All week I was unable to avoid signs of upcoming carnival; a tradition that appears to have be born sometime in the 14th century and was revived after the fall of Franco as a time to celebrate the beginning of the Easter period. My students would show up to lessons covered in face paint or with their hair sprayed different colours and on the streets I saw many a strange costume. The children told me how one day they had to dress in their pyjamas and on another in their parents clothes, which I really wish I had a chance to witness. I was getting pretty excited to see what the carnival fuss was all about but the celebrations themselves were somewhat elusive.
I was very sick during the weekend of Santa Eulàlia a couple of weeks ago, which saw the streets come alive with dancers, parades and lots of fire (I don’t really know much of what was happening as I was delerious with fever in bed so what I witnessed was through Instagram photos). I was determined to catch at least a little part of the carnival and yet it somehow passed me by. On thursday, I think my neighbourhood was having their parade as I woke up from a late afternoon nap to the deafening sound of drums. The rumbling continued for quite some time and as it was only a thursday, so I figured that when the weekend arrived the celebrations would only be larger and louder. How I wish now that I would’ve gotten up and run downstairs to watch that parade when I had the chance. On saturday, I got up and immediately began to get ready with the idea in my head that I might be out all day and get all caught up in the festivities. What actually happened was I spent about 3 hours walking around the city centre trying to figure out where and when things would be happening. I had managed to track down a website with a list of locations as to where each neighbourhood celebration would be but there was no indication of the time and I didn’t fancy waiting in various squares for hours with no success. Every now and then I caught sight of someone in a pirate costume, or with facepaint on and even two girls who had dubbed themselves the ‘carnival police’ but still no sign. I just couldn’t figure it out. The Rambla had banners all the way down advertising the carnival but it looked as if most people were just having a regular saturday in the city centre, so I just headed back home with the hope that I could find some more information or hear something coming from the street again. Unfortunately, nothing came from my continued online searching so I gave up and figured I couldn’t be missing much if I couldn’t find the carnival.
I guess this experience taught me that things definitely don’t always go to plan and maybe, that I should stop taking afternoon naps because you never know what you might miss when you’re sleeping in the middle of the day. I was not too disheartened though, as I did get to walk around Barcelona for a few hours, read a little at the top of the Rambla and even treated myself to a sweet croissant so my saturday wasn’t a total disaster. Next week, my parents are coming to visit and we are definitely going to get to do some touristy things and try out a few restaurants I haven’t had to chance to go to yet so I promise I will have more than a sad little anicdote next week.