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La Merçè - slip on your dancing shoes and let the fiesta begin!

In a city famous for its fiestas, La Merçè is the one that stands out. It's the big one, the one people travel here for. And it's well worth checking out if you ever get the chance. A week-long celebration that encompasses events all over the beautiful Spanish city of Barcelona, this is the one that counts. 

La Mercé Fireworks

Barcelona starts buzzing in mid-September, as stages and signage begin to appear on street corners around the city. There’s a sense of anticipation in the air that builds up throughout the week. And when the party starts, it seems like it never stops. This is the Mediterranean way and it is this vibrant, passionate Mediterranean spirit that is the inspiration for Viscata’s stunning, handmade espadrilles.

Viscata Women espadrilles Made in Spain Wedges

Music, laughter (and freshly made churros!)

Because this is Spain, the wine flows freely at this fiesta and the smell of food wafts tantalisingly in the air. The bars and terraces are packed full of people sipping beer and nibbling on tasty tapas in anticipation of the spectacle to come. There is music everywhere.  Poets read their work in the streets to anyone who’ll listen. Barcelona’s stunning buildings are brought to life with high tech digital projections and the sound of firecrackers is all around.

sant-jaume-barcelona - Lights

 

You can smell the sweet, doughiness of freshly-made churros (long donut-like treats dipped in sugar or melted chocolate) wafting down the street from a local bakery. You can sense the excitement in the air.

Giants, street parties and fireworks

And then the festival begins by introducing the parade of the giants. Known locally as  Los Gigantes these giant papier-mache Kings and Queens roam the Barcelona streets in procession, often accompanied by medieval musicians or live bands. At La Merce, the party never stops.

la-merce-festival-barcelona-Giants

 

There are bonfires and fireworks and street parties and parades. Music is everywhere from internationally known acts to local heroes and from random groups of young drummers to older locals dancing the traditional Sardana.  This amazing fiesta truly has something for everyone. 

la-merce fireworks

 

But there are two special traditions that tell me La Merçè  is here - the uniquely Catalan customs of Castelers and Correfoc.

Castles in the sky

Many of us will already know about the Castelers - we may have seen these giant towers of humanity swaying and teetering across our television screens on some documentary or travel show. But nothing quite prepares you for the moment itself.  Crowds pack out the Plaça de St. Jaume in the heart of Barcelona’s Gothic district.  One by one, the locals gather by community, awaiting their turn to impress the judges with their strength, coordination and teamwork.  Many of the Castelers are dressed in the colors of their barrio as the strongest men link arms in an increasing circle of strength that forms the foundation of this tower. 

Then, team members clamber up the pile and start constructing a human tower that sometimes reaches 20m into the sky.  The crowd at the bottom pushes and sways until the last one climbs to the very top of the tower and shouts “olé” before clambering down to join her comrades below.  This little star is usually no more than 6 or 7 years of age and there are no safety harnesses. Just a little bicycle helmet in case she falls.  This is the ultimate display of community commitment, trust and organisation and it is truly a joy to witness.

Castellers - Plaza St Jaume La Mercé

 

Running with the devils...

And then there is the Correfoc - literally translated from the Catalan as “Fire Run”. This extraordinary event has to be seen to be believed. Just imagine closing off a main street in the centre of town and constructing a giant Devil’s mouth at one end.  As night falls, the darkness closes in and the crowds muster, local community teams have been preparing for this event all year long.  And it is typically Spanish in its passion, flair and adventure.

Carrefoc dragon La Merce

Cheered on by thousands of people lining the route, the parade begins, barrio by barrio.  Hundreds of locals of all ages join in. They dress up in Devil’s costumes and strap strange contraptions to their arms and shoulders that spit fire and sparks into the crowd. There are explosions everywhere and whining sounds as fireworks whizz past you. There are papier mache dragons spewing fire and the parade whisks itself up into a frenzy as people rush into the centre of the action to dance amongst the fireworks and the explosions.  It is a riot of color, noise and excitement, a heady mix of all that is best about Spain.  This tradition goes back centuries and, thankfully, has not been spoiled by over zealous health and safety inspectors.  It goes on just like it has done for hundreds of years and we think the world is better for it.

correfoc-festes-la-merce

With all that excitement going on, you're definitely going to need some comfortable shoes to get you to the next party in time. 

And that's where Viscata comes in.

Viscata Women espadrilles Made in Spain Flat Laceups

Stunning shoes inspired by Spain’s passion for a party

Viscata has always been inspired by the traditions and rhythms that have made this Mediterranean city famous. Our shoes echo these ancient traditions using techniques passed down from generation to generation. Every pair of our Viscatas has been made by hand in the Catalan countryside. Each pair is hand crafted with love, care and exquisite attention to detail. And, because we work in harmony with nature, wherever possible, we aim to use locally sourced, natural materials that minimize our impact on the planet. Our styles are inspired by Mediterranean passion and pride and we hope that comes through in our designs. 

Natural materials Viscata artisan handcrafting traditional methods Made in Spain

Gorgeous canvas wedges to keep the party going

Slip into a pair of our Sagaro canvas wedges for example. These gorgeous wedges are built on an all natural jute platform with a cushioned leather inner sole for added comfort. They are the perfect party shoes and will carry you around the fiesta in serious style. 

Viscata Women espadrilles Made in Spain Wedge Laceups

 

Classy, lace up wedges, super chic breathable canvas and cute ribbons mean that you’ll look stylish whenever you put a pair on.  Available in both “tie dye” patterns and bicolor jute, these sexy numbers are sure to make a big impression when the party gets going. 

Viscata Women espadrilles Made in Spain Wedge Laceups

 

Casual, funky style with the comfort of a sneaker

Or, if you’re after a more casual look that combines funky contemporary styling with superior comfort, you could slip into a pair of our beautiful Almadraba suede platform sneakerdrilles.  These are the perfect shoes for exploring the city’s fiesta sites in style  Combining the comfort of a sneaker and the cute good looks of an espadrille, these shoes manage to combine elegant bows with a platform sole for a comfortable, edgy and trendy look.

Espadrilles-Sneakerdrilles-Womens-Suede Viscata Made in Spain

Colorful and practical stunners to express your personality

If you’re looking for something a little more practical, you could do worse than to step out in a pair of elegant Menorquina Avarcas (this year’s must have shoes!) now available in a range of 10 fiesta friendly colors. From vibrant red to bright orange and from sky blue to Navy, these little stunners will keep heads turning until the very early hours of the morning. Comfortable, classic and stylish these are a great way to express your personality. And they’re way better than flip flops if you want to keep the good times rolling!

Espadrilles-Avarca Sandals Womens-Leather Viscata Made in Spain

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