Barcelona, a photo a day


September 11th…

…is also La Diada, the national day of Catalunya. It commemorates the defeat of the Catalan troops during the War of the Spanish Succession. The Catalan troops that supported the Habsburg dinasty were defeated at the Siege of Barcelona by the troops of Bourbon Philip V of Spain on 11 September 1713 after 14 months of siege. The holiday was officially reinstated in 1980 by the autonomous governing body of Catalonia, the Generalitat de Catalunya, upon its restoration after the end of the Franco dictatorship. Independentist organizations and political parties traditionally lay floral offerings at the monuments of the leaders of the defense of the city Rafael Casanova and General Moragues for their fight against the king Philip V of Spain. Typically, Catalan nationalists organize demonstrations and meet at the Fossar de les Moreres of Barcelona, where they pay homage to the defenders of city who died during the siege and were buried there. Throughout the day, there are independentist demonstrations and cultural events in most of the country.
Nowadays… We’re going to a crisis, as you know. We have a new government in Madrid, which seems to do all they can do to make things worse. Catalunya, by far the richest community in Spain, is bankrupt, and had to ask Madrid for a 1 billion bail out, so schools and hospitals can remain open. Even though Catalunya actually finances the rest of Spain. About schools, it started again a few days back, with 20.000 alumni more than last year,  and 3.000 teachers less. Many schools have to close in the afternoon for lack of money.
Hospital… Are closing. Fast.
So, as you can guess, some very strong feelings  are going around. Most people want independence from Spain. 

I don’t know where we’re going. We just all hope it won’t be as bad as it is in Greece. And we certainly don’t want Mrs Merkel to take over here as well!

 UPDATE: 1 and 1/2 million people, according to the police, on the streets of Barcelona right now, and what do they all want? Independence from Spain.

C’est la Catalogne!

Greetings from the lovely french seaside resort of Argeles-sur-Mer, in Catalan Argelers de la Merenda. It is France, but it also still is Catalunya, or Catalogne in French. I like to call the french part of it Northern Catalunya, or Roussillon (in Catalan Rossello) The people here, some of them anyway, speak a very close cousin to our Catalan south of the border.
Confused? Click here!

We’re here to celebrate France’s 14 juillet, or Bastille Day, with fireworks and dancing, yeah!

Catalan vs Spanish: BIG trouble in little Catalunya!

This is what Wiki has to say:

Catalan (English pronunciation: /kætəˈlæn/, /ˈkætəlæn/, /ˈkætələn/; Catalan: català, IPA: [kətəˈɫa] or [kataˈla]) is a Romance language, the national and the only official language of Andorra, and a co-official language in the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencian Community, where it is known as Valencian (valencià, IPA: [valensiˈa]), as well as in the city of Alghero on the Italian island of Sardinia. It is also spoken, with no official recognition, in the autonomous communities of Aragon (in La Franja) and Murcia (in Carche) in Spain, and in the historic Roussillon region of southern France, roughly equivalent to the current département of the Pyrénées-Orientales (Northern Catalonia).
Although recognized as a regional language of the department Pyrénées-Orientales since 2007, Catalan has no official recognition in France, as French is the only official language of that country, according to the French Constitution of 1958.                  

OK, thank you Wiki. Now… BIG trouble! Since 1982, teaching in catalan schools, kindergardens, universities, is in the Catalan language.
But since there are some Spanish people (…) living in Catalunya as well, some of them protested. They want their kids to be tought in Spanish, the language of Cervantes and Lorca.
So, what happened? This week,the highest tribunal in the country (meaning Catalunya, not the other one, not Spain) decided that, to respect a tiny minority’s wishes, teaching will from now on be done exclusively in Spanish, in schools, universities, kindergardens, etc.
The Catalan majority literally exploded, as you can imagine!

To be continued…

Meanwhile, in Barcelona… I took this photo in February, long before this story started. The owner of this shop, with an originally Spanish sign, tried to ‘ catalanise ‘ it, transforming escritorio into escriptori, papeleria into papereria. He might be a member of one of the few political parties here fighting for independance from Spain.

Many economists say that without Catalunya, Spain would long be bankrupt… As I said earlier, TBC. We’re living interesting times.

Skywatch Friday

Very high up in the Pyrenees Mountains, about half a meter away from France… The ski resort of Ordino-Alcalis in the Principality of Andorra, altitude 2826 meters, or 9300 feet.

Please click here to see more Skywatch photos!