If it’s a party you want it’s a party you will get at the Carnival in Sitges, Spain.
In 2009 the celebration begins in mid-February and for the next ten days or so the city takes on an air of magical music and color. A popular gay destination, even the straight press recognizes the carnival as the wildest party in Spain. While any tourist here is bound to have a great time some little pointers could help you, as Tennyson put it, ‘enjoy life to the last lees,’ life here at the carnival at least.
1. Skip breakfast and even, maybe, dinner the previous night before Jueves Lardero or Fat Tuesday.
An unbelievable spread of local delicacies crowd decorated tables and the only smart way to go about it is to eat till you drop because nowhere else will you find a grander celebration of culinary delights. There are smaller neighborhood feasts, La Rambla’s humongous sausage barbecue and even food fights. So huge is the feast that the masked spirit of the carnival whose appearance signals the beginning of the carnival is also potbellied!
2. If you don’t like crowds…
If you don’t like crowds you should not make a trip to Sitges in February. But if you are there you should definitely avoid the Sundays and Tuesdays because on these days more than three hundred thousand party goers leave all their inhibitions behind and dive headlong into the carnival spirit. Try the other carnival days for a slightly more subdued atmosphere, that is, only when compared to the busier days here.
3. Sunday and Tuesday are, however, the best days to see the carnival at its brightest and loudest.
Definitely a not-to-be missed event for anyone who wants to see the true colors of the carnival, costumes that will dazzle the sleepiest of eyes, floats, dancers and acrobats appearing to glide more the walk and so much more. Sunday night sees the Debauchery themed parade while on the Tuesday it is the Extermination Parade. The location is Rua del Extermini. The best way to enjoy it is to get a good vantage point or, if you want to feel like you are in the thick of the action, line up early at the site.
4. If you think the last day of the carnival is all about winding down you are mistaken.
Top drag performers from all over Europe stream into the city to put up an amazing show. Such is the energy of the event that you’ll be forced to join in the screaming and the revelry. Everything from outlandish costumes to the caricatures of famous women struts its way out to the stage.
During these few days the whole city seems to leave all qualms about normalcy behind. ‘Limit’ seems a non-existent word. Over eating, over drinking and a total abandonment of all reserve is the name of the game and to really enjoy the carnival be prepared to shed your own sense of decorum too. Hurrah!
Photo of drag queen at the Carnival of Sitges, Spain, by A.www.viajar24h.com