Monday, May 7, 2012

Block Party Spain Style...Nova Travessera 2012

Nova Travessera is our neighborhood festival in Gracia... actually I can't even call it a specific neighborhood festival because normally it is comprised of just one (really long) street that runs along the bottom of the street we live on.  There are pony rides, vendors selling their wares along the sidewalks under tents, jumparoos for the kids and lots of food.  There's also entertainment - music, dancing, batucada... you name it.

One of many rows of tents that were lined along the streets in Gracia

This year the Nova Travessera expanded to also include Sant Antoni Maria Claret which is the road that runs parallel to Travessera de Gracia.  It made for a much larger festival which was pretty cool.  It's days like Saturday that make me forget sometimes that I live in a city of about 1.5 million people - the streets are closed down and people are just wandering along enjoying the day.  The city takes on a feel of a small close knit neighborhood (a small "close knit" neighborhood in which we know no one mind you).  If only we spoke enough Spanish to bond with everyone that would make things perfect but in the meantime we'll enjoy it for what it is...another festival!

The kids had tennis class in the morning so they didn't get to enjoy much of the festivities initially.  While they were in class I was running errands and took the time took some time to wander amongst the locals to see what was happening.  There were jumparoos on a few blocks, a mechanical bull (I wish we'd gotten a chance to do this because it would have been a riot) and much to my happiness, a batucada playing. 
Mechanical bull being setup

While I watched the batucada I noticed that there were some people nearby that were dressed in devil's outfits like for a correfoc.  There were children and adults.  Surprisingly given my time here, they actually had protective masks on both the kids and adults.  It looked to me like they were doing some kind of training for a correfoc to be held at a later time.  I will say, I was impressed with the way they handled both the kids and the fire - not just protective covering but explaining to the children what was going to happen and walking with them while their pitchforks were on fire.  It brought a new level of respect in my eyes as I've never thought the Spanish to be careless with fire, if anything they have a great respect for it...but I've always been concerned about fire and kids and to see the adults actually taking the time to explain to them what was happening was enlightening to me that things are not always as they appear. 

The Batucada (for video of them playing:

Correfoc "training"

Adult showing a kid how to handle the pitchfork on fire (for video:

Later on while Liam and I were at a birthday party in Sant Cugat (outside the city), Josh and Aidan wandered around the 'hood and enjoyed some of the festivities as well.  We didn't get to do any of the festival as a family this year but each of us got to enjoy a little piece here and there. 
Aidan having some fun at the Nova Travessera

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