Back to School

So it´s time to get back to school after long summer vacations. They say that a person may suffer from post vacation blues (this is how they call it BLUES) after returning home or to a normal routine from a long vacation. But not everybody has vacations in summer and puts them off for September, which for me is the best time to take a break. Everyone is back home, everything related with vacations like flights or accommodation are cheaper, tourist attractions are less crowded and you have more chances to find locals and share their lifestyle.

September is here and Barcelona is getting back to a routine again, you can see that walking on the streets, companies are open again, queues of parents are formed at school entrances, waiters are rushing to serve coffee early in the morning and also something I said before less people with maps, photo cameras and backpacks. But party is not over, in September we celebrate La Mercè, annual festival of the city of Barcelona held from 21 to September 24.

The celebration of La Mercè has religious origins, honouring the Virgin, patron saint of the archdiocese of Barcelona, and co-patroness—along with Saint Eulàlia—of the city.

In Catalan, the word Mercè has meanings related to service, help, a sense of compassion, and loving mercy. In the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona, there is a basilica dedicated to the Virgin, where a wooden image of her is venerated.

Each year there is a guest city and this year it is Lisbon, so it turns out to be a total Mediterranean party with its famous food and know how to enjoy life.

There are over 600 activities and shows go on during the week with more than 2000 artists and professionals taking part. The best part of it is that all of it is free of charge and there is no excuse to miss it, if yours is urban tourism it´s your chance to enjoy the city.

Join us, stay with us and enjoy the city with us.

 

 


Feel the magic in the air!

Tonight January 5th we have a magic night as the three magic Kings from East just arrived to the harbour. None of them is the king of Spain nope, the three kings are:  Balthazar from Arabia and presents a gift of myrrh, Gaspar hails from India and offers an aromatic resin and his majesty Melchior of Persia, who brings gold. I’m not sure that children ,all of them, know that the tradition of the three kings recalls the biblical story of three ´´magi ´´who visited a new born Jesus to offer him gifts.  The only thing every child  knows  is  make sure to have ready a letter to the kings asking a gift to honour  a good behaviour during the year, because  if not you only get sweet charcoal from Balthazar.

A   festive procession of floats hailing the arrival of their majesties starts at the harbour, they do their way through the city greeting children and throwing those candies and a court pages are in charge to collect letters form children.

When the children return home, they leave food and drink for the Kings and their camels. Every child goes to bed early tonight, hoping that the letter they’ve sent to their favourite king, detailing all of their wishes, will be answered and when they awake in the morning they´ll find their presents left by Kings while they were sleeping.

I wish I’d be a child waiting for my gift tonight….


Have yourself a wacky little Catalan Christmas!!

Christmas is almost here and if you visit Barcelona ( Catalonia) and go to one of the  tourist attractions of these days  Santa Lucia  Market ( Popular Christmas Market in front of the Cathedral)  you´ll  find yourself surrounded by   pooping  US President  or  all powerful  Mr. Putin , so let me to introduce you  the two  most funny Christmas symbols  in Catalonia such is  El Caganer (pooping folk) known as The Shitter  and  Caga Tió ( poo log).

Poo is in the air, everywhere I look around
Poo is in the air, every sight and every sound

Oh, Poo is in the air….  Poo is in the air ….Oh, oh, oh, oh, uh!!!

So Christmas poo is on the air and these two guys are the soul of Catalan Christmas.

El caganer: Traditionally it´s a pooping Catalan peasant with traditional red hat la Barettina, but nowadays you can find caganer politicians or celebrities, all of them pooping for you for Christmas. Of course there are many legends explaining the origin why pooping fellow for Xmas, but my favorite is the one which says that it´s a kind of homage to Equality: Regardless of class, race, age or gender, everyone poops even selfsame Kim Jong –un.

Caga tió:  Literally it´s a log with two front stick legs and painted funny face and to make it 100% Catalan also wears the red Barretina.  Starving Caga Tió arrives to families on beginnings of December and children are in charge  to feed it with as much food as possible, as more food it gets more poo it´ll give for Christmas, yes sir ! You´ve heard me right!!!

On December 25 children start beating  the poor log with a long stick and make him to poo out  gifts ( the poo / gifts, which appear behind the Tió under a blanket, obviously placed there before by whoever (parents or grannies)  and the log ´´ torture´´ is accompanied by song :

                                Poop log, log of Christmas, don´t poop herrings,

                         They ´re too salty, poop nougat which are much better!!

                                           Oh, oh, oh, oh, uh!!!

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