The notes of Amparito Roca got entangled in the dreams of last night and it’s a very late wake up. Eyes wide open in to the first Sunday of Santa Tecla embracing human towers, snail stew, gigantic paellas, a Ball de Diables and and one last Amparito Roca to close the day.
11am and the snails are bubbling away in large pots for the 25th edition of Espineta amb Cargolins one very traditional local staples which the local Association of Restaurant of the Part Alta of Tarragona is trying to revive in the form of a tapa. For €2 they spoon out a generous portion served with a fresh slice of bread ( and toothpicks to pick out the reticent snails). Packed with flavor, there are a dozen different version on offer and can be eaten on the many tables set up in the square. Washed down with a cold glass of Estrella and it´s time to set off for the great spectacle of Castells, torres i pilars in Plaça de la Font.
Here the crowds are swelling and from far up it looks like a strange jigsaw made the of pink , red, green and mauve colours of the hundreds of castellers getting in positions to raise the first towers. We have the two main collas from Tarragona, the Colla Xiquets de Tarragona in red and white stripes, the Colla Jove Xiquets de Tarragona in mauve, and then the two guest collas collas: the Colla Vella dels Xiquets de Valls and the current no1 champion the Castellers de Vilafranca.
It is one of those rare occasion where each colla perform accident free, aside of one member fainting under the share weight and heat, and Tarragona’s Colla Jove ends up with the highest result in their history with 9 of 8, a 5 of 9, a 3 of 9 and a pillar of 7, amazing stuff!
In the heat of the afternoon and appetite mounting we head back to Pla de la Seu for generous helping of Arrossos de diumenge, the arross being turned in to large paella pans with thousands queuing to for a plate.
But rest if for the weary and the afternoon seems to eclipse in a matter of minutes. The sun disappears behind the Cathedral and people start taking seats on the steps. It´s the time of the diables again, this year marking their 30th anniversary ( 1984-2013) since the diables were resurrected by the cultural oblivion imposed by the Franco dictatorship.
To celebrate their anniversary the Ball de Diables de Tarragona have a new outfit designed by Tamara Huete of the Escola d’Art i Disseny of Tarragona which will be unveiled tonight, in front of the Cathedral, at a very special ball. And so they enter at the sound of drums, lighting the flair in turn, swirling around following ancient protocols, the now old singed and tatty uniform replaced by a sturdy white, green and red outfits, terrifying and exhilarating as the spectators run for cover.
The night end with a concert by the Banda Unió Musical de Tarragona. It is right next door on Pl. de la Pagesia and when the last note of Jaime Texidor’s Amarito Roca strikes it’s time to close the hatchets and get a little rest.