The Burial of the Sardine

At last I have not only seen this ceremony but I think I am beginning to understood what it is all about…..I think so……it is quite a mysterious one.

Ash Wednesday marks the end of Carnival and the beginning of Lent.   Carnival stands for a wild abandonned spirit of rebellion against tradition, allowing for colourful expressions of freedom in the streets, and the last day means a return to sober reality and so it makes sense there is a ritual symbolising a death and a funeral

Funeral of Sardine

 The Burial of the Sardine or L’Enterrament de la Sardina in Catalan is celebrated throughout Spain and there is a Goya painting of it showing many of the key figures..

Where does the sardine come in to all this?  There is still a mystery around this with one possible story about a type of pig called a sardine that was eaten on this day and another about some sardines that went off in the heat (of March?) and had to be buried.

And surely there must be some sexual interpretations?   No more sex for 40 days?

Porxada Granollers

The funeral parade carries a large stuffed figure on a stretcher around the town followed by people dressed as mourners. As they passed several of them grabbed me for a weepy hug

Granollers Carnival Children had their faces painted with black tears

Enterrament de la Sardina

Finally the figure was set alight and Carnival 2014 was officially dead

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Carnival was seen as decadent and banned under Franco’s dictatorship. It has traditionally been a time to speak out openly against politicians and for truth and people power. A time to take over the streets in protest and free expression – something that still terrifies western democracies

Granollers retains its self conscious air even when  getting dressed up to have fun and playing the fool is not something that comes naturally to locals. But Carnival is a chance to let go of your inhibitions and play. The Burial of the Sardine with its black clothing and mournful faces is perhaps also a time to reflect on how people here have a tendency to take life too seriously.  Walk through the town centre of Granollers and you might think people are dressed for a funeral everyday.

I do wish there could be more Carnival spirit throughout the year. Let’s be wild and colourful!

Funeral of Sardine
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Where can I eat vegetarian food in Granollers?

This question is always on my mind and I know I am not alone. Strangers have contacted me to ask what places I would recommend if they want to eat more than just a potato omelette and a salad. The truth is that vegetarians are not well provided for outside of the big cities and Granollers may be called a city but for most purposes it is better to think of it as a small country town.

However it is slowly getting better

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Come here for their vegetarian lunchtime menu!

The Milk Cafe on Carrer Girona is a unique example of a place in Granollers where not only can you eat vegetarian food but it actually specialises in it at lunch time. they have a menu for less than 10 euros which is totally meat and fish free.

I went in last week to see if it still is as good as last year and I had a lovely meal, sitting comfortably alone reading my kindle, surrounded by other people who if not actual vegetarians were obviously happy to eat something different.  You start with soup and chose as much as you want from the salad bar. If I have a niggle it is that the salads could be more adventurous but really I am not complaining as I am so grateful that it exists at all!

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Then I had the lasagne which was delicious. I asked for something to spice it up a little and they happily gave me a bowl of hot sauce. People here are generally frightened of hot and spicy food so I can’t critisize that the food is generally blander than I like.

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When I arrived at 1.15 the place was quiet but half an hour later every table was full.

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I did have pudding, of course.  A chocolate mousse which I ate before even thinking about taking a photograph!  You will have to imagine it – or even better, go along and have lunch in the Milk Cafe.

More Vegetarian Food in Granollers

Thanks to my friend Tiffany we have a new place to eat in Granolllers. 

It is Japanese and is called Teriyaki. It is a bit hidden away and doesn’t look like anything special from the outside but when you go in it is like Dr Who’s tardis – stretching upstairs, downstairs and out to the back.

ImageThere are lots of things on the menu for vegetarians

Noodles, seaweed, tofu, vegetable tempura.

The first time we went I was too busy eating to get any photos of the food so, we just had to go back again the following week and do it all again!

The lunch menu is 9.50 euros and is a buffet style meal – you just keep ordering until you are full. Drinks are not included so beware of the surprise extras on your bill for wine or water. 

I totally recommend the potato cakes which sound boring but having Irish blood  I can never resist a potato dish and when they arrived they were too delicious to share so we had to order more for the others!ImageTeriyaki

C/Agusti Vinyamata79

08402 Granollers

Tel : 938 791 002

 

Finding a Hairdresser in Granollers

I enjoy going to the hairdresser but I also find it daunting going to a new place.

One of the things that worried me when I first arrived in Granollers was where I would go to have my hair cut and coloured. I tried to put it off as long as possible and every time I went back to the UK I had a hairdo in my old familiar salon. But even I couldn’t stretch the appointments out to be annual ones so I ended up shopping around in Barcelona and in Granollers. But nowhere ever seemed quite comfortable or right for me.

