This morning some friends and I have decided to go to the beach. I’ve been living in Barcelona for a full week now, and have yet to put my toes in the sand. Preposterous. I meet them at my older, better hostel where visitors actually speak to one another; very unlike my current abode. I miss it here, but saving €10 a night is 100% worth the silence. We make the 40 minute trek down to the water to avoid an unnecessary metro trip. It’s a nice day, and walking is the best and only way to become truly acquainted with a city, isn’t it? The beach is pretty busy, even though the peak summer season has ended. I can’t imagine what this looks like on a hot afternoon in July.
After a couple hours of lounging, we’re starving. It’s a hard life here in Spain. As we walk back towards the central part of the city, we find a restaurant offering a Menu Del Dia (menu of the day) that includes a drink, appetizer, main course, and even dessert for €9.95. I’m trying to keep all meals under €5, but it’s our friend Mazen’s birthday today so we can justify a little indulgence. Treat yo’ self, I always say. (Literally always. It’s a problem.)
We all order the same seafood paella (considered by many to be Spain’s national dish) as our main course. Instead of giving us 4 boring individual plates, it comes in one giant dish for us to enjoy family-style. It looks and tastes AMAZING. Mussels, prawns, and grilled squid are all served a top a bed of spiced rice in a hot cast iron dish.
Midway through our meal the skies become extremely ominous, and suddenly we are being drenched in rain. Did I mention we were sitting on a patio? You can always just go ahead and assume I’m sitting on a patio.
The nasty change in weather is unfortunate for many reasons. 1. We have to move inside. 2. Now it’s cold, and Lindzee and I are only wearing light summer beach dresses, a.k.a., freezing. 3. The Correfoc will be ruined tonight if this storm continues!!
The Correfoc. Correfoc literally translates to “fire-runs”, which already sounds pretty cool, right? It’s the main event of the Catalonian festival, La Mercè, held in honour of Our Lady of Mercy (Roman Catholic holiday). There have been events going on around the city all weekend, including a big outdoor concert for a famous Catalonian singer that we attended last night. Here’s a photo of us sardined into the metro on our way to the show.
Our French friends, from both Quebec and France, were familiar with the music and sang along to every song. I have never heard of him before, but he’s pretty good! Check out Manu Chao.
Now back to the Correfoc. I got distracted.
It’s raining, which is not ideal when you’re trying to run down the street amongst a bunch of flames and fireworks. We’re also cold, which is not ideal when you’re trying to run down the streets, ever. We’re 100% not ditching on this epic event though, so we suck it up. Luckily by the time we’ve walked up to the street on which this flaming parade is held, the rain has stopped. There are no words to describe how INSANE this party is. People dressed as devils, holding staffs and pitchforks covered in active fireworks, run down the street, dancing, jumping, spinning, and showering the crowd in fire. Yes, this is real life.
For the first time in what feels like a long time, I am in absolute awe of my surroundings. THIS is what traveling is all about for me, THIS is life. The streets are full of fire and smoke, the air is both fresh from the evening rain, and suffocating with the pungent odour of sulphur. Groups of drummers dance through the streets, while crowds cheer and shout, shielding themselves from falling embers. All of my senses are being abused as I try to take in this moment and ingrain it in my mind forever. Though I don’t think this is something one can easily forget.
I think I’ve made a good choice by moving here.