Sunday, 9 October 2011

festes de la mercé

In Sants, my erstwhile neighbourhood

the dance of the Sardana


I'm never sure how much you guys are interested in my non-fashion adventures (so I trick you into coming here by making the first picture a picture of myself in a dress). I know that stats kind of fall when I have too many non-fashion posts, but I kind of feel like my adventures are integral to my blog and make up for my only having twelve dresses or whatever. Anyway, let me know if you have a strong opinion one way or the other.

So, a couple of weeks ago was the Mercé festival in Barcelona. Mercé is the patron Saintess (?) of the city and everything basically goes nuts for four days. Events that I managed to drag myself around to this year included: some really disturbing Russian clowns on Saturday when it rained (the kid next to me was bawling), some Sardana dancing (very boring but sweet Catalan dance with awesome footwear, I wrote about the shoes here) giants in the streets and lots of fireworks, which I didn't manage to photograph very well. There were also castells (human castles, see above or see this post) which my boyfriend, a native to Barcelona, has apparently never seen in real life but which I see absolutely all the time (at least twenty or so times).

And there was the absolute pinacle of Catalan culture for me, the correfoc-- fire running. On this night, which closes la Mercé, everyone dresses up in protective clothing and wraps scarves around their mouths. They then descend on one of the main streets, and people dressed like demons start running down it with torches spewing sparks in all directions. The audience jumps and dances among the flames, or cowers, depending on their intensity! Every few hundred yards come life-sized dragons and other denizens of the underworld, breathing fire and dousing the celebrants in flames. I tried to get a picture of the audience cowering but I was too busy cowering myself and cursing the fact that I'd forgotten a scarf! As a lover of all things dragon and an observer of the great paradox that such a mild mannered nation likes to set things on fire big time a few times a year, I'm generally in heaven during the correfoc.

dancing with the demons

you didn't really believe me about the dragons, did you? ; )

a light display on the side of city hall

Plaça Espanya, a scary multi-lane roundabout usually exploding with traffic, is filled with people watching the closing night fireworks. Barcelona seems to use any occasion as an excuse for fireworks. I kid you not; as I write, I can hear fireworks happening somewhere down by the port, and it is not any kind of occasion that I can think of at the moment...

right right, outfits: the dress is from River Island (last summer's sales) the shoes are Calvin Klein and were a gift, the necklace likewise a gift, and I'm carrying a Yorkshire Tea tote)

P.S. CANADIANS! Happy Thanksgiving!! I am so so so so jealous of you all. My family is having turkey and ham and squash with maple syrup, and brussels sprouts and stuffing and a caramel-pumpkin-pecan pie that my sister made and of course champagne (or non-French equivalent) and I am going to implode with longing if I think about it a moment longer!


April said...

This looks like so much fun! :)

Julia Topaz said...

more adventure posts, please.

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

@Julia: :)

Raquel said...

Ah I agree, you can always tell when your readers don't like or aren't as interested in your posts. But I shall not care, it's our blogs after all. And I'll tell you I'd rather read a lifestyle+personal style blog than "just" a personal style blog. So keep on rocking these Barcelona (and other places) stories please :)
And I also like your outfit just to be noted hehe.

PS: How awesome is that carrefoc thing!

Charli said...

Looks like someone had a good time! My favourite photo is the one with the men standing on top of each other creating a tower...... I don't mind if it is an adventure post or a fashion post:)

The Daily Fashionista said...

I like your adventure posts!! I feel like that's the point of your blog, no? I mean Journeys is in the title of your blog and you can't go on adventures without going on a journey! Anyways, love the photos!! The fire would probably put me over the edge, but it looks like a lot of fun:)

The Headless Mannequin said...

The reason I love your blog is precisely because your wonderful sense of style comes with a side-helping of a great personality and lifestyle posts :) And that festival looks and sounds amazing!

Naomi said...

I love your adventure posts! I like to vicariously live through you via your European travel posts. So jealous -- I've never been to Spain :(


Anonymous said...

I totally love your dress, amazing blog, hun!


Virginie's Cinema said...

Happy Thanksgiving too! If it's any consolation I'm having lasagna with Ramiro while my family eats delicious food too :)

I love both types pf post, but I have to say what enticed me the most visually were that dress and the fire spark. I love even more that you are so stylish was having your adventures!

Virginie ♥

Anonymous said...

You look like you're having a fantastic time. I love the adventure side as well as the fashion. Your dress and shoes are great, too! xxx

chantilly said...

when i first started posting a lot on my blog, i thought it would be outfits most of the time, but it's slowly turned into more of a "lifestyle" blog.

i think a lot of people appreciate hearing about life happenings as well as seeing the pretty outfits. it's gotten to the point where i don't even read a lot of straight-up "fashion" blogs anymore... sometimes people have more interesting things to say that are worth hearing :)

Nina the Little Nomad said...

Wow looks like you're having a great time, the festival looks amazing! I enjoy your fashion posts a lot but also really enjoy reading about your adventures because it's all so unique and interesting, plus inspiring :)

Closet Fashionista said...

