What a lovely morning I have had! I discovered something that was new to me, and that is always something to celebrate. Especially, when it relates to a very old custom, that somehow I had not been aware of all these years I have lived in Barcelona!
It turns out, that every year, around the 11th of May, Sant Ponç, the patron saint of herbalists and bee keepers, is honoured by holding markets around town, where herbs, many types of honey, various sweets and candied fruit is sold. I decided to check it out, and have gathered a few images for you here…
Carrer Hospital, just a couple of streets away from the Cute Suite, has been closed to traffic today and all along it, market stalls have been erected. Crowds of (mostly) locals jostle to get a good view of what is on offer, and walk away with bags full of goodies.
Products are mainly local – from Catalonia – and often produced on a small scale. Stall holders are happy to tell you all about their wares, and some have even brought some live samples with them (below).
The atmosphere is festive, it is a celebration after all, and school kids have been ‘released’ from their classrooms to participate actively. A stall selling sweets is an obvious magnet for them, but even here there is something to learn…
To see so many plants, and smell their aromas in a street normally devoid of sweet smells and green is delightful.
And to learn a bit (more) of the Catalan language, by reading the bilingual signs is a bonus!
So many different jams! So many types of honey! And each beneficial for a different kind of ailment, apart from simply yummie, of course.
Organically grown herbs and plants are a relatively new addition to what’s on offer, but I was happy to discover this stall at the top end of the Rambla del Raval.
I also stumbled upon ladies who lace! Lots of ladies who get together to make lace al fresco. How cool is that?
Veritable works of art – I was more than impressed with the variety and artistry that goes into this elaborate and time-consuming art form, which I hope will never die out.
I sat for a bit with this lovely lady (above) and chatted with her while she worked on her piece. She told me about how easy it is to make lace (sure, when you’ve been doing it for many, many years!), as long as you concentrate on what you’re doing. She had been distracted just before, and made a mistake, and was undoing her lace work when I joined her at her table.
She was making a bracelet out of silver thread and Swarovski beads. Seriously impressive the speed with which she was flicking her bobbins from one side to the other, all the while twisting and turning them, adding a pin here and there to her cushion, to keep it all in place…
Among the gaggle of gossiping ladies I spotted one man, working on a rather large piece. How many bobbins would you guess he has on the go?
Finally, on the side line, I discovered a lady who was sketching a particularly expressive lady among the lace making group. Nice to see! (And it reminded me that I need to pick up my pencils and take up drawing again…)
If you’re in town, hurry over, you might still catch the market – it’s well worth it!