I’ve been to Barcelona twice, and each visit coincided with important Catalan cultural celebrations. As a Canadian who has watched a couple of significant efforts toward independence for Quebec in my lifetime, I thought I had a decent understanding of what to expect when I visited Barcelona on September 11, 2014. It turned out to be so much more than any one thing – it was a solemn celebration, a raging party and a plan for the future.
Sidebar: September 11 is La Diada Nacional de Catalunya, an important commemoration of the defeat of Catalunya during the war of Spanish succession in 1714.
Continue reading Barcelona, 11S and Independence in Catalunya
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.
Continue reading Walking off jetlag in Barcelona’s Parc de la Ciutadella
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.
Continue reading La Mercè: the rest of the best of Barcelona’s biggest festival
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.”
Continue reading Barcelona’s La Mercè: A fire beast parade, then, another fire beast parade
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.
Continue reading Touring Barcelona’s Palau de la Música Catalana, sort of.