HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Meanwhile, back in Barcel...

Wed Oct 30, 2019, 07:47 PM

Meanwhile, back in Barcelona, Catalunya

I had to fly down there for work today. No trace of the violence portrayed a few days ago. Nice, warm (for us, not for them) sunny weather, people generally in a good mood, life back to normal. Not even extra guards at the Ajuntament in the center of the Barri Gtic. The taxi driver bringing me back to the airport in the evening was a young guy, maybe mid twenties, blown away that an American would be speaking to him in Catalan, was more curious to know how in the world I spoke Catalan (I used to live there) than interested in talking about splitting off from Spain (not interested--and he drives a car for a living, didn't see much point in burning it).

The salesman at my favorite cheese stand at the Boqueria market still recognized me after almost 5 months of not having been there (he's Catalan), as did the women at my favorite dried-fruit-and-candy-stand (they are all Filipino). They always dump extra stuff into my bags after weighing and pricing what I wanted, because I'm the only non-Filipino that speaks to them in Tagalog (stress on the second syllable). Now, my Tagalog consists of maybe a 30 word vocabulary, if that, but apparently nobody else even bothers, so I get special treatment, and they all remember me. It doesn't do my waistline any good, but it does spread a lot of smiles around, so if what I buy there kills me, at least I can die happy.

After the Boqueria, I wandered back through the narrow streets of the Gothic Quarter to the office of some friends who own a small family business that has been in the same place since around 1910. I hung with them until it was time to get the taxi back to the airport. I have a lot of places that are like a second home to me by now, but Barcelona is one of the earliest ones, as I first set foot in that city over 50 years ago. Like the locals say, "hi ha molt que ha cambiat, per, hi ha molt que s el mateix (there is much that has changed, but there is much that is the same)."

Catalunya is very much Spain's major "giver state," just like New York and California are to us, but the majority of the Catalans still don't see splitting off any more than New York State does from the USA. They have some genuine grievances with Madrid that deserve attention, but splitting off altogether is not what most Catalans want, even if a noisy minority wants the world to think so. I don't blame them. New borders, application to join the EU (good luck with Spain's veto power), application to join the Euro and NATO, doing who-knows-what in the meantime.

32 replies, 1033 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 32 replies Author Time Post
Reply Meanwhile, back in Barcelona, Catalunya (Original post)
DFW Oct 30 OP
panader0 Oct 30 #1
enid602 Oct 30 #2
elleng Oct 30 #3
CTyankee Oct 30 #4
DFW Oct 31 #8
CTyankee Oct 31 #14
DFW Oct 31 #15
erronis Oct 30 #5
DFW Oct 31 #9
erronis Oct 31 #31
DFW Oct 31 #32
evertonfc Oct 30 #6
Ron Obvious Oct 31 #12
evertonfc Oct 31 #26
DFW Oct 31 #19
Goodheart Oct 30 #7
DFW Oct 31 #10
Solomon Oct 31 #11
treestar Oct 31 #13
DFW Oct 31 #17
tblue37 Oct 31 #16
DFW Oct 31 #18
tblue37 Oct 31 #21
DFW Oct 31 #24
tblue37 Oct 31 #27
DFW Oct 31 #28
tblue37 Oct 31 #29
DFW Oct 31 #30
kairos12 Oct 31 #20
DFW Oct 31 #22
tblue37 Oct 31 #23
DFW Oct 31 #25

Response to DFW (Original post)

Wed Oct 30, 2019, 07:54 PM

1. good read. Thanks DFW.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DFW (Original post)

Wed Oct 30, 2019, 07:56 PM

2. arroz negro

Sounds like a good opportunity to enjoy a plate of arroz negro.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DFW (Original post)

Wed Oct 30, 2019, 07:56 PM

3. Thanks,

good to have up close and personal views.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DFW (Original post)

Wed Oct 30, 2019, 07:59 PM

4. I always think that Spain changed my life. How, I don't know. I was just so impressed with it.

Crossing the Pyrenees was mystical.

