We made it away for a few days last weekend, to Barcelona,
the powerhouse of design and business in Spain. Catalunya is increasingly hostile to being simply an autonomous region within Spain and is actively seeking constitutional recognition as a nation. The complex regional politics date back to before the first world war, but last year, with the "New Statute of Autonomy" things began to really heat up.
It´s odd that whilst we continue to expand the European Union, at the same time smaller parts of the Union are also fighting to be more independent. The struggle for a sense of identity is part of the human spirit I guess and at least the Catalans are managing to fight their corner without resorting to terrorism. By the way, what´s the difference between a dialect and a language? Catalan is positioned as a language, a strong element that reinforces Catalunya as a nation. I´m no linguist, but it does seem an awful lot like Spanish with a few words mixed with French – okay, so that´s my controversial statement for the week….
On a more mundane note, I enjoyed being in a familiar city again, with great bars and sense of dynamism and energy that you only really feel in genuine urban areas.
Needless to say I managed to try plenty of tapas with a modern, urban, "sophisticated" twist – maybe they´ll make it down south one day -. the real home of tapas!
P.S. Forgot to add that we flew with Vueling, the new low cost airline out of Barcelona – they fly to the UK amongst other destinations. I was totally impressed. New Airbus, pre-bookable leather seats, clean cabin interior without gaudy colours, (Easy jet and Ryan Air may be taking over the world, but the boarding process combined with the aesthetic nightmare that is the cabin and cabin crew uniform really makes the whole process unnecessarily stressful) professional cabin crew in fitted, classic uniforms (all cute gay blokes, from Brazil and Spain) and all this for the same price as a few drinks in a bar. Check out the web site.