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Castellers during la Merce

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Williamsburg, Va
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Castellers during la Merce

On this site www.cccc.cat I see that there will be a casteller competition on Sunday September 21 at noon at Placa Sant Jaume. I have also read that it is advisable to get there early as some of the roads leading up to the square May be blocked off. What is considered "early"? Was thinking of doing the tour of the Palau de la Musica Catalana at 10 am. Would we have enough time to do that before going to see the castellers or should we be getting to the square earlier?

London, United...
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1. Re: Castellers during la Merce

The crowds for this event are unbelievable. Carrer Ferran which leads up from Ramblas toward Placa Sant Jaume was heaving with people last year during this event, to the point where you could not move. It was too much for me and I had to leave, much to my dismay as I would have loved to have witnessed this spectacle. I have still, even after 9 visits, never seen castellers. I'll let a local answer how early you should get there. If you're in any way claustrophobic this may be a problem.

Barcelona, Spain
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2. Re: Castellers during la Merce

the few times i've gone there i always arrived late so don't know how early you should be there, but as It usually starts at 12-12:30 you should have time for being there on time. My advice is try take a spot close to the corners, then you can leave "easily" at any time. A second option is arrive late. A full "diada" last 2:30-3h, so you can try at 2:30pm if people has gone to lunch and see last rounds XD

on 24th there are the Barcelona groups (colles) day and usually it is not so crowded.

London, United...
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3. Re: Castellers during la Merce

Great, I'll be in town on the 24th so I'll check that out.

Williamsburg, Va
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4. Re: Castellers during la Merce

Thanks for the input. Good to know that if we miss the competition on Sunday for whatever reason, or its just too crowded, we'll have another chance to see one on the 24th. Is there a big difference between the "guest competition" and the "local competition"?

Shrewsbury
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5. Re: Castellers during la Merce

We're off to the pub for a couple of hours but if no one else provides an answer I'll try to help.

Barcelona, Spain
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6. Re: Castellers during la Merce

on 21st some constructions level could be higher than on 24th but not a big difference this season.

i think that on 24th it should be more dinamic. there are more groups taking part but they should build their constructions faster. bigger constructions need more people taking part of it and put +500 castellers in their exact place is not easy so it can be slow.

barcelona
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7. Re: Castellers during la Merce

hi,

The difference is the number or the groups and the level...

on 21th there will be in sant jaume : castellers de barcelona, minyons de terrassa and Castellers de Vilafranca. The Castellers de Vilafranca and Minyons de Terrassa are two of the best groups and they usually made castles of 9, probably they 'll made 3 castles of nine, Castellers de Barcelona can made one or two castles of nine and the rest are castles of eight.

on 24 there will be the 6 groups of the city. Again Castellers de Barcelona can made castles of nine, but also Sants and Gracia. The others 3 groups are smaller and usually made castles of 7 flats.

In contrast with the others, I thinks that is more crowded on 24th because before the castles there are the Gigants and the Eagle of Barcelona dancing....and they have their own public who mix with the public of castells....

Last year the entrace in the square was specially caothic for the large number of people....

Edited: 03 August 2014, 05:51
United Kingdom
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8. Re: Castellers during la Merce

NIcoleta,nine visits and you havent seen one,mind you i cant talk as only being to three in 40 years ive being visiting,and up to the age of 25 not one,im now 45,but in last 20 years being to 3,would of gone to more but when ever weve visited theres not being any on,we tend to visit these days just for long weekends and when its convinient for our friends to have us stay,and vice versa or them with us in the uk,but try to see one they are worth seeing,if your there when one is on.

Eileen

Shrewsbury
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9. Re: Castellers during la Merce

I've been to both diada most years in the last 12 (we were in South Africa in 2005 and one day was rained off in 2011 I think.

On the crowds - if you have a phobia of crowds then this is not a place for you. There are a lot of people and they are fairly close together, although by Catalan standards they are actually about middling. If you were to attend, say, La Patum de Berga, the day of Sant Ursula in Valls or the Baixada de l'Aliga in Tarragona you would see a truly densely packed crowd. In Placa de Sant Jaume during La Merce it is unlikely you will be in direct physical contact with strangers and it is possible to move through the crowd, albeit with some difficulty (by comparison at La Patum in June we were perhaps 5 metres from the entrance to a bar but the effort of getting there and back looked just too much to be bothered with).

So if you are ok with crowds, then getting there early is a good idea. You then need to consider how long you are prepared to stand in (more or less) one place. As already mentioned there will be other things happening beforehand so there will be something to watch and at the end of them there is usually a bit of churn in the crowd so an opportunity to move around a bit. I think we tend to get there about 30-40 minutes early, sometimes more if there are gegants, falcons etc. The advice to stand close to an exit is not bad. When it is three teams they usually form up quite close to the Ajuntament to take advantage of the shade, with Vilafranca seeming to favour the area near the entrance to Carrer de Ferran in recent years. Shade is not a dreadful idea, either.

Which day? Again you've had some good pointers. There is not enough time to allow each group to build 3 or more structures on the 24th so there will be times when two or even three are being built simultaneously. Personally I prefer to concentrate on one tower at a time so I probably prefer the 'big' day with Terrassa and Vilafranca, but we will miss it this year because we will be at the aforementioned Baixada de l'Aliga (actually we haven't ruled out getting the train up yet because the baixada starts at midnight).

Anything else? Drinks; hats; sun cream - all good ideas. Plus take a sense of humour and a friendly attitude. Try to be tolerant with people with buggies (I never am!) and take your cues on etiquette from the Catalans present. Although there will be plenty of tourists the crowd will be predominantly local. If people start making "Shhhh" sounds, then try to keep quiet, because the construction is at a critical stage. It will be easier to get caught up in the emotion, too, if you pay attention to your surroundings.

Bear in mind that not all castellers events are as crowded as these. If you travel to many local towns then you can find ones with far fewer people and much more room to move around.

Hope this helps.

Shrewsbury
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10. Re: Castellers during la Merce

For what it's worth, the castellers crowd in Placa de Sant Jaume never gets as packed as this one for the Salt de Plens at this years Patum de Berga - …travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/penguinch…

This was I think the 6th Salt de Plens we've seen and the first from an elevated position. Scroll forward a few pics to see what happens next in what must be one of the most mysterious and terrifying acts in the Catalan popular culture calendar.