Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Gracia Fiesta

The Fiesta in my neighborhood started a week ago, and it's still going.  Festivals back home last 2 days, maybe 3 days tops.  But in Barcelona, 10 days.  Thank goodness new teacher orientation hasn't been too demanding this week, because the festival gets rolling after siesta and goes until sunrise each day. These guys know how to sustain a party.  As each evening progresses, people get progressively more drunk, and the streets more messy.  But thanks to millions of tourists pouring money into this city, every morning, city employees sweep the alleys, operate street cleaners, and paint over the last night's graffiti. And we start again.  

These are some pictures from my walking around with my friend/colleague, Sandra, as well as from attending a pica-pica with my roommate (the pica-pica tradition entails a potluck of snacks to be eaten before heading out on the town).  

Each street competes in decorations, using recycled materials. Each competing street gets together in the preceding week to prepare, and on one given night during the fiesta, they pull tables and chairs into the street, and eat a communal meal together. 

Here are some pictures of the competing streets.  Pretty impressive, actually.

This street was decorated in some kind of back-to-school theme, which, personally, I was not ready to be around yet. But best of luck to them in the competition!

This street displayed a paper mache Mozart and some classical musicians:

Sandra and I stopped to watch a fireworks display in Placa de la Vila de Gracia, the sparks at times coming a little too close for our level of comfort.

A crepe break:
The piratey street:

Here's Sandra on Verdi Street, the street that usually wins the competition every year. This year, they had an underwater theme going on: mermaid tails and octopi were hanging below sea foam-like recycled goods.

In my picture-taking mode:

 Placa de Vila de Gracia, my nearby plaza, decorated in matches and matchboxes:

From my friend's pica-pica party, we had a great vantage point over a plaza for people-watching and listening to the local Catalan bands perform in the fiesta.  My roommate and her friend who is visiting from Ireland:

We watched a human pyramid form and walk down the street. A little kid wearing a helmet was the last to climb up. 

Out to eat in Gracia at a yummy Argentine restaurant:


Ridiculous amounts of meat:

I'll end with a short video taken from my balcony just after siesta.  No, it's not gunshots you hear.  Only fireworks...  Sometimes, early in the morning we're awakened by a Catalan marching band performing down our otherwise silent and empty street. Thank goodness for those denser-than-dense wax earplugs I brought with me from Turkey.

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