All posts tagged: Catalonia

Seal in Catalonia

Seal – live in Catalonia

Inimitable British singer-songwriter Seal will be presenting his new album, 7, at what will be his only performance in Catalonia this summer. On this occasion, he is back with his former collaborator, producer Trevor Horn.

Seal performing at the Peralada Festival

Seal in the middle of the crowd

From the start of his career, Seal has focused on creative discovery expressing the complete experience of love through song. He will be making his Peralada Festival début with an album that captures beautifully the different dynamics of love, such as anger, acceptance, joy, sadness and imprudence, different forms of emotion that merge into feelings, the silly things that love does and that go straight to the heart.

Seal standing out from the crowd

Seal – live on stage

This is the first album released by the British singer since his divorce from model Heidi Klum in 2012. The songs on 7 describe the feelings of someone who has experienced a love story that has failed.  Leaving a great hole and a wounded person who has left something very important behind. Winner of four Grammys and three Brit Awards, he has sold over 30 million records worldwide. His hits hits inlcude Killer, Crazy and Kiss from a Rose, the soundtrack to the lm Batman Forever.

Seal giving the performance of his live at Peralada

Rocking the stage

Red flowers in the grass

Spring in Empordà

The charm of country life

We are enchanted by the spring of Empordà. Nature has exploded after the long rain, for which we had been waiting wistfully for so long. Did the winter months cause us to forget how the blaze of colours intoxicates our senses in the month of May? Blossoms of oranges emit the sweetest fragrance, roses shine in bright whites, pinks, and reds. Picturesque fields of poppy, opulently colourful rims of meadows, and everywhere in between: green, green, green. Unfortunately, the gaudy gorgeousness will soon start to fade away. The first lawns have already been mowed. The cottonwood’s seeds begin to sprout due to hot southerlies.

Beautiful wisteria growing in Palau Sator

Palau Sator

Palau-sator and its villages

The community Palau-sator and the associated villages Sant Feliu de Boada, Fontclara, Pantaleu and Sant Julià de Boada are located near the flat banks of Darò river. They are also only a stone’s throw away from Pals. The Gavarra mountains loom against the horizon. Palau-sator is surrounded by prominent stone walls; the old tower clearly visible from afar. It is dating back to the eleventh century and with its 20 metres of total height, it is much higher than anything else in the village. The stone tower is also all that is left of a castle, which used to mark the center of the small town.

Blue sky over Peratallada Empordà

Peratallada Empordà

Some of the old stone houses have undergone diligent restoration and have been turned into small restaurants offering mostly local cuisine.

A number of farming tools and machines are on open display on one of the farms and the farms’ shop sells fresh bread even on a Sunday. The farm is also a meeting place for those who have lived here a long time and like to use Sunday afternoons for some decent gossiping.

Red poppy fields in Empordà

Poppy in Empordà

Fontclara and Sant Felui de Boada

The next village, Fontclara, also dates back to the middle Ages. For example, there is the Roman church, built in the 11th century , which used to be cloister. Another village, Sant Felui de Boada, consists of a couple of farms and houses along the winding road from Torrent to Sant Julià. The village’s church features aspects of late Gothicism. Sant Juliá de Boada is smaller still, consisting only of a few farms huddled around a Roman chapel. This small sacral building is architectonically astounding and known as one of the region’s best conserved early Roman churches. Although used as a stable for centuries, it was rediscovered in 1982. Then restored thoroughly and returned to its original state of beauty.

Traditional stone houses

Typical houses in Palau Sator

All of the above mentioned villages are at their most beautiful in spring, cradled by green meadows and red poppy, yellow colza and blue borage (Borago officinalis). It is an excursion to silence and romance, to good mood and an evening spent in a cozy restaurant. Means of travel notwithstanding – it is the journey itself that is the reward. No matter if you are walking, going by cabriole, motorbike or bicycle. Enjoy spring, enjoy the early summer in the Empordà and exercise decelaration.

Costa Brava in May – it is well worth seeing.

Yachts at Empuriabrava

EMPURIABRAVA – news

Empuriabrava – The sea at your front door.

Empuriabrava: The sea in front of your door

Empuriabrava: The sea in front of your door

What is that makes Empuriabrava so special and original? It is the construction’s structure. A grid of navigable channels is a distinctive part of the townscape. Most houses thus have a direct connection to the sea; boats can be anchored at the front door.

