Traveling opens your eyes to the world, even when all you want to do is close them and look the other way. I blame my curiosity more than anything for this quick cringe worthy tale.
While searching for the best Paella in Spain, Bello and I found ourselves in Vilafranca. A lovely little town in the Catalunya region not far from Barcelona. Known for it’s Cava, racing and a long heralded tradition of… building human towers with kids on top.
Wait what? Yeah, that’s what I said. Here we were wandering the town, soaking in the heat from the clear blue Spanish sky.
Then, falling behind I turn around to catch up and see this. I snapped a shot, not thinking much of it other than, that’s a cool statue.
Beautiful right. The picture doesn’t do it, the people in the statue are life size. Well, all except that little kid at the top. When we reached our restaurant, I noticed a poster that looked strangely similar to this statue. Ok now, I was definitely curious and got to googling.
What I found was this video. I mean the kids are alright, they are clearly pros, but don’t watch this if you’re squeamish!
I KNOW! In case you were counting, those little munchkins were on the shoulders of nine levels of people. NINE! I know, I know, don’t judge what you don’t understand. But, but, they’re kids!
So here’s what I didn’t know but soon learned. Castellers or the Human Tower, is an honored tradition, a sport if you will, dating back to the 18th century.
Teams across the region compete to see who can build the tallest tower at festivals from June to November. Castellers Villefrance, the team pictured in the statue above seems to always top the competition and even showed up in NYC.
Once my overprotective, non kid having self relaxed, what I saw was actually kinda cool. Here are kids, setting world records with the big kids. Watching them work, you see concentration, strength and control. It’s even cool to notice the belts around their waists acting as steps on a ladder for bare feet.
Impressive feats aside, while I have no desire to scamper up a human tower, I now have a pretty cool reason to head back to Spain to check out the Castellers. Besides, the Castellers are on the UNESCO Intangible World Heritage list, so it must be safe right?
WARNING: If you, like me are the curious type and go googling, you’re going to see some pretty gnarly footage of people crashing down on each others heads. Trust me, just open a bottle of Cava and stick with these videos. Cheers!
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