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Mercat Medieval de Vic

18 December, 2008 (15:13) | Living in Europe | By: admin

It is a 3 day holiday weekend here in Spain, celebrating the Santissima Annunziata Purissima Virgin Mary. We have been invited (with dog) to spend 3 nights in Viladrau with our friends Sara and Ricardo. They are excited to share the Mercat medieval experience with us.

Today is an icy morning. The drive from Viladrau to Vic takes us past frozen winter fields. It is easily 10 degrees colder here than in Barcelona, maybe more. We are bundled up in layers, like “cebollas” (onions) wearing mitts. I wear my fox fur collar and wooly hat. We manage to find one of the last FREE parking spots, which makes Ricardo very happy.

The Mercat Medieval in Vic is probably as authentic a medieval experience one could hope for in this day and age. Downtown Vic claims to have the most Catholic churches of Catalunya concentrated in one small area. Walking through the narrow streets I can appreciate the unique architecture of this region. The many churches and convents of Vic have given it the nickname “City of Saints. (“CIUTAT DELS SANTS”)

Strolling down the narrow, crooked streets I am enraptured by the rich artistry in the architecture. This unique festival transforms Vic into its medieval past, with costumed vendors and programmed events like jousting, activities like camel rides, and passing parades. The architecture and decor are rife with Arabic influences. Merchants and craftsmen come from thousands of miles away too sell their wares and goods.

As we enter the mercat we are overwhelmed by aroma, color, sounds, movement … all our senses activated at once. I am like a little kid at a smorgasborg buffet, my camera in one hand, my NAGRA digital recorder in another, getting bumped into by passersby. I must look like a complete parody of myself as I both record the sound of a medieval parade passing by, nervously fumbling for my camera with my left hand, then making the inner executive decision to stay with the aural recording and take photos later.

Vic is the perfect location for the Mercat Medieval; with its San Pere Cathedral, its Roman temple and the Main Square with its grand porticos – the setting lends itself to the theme. I toss Mark my camera to take a photo-stich series of pix which he can later manipulate with shake and we’ll add stuff later with a green screen. He’s good at creating worlds out of elements, made a lot of money doing just that for Peter Jackson for so many years…and now he gets to do it as a hobby. How cool is that?
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