Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Christmassy Fecal Traditions of Barcelona

Time to rock Barcelona, the second largest city in Spain.

I liked these snow globe art installations. Each one had a little blower inside to blow fake snow around.

We got to our tour's meeting place like 15 minutes early, and we like to go grab a drink or bite to eat when this happens. Standing and watching a tour group gather is not super interesting. We happened upon this candy shop and I liked the design of a cookie tin in the window and I thought it might be a good safe souvenir to get for my parents.

Well Lydia wanted an espresso and then I wanted a hot chocolate and then we chose the cookies and then the lady asked if it was a present and I said yes, then she gift wrapped it, badda bing badda boom: when we walked outside our tour group was gone. Lydia was mad but I tried to explain to her that I have the best mom in the whole world and that it was worth it. I hope Lydia agrees.

My hot cocoa was so thick that it was hard to slurp it through the little slot in the lid. Europe does good hot cocoa, tell you what.

I used my sluething skills to track down the tour group and the day was saved. Huzzah! We joined our group just in time to catch a fabulous joke:

Why do the French only eat one egg? 
Because one is un oeuf.

The cave drawing thing on the wall in the background is a Picasso.

We saw these flags all over the place. It's a symbol of independence and has that same star-in-triangle thing going on that the Cuban and Puerto Rican flags do. 

The Fossar de les Moreres, literally "Grave of the Mulberries", marks the sight of the cemetery where the defenders of the city were buried after the War of the Spanish Succession in 1714.  Catalonia backed the losing side in the war and were punished with a loss of autonomy as a result. Every home game when FC Barcelona faces Real Madrid at 17 minutes and 14 seconds the crowd breaks into chants for independence. Our guide told us that during Franco's dictatorship Catalan nationalism was outlawed so fandom for FC Barcelona was a covert way to show support for the cause.

European pharmacies just look cool. I mean, I don't see a Redbox anywhere which is disappointing, but other than that it looks pretty sweet.

I don't think I can do a better job than Wikipedia on this one: 
"The name "El Caganer” literally means "the crapper" or "the shitter". Traditionally, the figurine is depicted as a peasant, wearing the traditional Catalan red cap (the barretina) and with his trousers down, showing a bare backside, and defecating." He is a popular addition to nativity scenes around these parts. I am not making this up.

Another holiday poo-poo related fun fact that I am also not making up: in Catalonia children get this log with a face painted on it called a Tió de Nadal, or Christmas log. Ok so far so normal. Well the kids start "feeding" it on the 8th of December all the way up to Christmas. They then beat it with sticks and command it to poop out candy and presents. Delightfully Wikipedia has recorded the words to one of the songs the kids sing while bludgeoning the surely confused log:

"Caga tió,
caga torró,
avellanes i mató,
si no cagues bé
et daré un cop de bastó.
caga tió!"

Shit, log,
shit nougats (turrón),
hazelnuts and mató cheese,
if you don't shit well,
I'll hit you with a stick,
shit, log!

It's the reason for the season!

The front of Antoni Gaudí's Palau Güell. I was robbed of my chance to enter the famous Sagrada Família by some unfortunate events that I will go into later.

The famous road La Rambla had some really unique street performers on it.

I saw someone with an Ampelmann bag from the store we visited in Berlin last Christmas.

Later that night we went on a tapas tour. Some of my best friends should call me brew dog.

We tried this local cider that they pour from really high above the glass, I believe for aeration.

As we walked we saw what seemed to be an independence demonstration in front of the Palau de la Generalitat. I want to say it houses the seat of the Catalan government.

We tried our hand at drinking wine from of the traditional porron.

George Orwell described the porron in Homage to Catalonia:
“…and drank out of a dreadful thing called a porron. A porron is a sort of glass bottle with a pointed spout from which a thin jet of wine spurts out whenever you tip it up; you can thus drink from a distance, without touching it with your lips, and it can be passed from hand to hand. I went on strike and demanded a drinking-cup as soon as I saw a porron in use. To my eye the things were altogether too like bed-bottles, especially when they were filled with white wine.

This little potato croquette is known as la bomba, after the cartoonish big bowling-ball-looking bombs used by local anarchists.

It was fun to talk to all of the interesting people in our group. We chatted about all kinds of things with Finns, Australians, South Africans, Filipinos, and Indians.

I was pretty thirsty so I got this beer that was so big I couldn't hold it up with one arm. Take that you stupid ol' thirst!

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