The newest post had a delay in publishing. I am sorry for that, but things are going very fast and I do not know how nearly three months passed away. I can not believe that this week is my last in Barcelona. Next week I am two days in Madrid before I go back to Germany. I am excited about it, but also a little bit afraid of whether I will miss things here or not.
But before I start with my impressions of the last two weeks, I want to talk about something I missed in the last post: Sant Jordi Day in Barcelona! I really do not know how I missed this but I would like to catch up now.
Sant Jordi’s Day in Catalonia
Sant Jordi’s Day (Saint George’s Day) is a deeply rooted tradition in the region of Catalonia. Celebrated annually on April 23, it has been declared as the Day of the Book by UNESCO.
The legend of Sant Jordi is similar to the classic story of Saint George and the Dragon. According to the tale, Sant Jordi saved a princess from a dragon, and from the blood of the slain beast grew a rose. This is why, during Sant Jordi, it is customary to give a rose and a book to loved ones.
The streets of Barcelona, along with other Catalan towns and cities, are typically filled with stalls selling roses and books, creating a festive, almost fair-like atmosphere. Buildings, such as the Palau de la Generalitat and some of Antoni Gaudí’s famous works, are often adorned with roses.
While the day has romantic connotations similar to Valentine’s Day, it’s also a day for promoting and celebrating Catalan culture. It is a day when people wear symbols representing Catalonia, and public readings of literature and poetry are held.
The day of Sant Jordi was a sunny Sunday and I had the chance to walk around. Whole Barcelona was filled up with roses, book stores and people celebrating and enjoying the day.
Weekend Trip to Valencia
A very good friend who I really like and have known for a very long time was in Barcelona two weekends ago. We rented a car and went to a weekend trip to Valencia. This is the second experience I am doing with that kind of trips. The first was a one-week-journey from Sydney to Melbourne and this one – even if it was way shorter – was a similar great experience. Just being on the road with someone you can talk about different things or just listen podcasts is a very great feeling 🙂
Virgen de los Desamparados
In Valencia, we hit the weekend of “Virgen de los Desamparados” (Our Lady of the Forsaken), which is the patron saint of Valencia. The city honors her with two major celebrations each year, one on the second Sunday of May, and the other in March during the Las Fallas festival.
The May celebration for the Virgen de los Desamparados starts with a traditional “mascletà,” a daytime fireworks display, in Plaza de la Virgen. The highlight of the day is the procession in honor of the Virgin, where a statue of her is paraded around the streets of the old town. Thousands of people join this procession, which is full of flowers, traditional Valencian music, and regional costumes.
I attended the mascletà and what should I say: it was amazing. The fireworks were so heavy, I felt them in my lungs. It took about 10 minutes and I have learned, that people – especially tourists – do not know that it is so heavy and try to come close to the fireworks. Once very far ahead, there is no way to get back and people have to wait until the firework is over. I recorded and shared a video about that on Instagram. Follow me to see 🙂
These celebrations are of significant importance to the people of Valencia, showcasing deep cultural roots and traditions that date back centuries. As with many religious festivals in Spain, the event is a vibrant mix of religious devotion, communal togetherness, and festive celebration.
Jardín del Turia
Another interesting place in Valencia is the Jardín del Turia or in English: Turia Gardens. It is one of the largest urban parks in Spain, stretching for about nine kilometers through the city of Valencia. But interestingly, this lush green space was once a river – the Turia River.
The Turia River was a critical waterway but also a source of devastating floods for Valencia. The most catastrophic flood occurred in 1957, which resulted in severe damage to the city and significant loss of life.
After this disaster, it was decided to divert the Turia River around the city to prevent future flooding. This was a massive engineering project, completed in the 1960s, which left the old riverbed dry.
In the 1980s, the city began transforming this space into a huge garden and recreational area. The result is the Jardín del Turia, a beautiful and expansive park that has become a vital part of Valencia, with sports fields, playgrounds, cultural spaces, and more, while the river now safely flows around the city in a new channel.
Day Trip to Cadaqués
My last trip with the language course was the one the Cadaqués which is a charming seaside town in Catalonia. It’s renowned for its whitewashed Mediterranean houses, cobblestone streets, and a peaceful bay of clear blue waters.
Historically isolated due to its geographical location, Cadaqués has managed to maintain its old-world charm. Its unique light and scenery have long attracted artists and intellectuals. Most notably, it was a favorite spot for the surrealist artist Salvador Dalí, who had a residence in nearby Port Lligat. His house is now a museum and one of the area’s main attractions. As the house is very tiny, it is not possible to enter with large groups spontanously. You should arrange this beforehand if you want to enter.
Ok, not entirely. I will attend a day trip to Montserrat and have two days in Madrid ahead. But at least for sharing my experience with/in Barcelona, this was the last post.
I hope you enjoy these posts. As the whole workation trip comes to an end, these posts will also end up for now. If you are planning a similar trip (to Barcelona) than feel free to reach me out. I would be very happy to share my experience and give some advices. I would also be very happy to get your opinion about my posts 🙂