Something happens to you in Spain, I believe...not even when I'm in my beloved Florence or my beloved Paris.

But I'm thinking of visiting Arezzo again, perhaps with my daughter and one of my granddaughters so they can hear the bells go every hour...I think it changes your body rhythm. But it is calming and lovely. I wrote a little bit about this in my book, Immutable Truth. I was writing about being on the Piero della Francesca trail. It was truly beautiful and humbling. Piero is not very well known in this country,probably because his work was in frescoes and to visit them in situ is a bit daunting. But so worth it.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to CTyankee (Reply #4)

Thu Oct 31, 2019, 03:46 AM

8. I'm almost never in Italy

For some reason, it's a place my work never takes me. We haven't even been to Rome. My wife and I have vague plans to take a week there some day. It's only about a 2 hour flight from here, so it's not like it would require a lot of planning, and I can speak the language passably. But I'm still working, and my wife has her sick mom up in the north, and there's our granddaughter down in the Taunus, near Frankfurt (#2 on the way, too). We also have our two yearly non-negotiable trips to the USA (Cape Cod in the summer, Renaissance Weekend over New Year's). So it's difficult to fit other stuff in.

Spain, on the other hand....well, I lived there as a teenager, and as you experienced for yourself, once it's in your bones, it doesn't leave.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DFW (Reply #8)

Thu Oct 31, 2019, 06:55 AM

14. Well, I think the experience in Spain was different because it was infusive (is that a word?) as

opposed to the intellectually driven research like I was doing on Italian Renaissance art.

Do you have any advice on those companies that offer you a car and driver right there at the airport, meet your flight, take you to your bed and breakfast, etc. ? I am too old to manage the trains in Italy, altho I have done it in the past, so a driver sounds good (this is for the Arezzo. trip).

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to CTyankee (Reply #14)

Thu Oct 31, 2019, 08:29 AM

15. Unfortunately, I have no experience with those companies

I know they are there, but I have never used their services, and have no idea where to find one. Either a travel agent or the good old internet?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DFW (Original post)

Wed Oct 30, 2019, 08:00 PM

5. I've loved Catalunya since the 1960s. Barcelona was rough in the 70/80's

but the region has regained its pride as it should.

Spain is such a rich nation of various groups and generally it has honored the diversity. At the same time I can understand regions wanting a significant autonomy. Perhaps that could work as regional groups within the EU - where national borders are largely invisible.

My best hopes to everyone there, and to Europe as a whole - while under assault by the current trumputin alliance. It wouldn't surprise me to find that many of the worst incidents of disruption are carried out from Moscow or Washington.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to erronis (Reply #5)

Thu Oct 31, 2019, 04:01 AM

9. I wasn't down there much at all during the 1980s

My "frequent (maybe 6 or 7 times a year)" visits didn't resume until about 20 years ago.

Ever since Franco died, autonomy was restored to the regions most clamoring for it. Euzkadi, the Basque country, and Catalunya both got pretty much everything they lost when the Fascists won the civil war in 1939. I haven't been back to Euzkadi since the 1960s, but in Catalunya, the language is now again publicly dominant. Among the people, of course, it always was. Street signs, newspapers, TV stations, radio stations, schools, all are now again in Catalan. The major boulevards, all renamed after Franco and his fascist generals when they won the civil war, now have their original names back (the locals never stopped using them anyway).

So, the separatist movement is no longer about cultural identity, but money. My personal view is that the money should be negotiable, and the cultural identity should not. I think this is why Turkey is still at war with itself and Spain is not. Even the extremist Basques have stopped blowing up stuff. I think of tiny Switzerland with its diverse ethnic make-up, and how it wouldn't even occur to ANY Swiss to want to separate their regions from the rest. My only full-time guy down there is from Geneva, and so is French-speaking. He speaks a little Italian, maybe three words of German, and zero of the Swiss version. Ask him if he thinks any of Switzerland should want to leave the Confederation, and he'd look at you as if you'd lost that last of your marbles.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DFW (Reply #9)

Thu Oct 31, 2019, 01:32 PM

31. Good points, especially about the CH

I lived in Geneva for several years in the 60s and have revisited whenever possible (and when I can afford it.) The various groups/cantons in Switzerland have a very distinct personality and don't much want a homogenization - fondue/raclette but no "melting pot" ala the US (as if...)

