KelsieGleason's Travel Journals

KelsieGleason Kelsie Gleason

  • 27 years old
  • From Illinois, United States
  • Currently in Barcelona, Spain

Visions and Revisions: Discovering the Culture of Barcelona

This journal will serve as a collection of my experiences, observations, and reflections over the next four months of cultural immersion in Barcelona.

Sitges Carnaval

Spain Barcelona, Spain  |  Mar 07, 2011
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Since it is the week before lent, carnaval is in full swing here in Spain. It is similar to Mardi Gras like in the US, but instead of beginning on Fat Tuesday, the celebration begins 6 days before Ash Wednesday, with “Greasy Thursday.” That means a whole week of parades and festivities, the most well-known of which is in Sitges. I took my family with me to see the parade there last night. It was only about an hour away on the Renfe train and well worth the trip. The streets were packed and nearly everyone was dressed in costumes. I saw hippies, gorillas, spiderman, smurfs, princesses, knights, and everything in between. And that was just the spectators. In the actual parade there were some crazy floats—one with an 80s work-out theme, one with a bunch of aliens, and one with a bunch of girls in bikinis, just to name a few. Each float had its own music and its own groupies dancing around it. There were little kids running around spraying silly string at the floats, characters on the float smoking as they rode by, and several floats with coolers full of alcohol and people mixing drinks to pass out to the performers. Before the last Renfe train came we made our way back out of the parade route to find that the train station was absolutely insane. The mossos (police) were checking everyone’s bags that came off the train and making them pour their alcohol out of glass bottles and into giant paper cups. (Apparently they weren’t worried about public intoxication so much as broken glass, because I saw entire bottles of vodka being poured into cups.) The platform to get on the train was a mess too, especially since it was the last train. We could barely even move, but when the train pulled up everyone took off running toward the entrances, pushing, elbowing, and trampling each other in the process. We made it on (barely) but it was standing room only. A lot of people were still left on the platform with no room on the train, and people on the train were sprawled out all over the floor in full costume. We stood next to a man dressed as a bride to give you an idea of some of the wild costumes. It was a crazy night, but definitely a fun one!

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