2014 04/09

5 Years On – My Homage to Catalonia

Claire is back with another excellent article, this time reflecting on her last 5 years in Barcelona.

Telefèric de Montjuïc

Within the next couple of weeks it will be 5 years to the day since I was hit by a wall of heat as I stepped off a sleeper train in Estació de França, with probably more luggage than is really permitted in their carriages. It’s difficult now to remember exactly how I felt at the time, what I was expecting, how long it would take, if ever, to feel like home. Moving away from a comfortable, happy life in Manchester to try one I’d dreamed of in a Mediterranean city has thrown more experiences and challenges my way than I ever expected and this anniversary has provided a good opportunity to reflect on what as a British expat are my personal highs and lows of Barcelona life. Read the rest of this article…

2012 24/01

Learn Catalan in Barcelona

An article from the wonderful Claire Gledhill about why it’s useful to learn a bit of Catalan if you’re staying in Barcelona. And it’s free!

What language do they speak in Barcelona?

For anyone landing in Barcelona ready to start a few months study, experience the city or look to making a new life here, learning Catalan is probably not high on their to-do list. In fact many visitors or new arrivals may be blissfully unaware that they have indeed set foot in one of Spain’s autonomous regions which has its own distinctly different language, cuisine and cultural heritage.

Where do they speak Catalan apart from Catalonia?

Catalan may be viewed as a minority language, and at least geographically it is, only being spoken in Catalonia, some regions of southern France, and dialectal versions in the Valencia region, Balearic Islands and a small section of northern Sardinia. However, with over 9 million speakers, which ranks it alongside Danish, it is certainly not a dying language yet is not recognised by the European Union. And just to be clear, Catalan is NOT a dialect of Spanish, nor a mix of Spanish and French, but an individual Romance language, although of course as any student of a Latin rooted language will know there are similarities between them all.

Now let’s be clear, I am no fluent or even proficient user of Catalan, yet 100 hours of free Catalan classes (more about that later) has given me a base which I believe has opened up another side of Barcelona that I would miss out on without this knowledge. Read the rest of this article…

2011 07/04

Claire’s Perfect Day in Barcelona

“A perfect day in Barcelona for me would, without doubt, be spent during one of the sweltering, balmy days in mid-summer when your pace slows right down as the slightest movement results in beads of sweat trickling down your neck and back. At these times of year one of those fold-up fans that slips into your bag is indispensable, if you’ve not spent a summer in Barcelona then buy one in advance and be prepared. Fellas, you’ll have to make do with rolling up one of the free newspapers given out at metro stops until someone comes up with a male styled version.

Sirvent

D. Tomás Sirvent Planelles’ original 1920 premises near Santa Caterina market

So, to start my day. Seeing as it’s summer and my usual healthy appetite isn’t quite what it normally is, I might forgo a regular breakfast and just head straight to Sirvent off of Ronda de Sant Pau to pick up a large granizado de limon, a sweet yet tart crushed ice drink. The ice cream at Sirvent is also wonderful but I think it’s a bit early for a tub of that just yet. Read the rest of this article…

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