I also traveled in southwest France during some of the Basque revolts and remember the tensions from that time. I'm really glad that whatever necessary conciliation happened.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to erronis (Reply #31)

Thu Oct 31, 2019, 01:40 PM

32. The really violent Basques were always very few in number

When Franco died, and the cultural repression faded, their raison d'tre did, too. When the populace was basically fre from government repression, the last thing the Basques needed was a tiny violent group fighting for a cause that no longer existed.

I was just down in Zrich last weekend. I was going back and forth from Swiss-German to French to Italian every half minute, and so was everyone else. They have no problem whatsoever with the different ethnicity-one nationality reality.

*and you're right, the place is RIDICULOUSLY expensive!!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DFW (Original post)

Wed Oct 30, 2019, 08:04 PM

6. just back

I just returned with my High School senior. We went to see Messi at Camp Nou during fall break but are in love with the city now. Great read, thanks.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to evertonfc (Reply #6)

Thu Oct 31, 2019, 06:24 AM

12. Were you trying to watch the Classico (Barcelona - Madrid)?

Hope you got to see Messi anyway, with the game being postponed because of the unrest. I think it's been rescheduled for Nov 18th, but there are issues with time of day. Apparently, one home game must be scheduled at the right time for the Chinese TV market, and one for the US market. I don't know if they have all that sorted yet.

What a complicated world we live in.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Ron Obvious (Reply #12)

Thu Oct 31, 2019, 09:40 AM

26. messi.. We saw Messi bag a FK....

We caught the Seville match the weekend before the unrest.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to evertonfc (Reply #6)

Thu Oct 31, 2019, 09:13 AM

19. I guess I don't have to ask if you had a good time! n/t

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DFW (Original post)

Wed Oct 30, 2019, 08:07 PM

7. I fucking love Catalonia, from Barcelona all up into Perpignan, France.

Beautiful cities, beautiful hills, beautiful coast, beautiful people.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Goodheart (Reply #7)

Thu Oct 31, 2019, 05:38 AM

10. It does grow on you

To the right kind of person, it becomes addictive, and you just don't want to leave. I know one guy from Houston, maybe early to mid-thirties, happened to pass through on a trip to Europe. A year later, he was there, filling out forms to request residency and taking courses in Catalan. He ditched his job and his life (to the extent he had one--I don't know him well) in Houston and said Barcelona is home. Just like that. An extreme case, you might say, but probably not unique.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DFW (Original post)

Thu Oct 31, 2019, 05:50 AM

11. I was just there this past Wednesday

thru Sunday. Weather was great. Got a personal tour of the stadium and, my God, the Sagrada. It was fantastic!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DFW (Original post)

Thu Oct 31, 2019, 06:26 AM

13. I was there a few days in the 70s

On a Sunday, there was dancing in front of the cathedral. I also recall the "Ramblas." The language is interesting to compare to Spanish - I love Romance languages. "Ha cambiat" vs. "Ha cambiado." "Pero" is similar. "es" from "to be" quite similar.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to treestar (Reply #13)

Thu Oct 31, 2019, 09:08 AM

17. You're probably thinking of Saturday morning

The Sardana, the traditional Catalan folk dance, is performed by everybody and anybody every Saturday morning in front of the Cathedral.

In Castilian, "pero" has the stress on the first syllable. In Catalan, it's on the second syllable: "per," just like in Italian.

