Yesterday was the first day of La Merce, a four day festival that takes place all over the city. And there are people everywhere! I did not attend any of the festivities yesterday, as I was only downtown in the middle of the day, and everything took place in the morning or the evening. Instead, I decided to do some more wandering.
My travels took me first to La Boqueria, a huge farmers’-style market located just off of La Rambla. There was fresh produce, fish, meat, and cheese everywhere. Not to mention all of the freshly fried and baked items and the stacks of nuts and confectionaries. It was beautiful. I couldn’t help but purchase a strawberry coconut juice for the road.
I proceeded to wander.
I was looking for Plaça Sant Jaume, but instead, I found Plaça del Pi. In this plaza, there was a large market with cheese, chocolates, honey, mushrooms, and more. All of these markets made me very hungry, having yet again, slept through breakfast. I saw a sign for Plaça de George Orwell, and headed over there for lunch. After lunch, I was feeling very tired, so that was all for the day.
Today however, was quite busy. I made sure not to skip breakfast this morning; I wanted to have the energy to see some of the festival. I found Plaça de Sant Jaume without issue this time. Getting to the plaza was another story altogether. Carrer de Ferran, the street leading up to the plaza, was packed. Waiting to move forward in the crowd was worth it. In the plaza, there were troupes of people creating amazing human towers. They climbed up and slid down each other as if this were an everyday task. After one of the towers came down, the whole crowd started chanting for independence. At first this made me a little nervous, but it was just a chant that ended almost as quickly as it began, nothing more.
After the human towers, I did the usual: wandered. I walked up to Plaça Catalunya which was all set up for further festivities. All of the statues in the plaza had red dots affixed to their noses like clowns for La Merce. The plaza was also a pigeon wonderland – that is, if you like pigeons. I do not. They were everywhere! People were holding them and feeding them, and the birds feared nothing. It was quite the sight, again, if you like pigeons.
Around 4:00pm, I headed back to Avenguida del Portal de L’Angel to watch La Tabalada, the drum parade. There were drummers of all ages participating. The troupes all had their own cadences, dances, and costumes. It was really cool to see how excited the crowd got for each group. People were clapping and moving along with the music.
That was all for the day. Tomorrow marks the first full day of my internship, and I am very excited. That means I need to get some sleep tonight, as I will not have time for my daily siesta tomorrow.