Woah so fun! :D I love when you do your adventure posts, so keep doing them ;)

Amelia said...

ohhh barcelona, how i miss you! adorable outfit :) i hope you yielded the warnings more than i did. i wore a tank top... yeah ending up getting tiny holes singed in it. i was so terrified, fled to a nearby starbucks

Monique said...

i really love reading your adventure posts. it shows that you really take in the culture of where you are living. it also motivates me to save my pennies so i can travel perhaps this summer when schools out for 2 months. what an amazing celebration. these photos are great. the dragons and firework are just awesome.

Anonymous said...

The festival looks like so much fun, love the fireworks! I love your trip posts as mucho as I enjoy fashion ones, so keep doing them!

Cess O. <3 The Outfit Diaries

Vanessa, Take only Memories said...

I like your non-fashion posts! Especially with a dress thrown in :)
Looks like an awesome festival.
I have to say that I am always a little confused about where you are in the world and why that is...I thought you were in Canada atm? Are you going to stay in Barcelona or come back to Germany?

Rebeccak said...

I love these posts - it is fun to be in on your travel adventures! But I know the same thing happens on my blog when I post non fashion stuff... ahh well!

Carrie said...

Since I'm currently stuck in my little corner of the globe, I like reading about what's happening elsewhere, so these posts are always interesting to me.

On a secondary note, Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving! Sorry you're missing family - I know what that's like.

Dresses for Dinner said...

So beautiful.

Eleni said...

More adventures please! If you didn't share them with us, then we would have never found out about hte dragons!

Heather, 29 Skirts said...

This festival looks amazing! I love the dragon! I think if anyone should have posts about her adventures, it's you. Your adventures are fun and fascinating and deserve to be recorded and shared.

Amber Blue Bird said...

I always enjoy your travel tips and stories. I live my travel dreams vicariously through you :)

Stop by & enter my Itunes Gift Card Giveaway!

islabell said...

i second julia...more adventure posts!!! I loved how you tricked us though!

CAITLIN said...

i always enjoy your travel/adventure posts--this looks like such a great time (why do there seem to be so many more festivals wherever you go?) and i like to live vicariously.

all forms of alcohol run in my blood as well, but i don't want to seem TOO much like a lush on the old blog... quote from the party sat night, when my hairspray evidently attracted flames from the bonfire as i danced around it:

my mother (swatting at me): 'caitlin! you're on fire!'
me: 'that's just the way i am!'

A said...


If you get a chance, watch a Hindi movie called 'Zingdi Mile No Dobara'. It is shoot in Spain. Awesome locales and movie also captures some Spanish traditions.

dusanabotswana said...

Your adventures are very most definitely "integral" to your blog, and makes you so interesting & fun to read! I mean really, how much more talking about shoes/pretty dresses do we need on the blogosphere? When I was living in Alicante they did a similar thing where people dressed as devils & had lots and lots of fire, but it was only for the day before lent or something boring like that. Love the fireworks on the building, immense human castle, looks like quite an event!

Tammy said...

I have told you in the past how much I love your posts. I really don't care about the outfit pics. I just love to see the places you go and things that you do.
I have been away for a bit and missed your birthday. So happy belated birthday!
When I read about turning 28 worried you a bit and about all of the 18 year old bloggers I had to laugh. Age is a state of mind. We all get wrinkles and a little round in the middle. It's more important to live your life to the fullest and look as good as you can each day.
Leaving Saturday for south Carolina and Georgia (our 3rd vacation in 11 months) That's what I'm talking about when I say live everyday to the fullest!
Have a great week and your new flat looks wonderful!

Emily, Resplendent Tranquility said...

Caramel-pumpkin-pecan pie?! I am going to have to find a recipe for that and make is ASAP. Sorry to hear about your near-implosion. At least you had your summer feast, though!

I always enjoy your travel and adventure posts. There's more life in them, obviously, as there's more to life than prancing around in pretty clothing (though that's fun too!). You offer a really nice window into life abroad in a way that I (and I assume many of your readers) can relate to more easily than, say, by watching a travel program or through random researching. So, that said: keep 'em coming!

The Merce festival looks like great fun. Castells! And I think I would definitely be cowering during the correfoc! That's something I'd like to see, but from a distance. Or behind a window :P

Melis said...

beautiful as usual! still interested in a guest blog?

Teaka said...

Personally I enjoy reading blogs that aren't fashion pics and who bought what from where. I prefer life style blogs and those who open up just a tad about their lives make things more relatable. So write what you want to write about. :)

le sorelle said...

Oh my gosh that looks like a blast! I've never heard of fire running before! It must have been such a thrill to be there! :)

sorelle in style

Ellie said...

I LOVE reading about your adventures! Probably because I studied spanish in college and never fulfilled my dream of studying abroad, but nevertheless, I find them extremely interesting! The Castells look amazing!

two birds said...

i love seeing travel posts and pictures! these pics are fabulous! and of course, so is your dress!

Rebecca said...

I personally really enjoy hearing about your adventures. It's so interesting learning about another culture. Sounds like a crazy festival, I love the dragons, I did believe you but they are way better than I was expecting. Also that roundabout - I think driving around it when leaving the city for the airport was one of the scariest driving experiences of my life! (If it's the one i think it is)

Ashley said...

You better keep your non-fashion posts or I will have to boycott :)

Nah, just kidding. But I love these posts! But I am the whole other sector of your followers that is OBSESSED with traveling. We're out there, you included!

I am loving learning about the Spanish culture through you :) It's fantastic, slightly crazy, colorful...I love it down to all the fireworks.