Watch the Castellers
Excerpt from the book On a Tall Budget and Short Attention Span from the Teresa the Traveler Series.
When I awoke the next morning my gizzard was back to normal and I felt great. I discovered there was a casteller competition taking place down the street so I promptly made my way to the center of the action.
A major highlight of every festival in the region of Catalonia, (of which Barcelona is a part), is the casteller or human castle building competition. Teams compete to build the highest human castle usually making it to 7 or 8 levels with some getting as high as ten.
A castle is considered built when everyone is in place and the last person, usually a small child, climbs to the top and raises one hand with four fingers – symbolizing the stripes of the Catalina flag. The uniforms consist of white pants, a black sash and a colored shirt emblazed with the team emblem. The sash plays a crucial role for climbers as it is used as a foothold.
The teams are quite large with the majority of the members forming the base or pinya and acting as a safety net. While the sport may seem dangerous, accidents rarely occur. However, in 2006 a young casteller fell from the tower and died but previous to this the last fatal accident was in 1981.
The crowd was massive and it seemed like everyone in Spain was crammed into this one plaza. A red team competed against a green team but I never stuck around long enough to see who won. My fear of getting trampled forced me to escape to the safety of a less busy street.
I filmed the event and later posted it on my YouTube channel where I apparently upset a number of Catalonians by entitling the flick Castellers in Spain. I thought I had visited Spain and these people were telling me I was in Catalonia not Spain. What the…? I had never heard of Catalonia, it sounded more like a pasta dish than a country. I decided to Google my way to the bottom of this mystery.
According to Wikipedia, Catalonia is an autonomous community of the Kingdom of Spain and Barcelona is the capital city. The Spanish Constitution of 1978 declares that Spain is an indissoluble nation that recognizes and guarantees the right of the nationalities to self-government.
That didn’t clear up a thing so I decided that until I see Catalonia show up as a separate country on a map, I will assume it is still part of Spain and continue to tell people I have in fact visited Spain.
As I wondered down the streets, I couldn’t help but to notice the racy scenes taking place in some of the stores windows. In one window a female mannequin wearing long leggings (with a gun stuffed in one) and carrying a sickle was straddling a male mannequin and grabbing his hair. Both the man and woman were fashionably dressed leading me to believe it was either a clothing store or a gun shop.
The other scene that caught my attention was one with two topless women with whips standing on either side of a topless man who was wearing handcuffs. Two of the mannequins had a Tic-Tac-Toe game drawn on their backs in lipstick. I had no idea if they were trying to sell clothing, torture devices, cosmetics or board games. If this is what the Spanish have to do to sell everyday items, I can’t imagine what they do to advertise adult video stores and sex shops.