To plan your vacation in Barcelona and Valencia almost 8 months in advance for the dates on which two of the best local celerbrations are held in both cities – the celebration of Sant Jordi in Barcelona and that of San Vicente Ferrer in Valencia, but without even knowing about those celebrations – now, this is what I call serendipity.
We found out about Sant Jordi’s celebrations some two days before our departure for Barcelona. A friend of mine which lives there asked me whether we actually planned our trip for those dates because of Sant Jordi’s day. I just stared blankly at my chat window and not knowing what to answer I just typed “??”. Then she told me about the Catalan 14th February – that is 23rd April – the day of Sant Jordi (or Saint George). This is the day on which Barcelona becomes the city of roses and books – all men that are in love present their women with a rose, and women return the gesture by presenting their men with a book. You can read more about the legend of Sant Jordi here.
When we arrived in Barcelona the festive mood could be sensed everywhere in the streets – even two days before the celebrations students were selling roses, all the flower shops were well-supplied with the queen of the flowers and, my favourite part – the bakeries were fully prepared with loads of Sant Jordi’s cakes – someting like an ice cream pastry with caramel topping. Casa Batllo was also touched by Sant Jordi’s magic and was already all flowery on April 22nd.
Even the most hard-core anti-romantic person in the world would give in to the spirit that took over Barcelona on April 23rd.
Actually April 23rd was our last day in Barcelona so it was a good ending to our trip – then we headed down to Valencia where another great local celebration was about to be held – that of San Vicente Ferrer. But for that I will write in more details in my next blog post.