parades.
I had one last thing on my must-see list before taking the train out of town: Palau de la Música Catalana. I read a description of the enchanting building, and saw photos of the incredible stained glass ceiling in the performance hall, I figured I should at least attempt to see it. Rushing around town on a Sunday afternoon, I was running short on touring time, so I made a deal with the universe. If I was meant to see it, there would be a tour I could join when I arrived at the ticket booth.
I probably should have been more specific with the universe, as it seems to enjoy putting me in comedic situations. When I arrived at the Palau, the last tour of the day was gearing up. In Castellano/Spanish. After a week of bludgeoning Catalan, I had yet to begin mangling Spanish, so this was going to be interesting.
One of my favourite travel experiences EVER is La Mercè festival in Barcelona, the annual celebration of the city’s patron saint Our Lady of Mercy, La Mare de Déu de la Mercè.