Santa Tecla diary – day 2

Santa Tecla snail and tuna classic stew

Day two and the sun burned through the coolness air of the morning, revealing a blazing hot day. The first Sunday of Santa Tecla is much slower to the senses which are still recovering from the previous night. Breakfast (or brunch, depending how awake you are) is a classic Santa Tecla stable called espineta amb cargolins, a local harty stew made of potatoes, snails and tuna fish – all the best restaurateurs of the Part Alta are involved and are offering 25 different variations of the dish so  you know it’s going to be interesting.

Santa Tecla food: snail and tuna timbale

Rows of tables and seats are set up under and above the steps of the Cathedral with  the bits in the shade most in demand. The stew, which is packed with flavour is presented in the form of a generous tapa for 2Euros each – Tarragona Blog favorite variation was the one on offer by the Raco del Abat, a timbale will all the classic tender ingredient beautifully binded by Romesco sauce and a dash of guacamole.

Human Castles at Santa Tecla Tarragona

From getting acquainted with the Santa Tecla snails  is was back in to the immense crowd gathered for the Day of Human Towers in Placa de la Font, a tradition which has been running during Santa Tecla since the 18th century.

Santa Tecla human towers

There were some astonishing displays with the Colla Jove Xiquets de Tarragona being the indisputable champions of the day, but also accidents as Castells in the making disintegrated in spectacular fashion. All executions were spectacular and were supported by a roaring crowd.

Human Towers at Santa Tecla

Every so often, after completing another successful formation, the collas would break out with a pro -independence chant in a square where a gigantic Estelada hung supreme (this is the flag which now symbols Catalonian aspiration to become the new state in Europe); a powerful dream in which the great majority in the crowd joined in with their hearts and voices.

Santa Tecla food

Lunch time provided another great excuse to dip in to a hearty bowl of paella which was cooked in gigantic pans by the Cathedral. Once again it was time to join in a table, sit with strangers and share drinks and smiles.

Gralla and Timbali at Santa Tecla

Sunday came to an end with multiple Grallers performance held on a small stage at the foot of the steps to the cathedral. Woodwind instruments play an integral part in the Catalan musical heritage where the Catalan Shawn known as a Gralla, with its trident sound, reins supreme.