The week of contrasts

This week has been somewhat of a come down after three jam-packed weeks of visitors and weekends away. We have been so lucky to have many friends and family visit from Australia, and our little apartment and day-to-day lives seem a bit quiet and dull now that they have gone.

Quiet is not always bad. It’s nice to focus on the minutiae of life for a bit: making sure there is edible food in the house, finally cleaning some clothes, and getting stuck into bigger tasks at work. But it makes a stark contrast to the last few weeks of travelling and saying salut every night. I think we will feel somewhat lonely in the weeks to come, as autumn and winter slowly descend on the Ebro Valley.

Tortosa, in its special way, also managed to provide a lovely display of contrast this weekend, in the form of two little festivals (it’s been more than two weeks, right?!)


The first one was A Cel Obert, or Open Sky (I think?). The aim of the festival was to open doors to some of the town’s many cloisters, or patios. In each patio, artists had created an installation that was supposed to make the most of the space and bring out something new in this, often very old, courtyards. This year’s theme was colour.

Cloisters, festivals and free large-scale art are all big ticks for me, not to mention access buildings that are usually closed to the public. The fact that we could explore the six open buildings in under an hour was also a big bonus for H! The secret, mysterious nature of cloisters make them so calming to be in, relaxing and cool, and the installations were just icing on the cake.

The string parabolas of “Entrecintat” in the 14th C Patio del Palacio Episcopal, and the cool boxes of “Matís de Cels” at the 17th C Convent de La Puríssima.

The other festival, which actually runs next weekend as well, was the Ebre Musik Festival. Six nights of free open air concerts by rock and metal bands from the Ebro region. On Saturday night an instrumental rock band from Alcanar called Demented played at the end of our street, with Cinta looking on in mild disapproval from the entrance to the Cathedral. They were…intense. With 21 minute epics like ‘The Smell of Decay‘, they were always going to be.

Demented perform to a small but dedicated crowd in Plaza de Nuestra Señora de la Cinta
Demented perform to a small but dedicated crowd in Plaza de Nuestra Señora de la Cinta.

We also checked out Tortosa’s own Hellfighters , who performed a rocking set at an intersection, to a crowd of adoring fans and parents. No fewer than four AC/DC songs were performed, as well some excellent Catalan rock songs, and the Final Countdown! What a party.

Both festivals took open spaces and turned them into something else, but in very different ways. One brought calm, the other clatter, and it was very nice to experience both.

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