What is so scary about it?

Well there is the issue of how to explain what you want in another language.

And  I thought they might not be experienced in adding colour to blonde hair.  Perhaps I would end up orange!

And then there is the necessity of chatting that always comes up with a hairdresser.

So, after much nervous experimenting and searching I was really happy to find the Carol Bruguera salon

Image I was able to walk in without making an appointment. Not having to plan in advance made it easier to go when I was in the mood.

Then I discovered that they always give you a head massage at the end of the wash. Bliss!  I love having my hair washed and used to resort to blatant flattery just to try and make the washer spend a little more time on it.

“Oh that is lovely!  You are so good at doing that!”  But in this salon there is no need for that – they massage your head, really slowly and carefully before wrapping you in a towel and leading you gently back to the dreaded mirrors.

And lastly there was the extra bonus of having someone who could speak English.  Jacint is not only a great hairdresser and a very funny man but he speaks English and wants to practise it!  He also doesn’t mind if you close your eyes and stay quiet.

All the staff are very friendly and I have never had that awkward Granollers feeling of being stared at by a haughty non-smiling assistant.  And…. after my first year of going there, they even moved the premises closer to my home!

It is now in Plaça Perpinyà and it is one of the reasons I would find it hard to leave Granollers.

If I ever moved back to Cornwall perhaps I would come over here to have my hair cut.

Carol Bruguera

Pl. Perpinyà, 4 (Pl. dels Porcs)
08400 Granollers

Tel. 938 794 016

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the town centre changes

I took this photo when I first visited Granollers in 2009

ImageThe whole city centre was in a state of chaos with streets being closed for building works. We used to cycle everywhere so were accustomed to finding ways through the pot holes and piles of bricks. I now realise that this marked the end of a major transformation of Granollers town centre. The main artery road through the town – leading from Barcelona to Vic – was being pedestrianised. What is now a long wide avenue with shops on either side and bars and restaurants and absolutely no cars, before was a normal two way street. You could drive right into the Porxada Plaça which is unthinkable today with all the cafe tables splayed out across the square and children freely playing football and running around in safety. Where was there room for cars?

And here are the works in Maluquer and Salvador Square outside the library at the same period in 2009.  That’s where the chickens are on market day. I don’t know where they went then.

Maluquer i Salvador Now we have road works blocking parts of Carrer Girona, a road that lies parallel to the main street. The pavements are being widened and perhaps that too will be unrecognisable in a few years.

Street Cleaning

It is easy to see the bad things about a city like Granollers but how depressing to concentrate on them rather than enjoy the good and the beautiful. That’s why I decided to try and write mostly about the positive things in this blog.

However  ( I was clearly leading up to this) I can’t avoid talking about the rubbish problem.

I am out walking every day and tend to go to the parks, along the river and up to the Tower, all places where other people feel free to toss their rubbish, whether it is large like a sofa, polluting like old cans of paint, or small like coke cans or cigarette packets.

What I find both depressing and fascinating is that here in Granollers there is ample provision of places to put your rubbish. There is a large recyling centre close to the centre for plastics and paper and glass and large objects and paints etc.

There are hundreds of litter bins. Our little square has three all in the space of a few metres

ImageEvery street corner has large containers which are emptied regularly

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Recently we walked through the Park Lledoner when the wild flowers were at their best. But all along the path there were papers and plastics and bottles and cans.

People make a big fuss about dog shit but frankly who cares?  It is organic and will disappear.  Plastic and metal will be around for the rest of our lives. Unless someone else picks it up.  People here assume that someone else will come and clean the streets. And usually they do. The workers from the council. Or me!

I gathered up as much as my plastic bag would hold

ImageI tried to do it with love rather than cursing the people who dropped the stuff. Who could do this except someone who is unwell in mind or spirit?  Often the worse piles are right beside the bins. Bags of rubbish that are left underneath.  Is this some angry statement of ‘noone cares about me so I won’t care about them’?

Some people stopped and thanked me for doing it.  Perhaps if more of us began to clean the parks and paths then we could change this strange behaviour?  Come on people of Granollers!  Do you really want a British woman to be cleaning up all your messes? The little square near our house is cleaned every morning and yet when I go there with Bonnie at night – it is covered in rubbish again

ImageOn the positive side thank you the Granollers council for providing so many bins and for organising the cleaning services which are always out on the streets tidying up after the sad minority who can’t walk a few metres to find a bin.

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