Catalan is similar to Medieval French (Langue d'Oc". Texts in Catalan predate texts in Castilian by about a century. Anything directly Latin-related will be similar in Castilian and Catalan unless the Arabic expression is dominant in Castilian. Some words of the old Latin stayed on in use when the rest of the Latin languages moved on (i.e. the Spanish "comer"--to eat--is straight from the Latin "comere," whereas Catalan, French and Italian now use the vernacular mengiar, manger, and mangiare). In Castilian, to say "there aren't any," one just says, "no hay." In Catalan, you say "no en hi ha," more similar to the French "il n'y en a pas." In Castilian, to say that something has nothing to do with something else ("nothing to see" in the Romance languages), you say, "nada que ver con....," where the Catalan "res veure amb....." is more similar to the French "rien voir avec......" For "cheese," Spanish even uses the Gothic import word "queso," which is the similarly pronounced Kse in German. Catalan/French/Italian use the vernacular Latin "formatge/fromage,formaggio." Where "to find" in Castillian is either "hallar" or "encontrar," in Catalan/French/Italian, it's "trovar/trouver/trovare." In Catalan the unstressed "o" is pronounced like the English long "u," so the first syllable in Catalan is identical to the French.

The Castilian "es" is pronounced with a soft unvoiced "S" where the Catalan "s" uses a voiced "S," like our "Z." "Casa" is written the same, but in Catalan it is pronounced exactly like in Italian as if it were (in English) "caza."

etc etc........

That should prepare you for your next trip to the western Mediterranean!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DFW (Original post)

Thu Oct 31, 2019, 08:34 AM

16. I love Barcelona. It's my favorite city. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to tblue37 (Reply #16)

Thu Oct 31, 2019, 09:11 AM

18. It's an easy city to give that title to!

Every time I run down there, I think, what a glorious place this was to live in.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DFW (Reply #18)

Thu Oct 31, 2019, 09:17 AM

21. My ex was a professor of Spanish. We used to take a study-abroad group there each summer.

We traveled all over Spain, and loved many places, but Barcelona was our base, and our favorite.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to tblue37 (Reply #21)

Thu Oct 31, 2019, 09:20 AM

24. I was there in the Franco era.

No school in Catalan was permitted. Nowadays some American Spanish-language programs that used to be based there have moved to other parts of Spain. I can understand why, but the thought of spending a semester or a school year in Spain in another city just seems a shame if you have the chance to live in Barcelona instead.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DFW (Reply #24)

Thu Oct 31, 2019, 09:41 AM

27. Me too. Our trips started in 1971. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to tblue37 (Reply #27)

Thu Oct 31, 2019, 12:06 PM

28. My first time was 1968

First time in a dictatorship, although things had loosened up considerably since the 1950s, I was told. Franco ditched his Axis pals Mussolini and Hitler in the middle of the Second World War, even though he had them to thank for his victory in the Spanish Civil War. He always was one for sensing which way the wind was blowing, and wasted no time making overtures to the allies before the war was even over.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DFW (Reply #28)

Thu Oct 31, 2019, 12:34 PM

29. I was always nervous around the Guardia Civil and their automatic weapons. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to tblue37 (Reply #29)

Thu Oct 31, 2019, 01:01 PM

30. Ah, yes, "the Guads," as we called them

I think you had to prove you could walk around with a nasty expression to even join them in those days.

About ten years ago, I was talking to a young female GC at a delayed security check at the Barcelona airport, and it was as if I had been talking to a sales clerk. Loose, friendly, completely normal. They finally ditched those black cardboard hats!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DFW (Original post)

Thu Oct 31, 2019, 09:14 AM

20. In Barcelona last year.

Such a wonderful place. The narrow streets and spectacular art. We just loved it.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kairos12 (Reply #20)

Thu Oct 31, 2019, 09:18 AM

22. I can imagine!

You could easily spend a week there and barely scratch the surface of all there is to see and do.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kairos12 (Reply #20)

Thu Oct 31, 2019, 09:19 AM

23. Those cobbled streets in the Barrio Gotico date back to Medieval times. Some stores there

in the Barrio Gtico have walls built in Roman times.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to tblue37 (Reply #23)

Thu Oct 31, 2019, 09:23 AM

25. They certainly do!

Cars have a hard time getting to some addresses, because some of them won't fit.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread