They start with the kids and it’s wonderful.
The colour is part and parcel of the tradition, with each group displaying its own version of the basic ensemble –tight trousers, bright top and broad black, stretchable waist support band.
A castell is a human tower, traditionally mounted at festivals in Catalonia.
We’re in Olot on the first day of our guided walking tour in Spain – Catalunya to be precise. The local festival is in full flow, with great crowds thronging the narrow streets of the old town. The atmosphere is wonderful and typically Catalan, full of boisterous people having fun.
In front of Sant Esteve, the castell groups have gathered and the banter is in full flow. One by one, they offer up their initial ‘constructions’, with tightly-packed adults forming the solid base and the children, as young as 5 or 6 years of age, starting their ascent to the top. Topped with their rubber helmets, they acrobatically climb the adults’ backs, using the waist support bands as steps. Once they’ve summited, hands are waved in triumphant glee and back down they come at great speed. Their impressive achievement is greeted with well-deserved boisterous applause.
Later in the evening, this joyous celebration of local culture progresses to feature heavier adult women and men at its pinnacle, until the castell reaches a mind-boggling 6, 7 or even 8 ‘storeys’ high. Great stuff!
But we’re getting hungry.
Time to move on to one of the town’s lovely, smiley street-side eateries, where we tuck into some chorizo, bocadillos and more. Standing in this tight little space, beer in hand, we simply enjoy our time people-watching. Bliss!
A pleasant 20-minute stroll through the town brings us to our charming little hotel, nestled down a semi-rural laneway among lovely native trees. Tomorrow, we will begin our walking, among the wooded dead volcanoes of La Garrotxa Natural Park.
Guided Walking Tour in Spain
Provisional 2020 tour dates are September 5 to 12 inclusive, flying from Dublin to Girona (subject to airline schedules).
If you would like to learn about our small-group guided walking tour in Spain, where we spend one week hiking from the Catalunyan interior to its coast, please drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you the brochure with all the details.
To learn more about tourism in Catalunya, you might like to visit the official website for the region.