September 23, 2008

More of Mercé.






Sunday was an example of how this festival that has taken over the city of Barcelona is one that you don’t need to decipher the Catalan-written program (though I highly doubt I could have come close to figuring it out in Catalan). Walking through my neighborhood of Gracia with my NYC friend Emily (who last spring moved to London BUT also studied in Barcelona during college so had some great places to show us) and her friend Jo (who were both in visiting for the weekend) we stumbled on an outdoor jazz concert in one of my most-frequented plazas. We found a spot on one of the benches and just sat, chatted for a bit, and took in the music.

After doing some more walking through Gracia we decided to head back down towards the downtown and found only one shop to look in (everything here is pretty much closed on Sundays) which was fine by us. There was a small farmer’s market we strolled through (photos above) and then while trying to get down the narrow street to our next unknown destination we ran into a long group of marchers carrying crosses and singing hymns. After waiting for about ten minutes for the procession to end with no sign of the last person in sight, we opted for another narrow road and wound our way around and around the old streets of the Barri Gotic. Our feet were sore from all of the walking and so we thought a good idea would be to sit at Plaza Real and take in some red wine and olives.

We had been sitting there for not even twenty minutes when from one of the four entrances to the Plaza in marched a 7-piece band! The music was great and because we were sitting at a table on the edge of the restaurant/plaza we had a perfect view --- until about 300 hundred people came from nowhere and surrounded the band. I of course had to get up and take some pictures. This group played for about thirty minutes and then there was a lull in the plaza for just maybe five minutes, as people shuffled around unsure of what to do since the last band had marched out the same entrance they had come in through. Jo, Emily and I sat at our table and marveled at how the entertainment just finds you during this festival since there are so many things going on. As we were just taking in the beauty that is Plaza Real and looking at the detail of each of the apartments that surround the square in marched ANOTHER band! This one was a little different, a little funkier and with dancers! It was definitely my favorite of the day. There were about 5 or 6 instrumentals and 4 dancers; all wearing the most bizarrely awesome costumes with bright neon colors and patterns. They drew an even larger crown in less time and entertained for a bit longer. They ended up leaving the Plaza from a different entrance so we got a front row seat when they came marching by with their drums and dances. Of course, one MORE band came into the plaza mere minutes after this one left! Needless to say, between the jazz from Gracia and instrumentals from Plaza Real, it was a greatly musical Sunday. The night ended with Sonja coming to meet us and eating at Les Quinz Nits in the Plaza (which had been recommended to me from a couple of friends – thanks Marion! -– and guidebooks) which was a great meal in a lovely and large restaurant. A perfect way to end the festival-filled weekend with my London visitors!

1 comment:

Marion said...

Yay! I'm glad you enjoyed your meal there. I remember having duck confit with carmelized onions, which was delicious.