Dear reader…like a gigantic stage the heart of Santa Tecla, located in the depth of Tarragona has started beating again, and the beat is getting louder and louder. It starts at 10 am with the sound of drums and and brass band playing the unmistakable notes and secret him of Tarrragona of Amparito Roca by Jaime Teixidor.
Actually that is a lie, it all started at 8.30, at what is probably Tarragona´s unspoken gastronomic best kept secret, a grungy workers caff (nirvana) called El Cortijo. I will write about El Cortijo when all is quiet again but…
a) they were serving their own mythical recipe of Espineta am Cargolins, snails and tuna fish stew, for breakfast.
b) this blogger never made it to the Cortijo due to previous late night . Mea culpa.
So let me start closer to 12:00. Tables are laid in Pla de Cols and the Banda Uniò Musicale de Tarragona is playing full throttle. There is free Rosita and crisp on offer and everywhere else vermouth and anchovy olives are being consumed by the gallon. A little stroll confirms that Tarragona is has entered it´s third season ( we have five seasons here, Spring, Summer, Santa Tecla, Autumn and Winter) every square there is the sound of food, people and music. Two gigantic paellas are being prepared at Còs del Bou, each containing approximately 25 kilos of rice ready for the revelers inhabiting the long rows of table stretching along the whole street.
The Mamadeta, that sticky icy concoction of lemonade slush and chartreuse, is being dished out in this year portable green fiberglass cocktail shakers, and you got to have one, that´s just the way it is.
Heading to Plaça de la Font we pass some Roman Soldjers in full gala and then enter the square with it´s center lined with fireworks. It´s the Toc de Crida, the official opening of the Festival, presided by the town major and festival organizers and the Ministers del Consell Municipal in their fine regalia and blowing their trumpets.
Three magic words: VISCA SANTA TECLA!!!!
and the fireworks starts. For a good ten minutes the sky becomes the target of a gigantic and deafening explosion, the last one unleashing a shower of confetti over the thousand of people and children looking up.
However there is little time for complacency because night is falling and with the night comes the echoes of drums and the whistling noise of petards and explosions. Carried up Carrer Major are the dragons gathering up for the 31st editions of the Mostra de Folklore Viu, Vibrie Fantastiques! and one of the most spectacular sighting seen in Tarragona so far.
Together with our very own Vibria are the Vibrie of Torredambarra, Vendrell, Reus and they are a terrifying sight. As the air burns and fills with smoke they dance, one by one, at the step of the cathedral, like a primordial gathering.
The time of Santa Tecla has come.