La Fiesta de Sant Joan
Topping off and rounding out my stay in Barcelona, was La Fiesta de Sant Joan (that's Catalan for St John), celebrated passionately (and exclusively) in Barcelona. It's one of the biggest fiestas of the year celebrated by all of Barcelona, but not other parts of Spain. It's a huge party with food, music, fireworks, bonfires on the beach, and it goes all night, and then folks watch the sunrise in the morning (think rave or Burning Man). The primary ingredient is fire -- bonfires, fireworks, you name it. Parties in all the neighborhoods, on terraces, rooftops, in the plazas etc., and costumes too, the central figure being el diablo - the devil!!
There is a traditional, ceremonial parade with a drum line led by el diablo, which kicks-off the evening's events.
Keeping consistent with the magical serendipity and buena suerte I've been enjoying these past 2 months, la fiesta in my barrio took place exactly 200 meters from my house (that's less than a 2 min walk). The neighborhood civic center plaza was transformed into a festive venue with no shortage of decorations and fanfare. A full bar and stage were constructed. There were tons of people - young and old, families, kids, everyone!!!
After mucha comida (y cervezas, sangrias...) the late-night crowd kicked into high gear, and we were treated to the cool beats of a local Barcelona band. Um, how happy was I? My favorite!!! I was ecstaticly dancing the night away to the tunes of the band that kinda reminded me of my very favorite local SF band, who shall remain anonymous, but todo la gente know who I'm talking about! ;)
The next day, it was time to say adiós to Barcelona, but not before a quick Metro jaunt, returning to Barceloneta, and specifically to La Xampanyeria, a wine bar that is famous for its delicious cava (something like Spanish champaign) and mouth-watering bocadillos. The scene is rather like a typical deli counter in Brooklyn or Manhattan, where you have to navigate your way through the sea of people, and gracefully nudge your way toward the counter, so that you can scream your order to the guys making the sandwiches and pouring the copas of cava. But once you've done so, you can hang at the counter, eat, drink and be merry to your heart's content. As I mentioned, this was a return trip for me, because once was simply not enough. And this time, I left with a few bottles of cava to bring home with me! ;)
Thank you Barcelona, for a fun, delicious, multi-cultural and memorable experience!! And now, onto Madrid!!