The canal system makes Empuriabrava a very special place to live.

Channels of Empuriabrava – Living at the Mediterranean Sea

This luxury, however, is pricy these days, what with the property market being on of the region’s main branches of economic activity. 


Fantastic news for Empuriabrava!

Finally after 6 long years, all sales of moorings are now registered at the land registry again.

In Empuriabrava you can find anything, from villas to modern houses.

Modern villa at the channel in Empuriabrava

The Coastal Law from 1988

The strong effort and hard work of the APE (Asociación de Propietarios de Empuriabrava) were worth it. Thanks also to the notary of Castelló d´Empuries who became involved and enabled a solution together with the new land registry directory in Roses.

Houses in the style of small fisher houses

The houses at the channel were built in the style of small fisher houses

APE (Asociación de Propietarios de Empuriabrava)

The APE was founded in the year 2008 in order to protest against the “deslinde” as established in the Coastal Law from 1988. If this law had been applied, the state would have claimed its property right also along the canals of Empuriabrava and Santa Margarida.

Every house at the canals has a boat to get around.

Modern villa with yacht on the doorstep at the channel of Empuriabrava

If the APE had not mobilized and informed all owners at that time, the deslinde would have been applied by in September/October 2008 and all the deadlines to appeal would have been lost.

Canal with boats

One of the narrow canals of Empuriabrava

With the deslinde and the application of the Coastal Law of 1988, all purchased moorings and flooded land property were declared as public domain (dominio público) at once.
The channel walls have been declared to be the new coast line.
 As a result of this a 6 m wide strip was specified as public access to the coast on the private properties along the water. This strip had to be free from any construction or plantation.

Trees reflecting int the water

The green of the pine-trees reflects in the channel

This was even adopted by the new POUM, the zoning plan of the town hall.

In the land registry an appendix was added, saying that each property is affected by the application of the Coastal Law of 1988 (6 m strip plus moorings = public domain). 
The value of the properties had lost immensely!
 Furthermore, no transfer of ownership of a mooring was registered in the Land Registry in the recent years.

Nice panorama of Empuriabrava

The panorama of the Pyrenees frames the villas of Empuriabrava

The APE has actually managed that in May 2013, the government in Madrid incorporated in the new Coastal Law 02/2013 an addendum to the Law for Empuriabrava and Sta. Margarita, based on the text submitted by the APE with the lawyers which specifies the following:

Panorama with palmtrees

Different boat types in the canal

The new Coastal Law

  1. There will be no new strips along the channels
  2. The owners of land property along the channels have the right to moor their boats alongside and this right is not separable from the property.
  3.  Those, who owned a parking space for a boat, a private mooring, which was registered in the land registry, obtain full ownership back.
Palmtrees at the canal

Palms in the wind – Empuriabrava has a beautiful landscape

A fantastic success of the APE for the benefit of everyone in Empuriabrava!

Since May 2013, the APE fights to ensure that the new law will be applied by the Land Registry.

The notaries have indeed created notary deeds applying the new law. 
However, the Land Registry has refused to register the sales of moorings for the past 3 years.
The reason was that a new deslinde should be established in Empuriabrava.

At the 05.05.2016 the APE could happily announce that this big goal was achieved as well!

The APE thanks all of you who support the APE and pay their membership fee of only 50 Euros per year. If you are not a member of the APE (association of owners in Empuriabrava) already, please associate now!

Lighthouse of Empuriabrava

Port of Empuriabrava

Catalonias all-rounder – rice (arroz)

Tradition and modernity

What is your first impression when hearing the term rice? Asia? South America? Paella?

Exactly – but was anybody thinking of Catalonia? Because you definitely should! Catalonia is not only known for its beautiful Costa Brava or world-famous footballers. It is also known for its extraordinary cuisine and its excellent rice which grows in the region for centuries. The municipality of Pals is one of the most visited places in the interior of the Costa Brava and mostly estimated for its rice cultivation. Specific conditions such as the smooth climate, plenty of sunlight, fresh water and long experience of the rice farmers are the foundation for an excellent reputation, even outside of Spain.

bounded rice-plant

The rice will be collected after harvesting

 

From wetlands into worldwide cuisines

Between mosses and water mouths of the rivers Fluvià, Ter and Muga it was able to create a tradition since the 15th century. Even at that time the product was of high availability and could be used for a plenty of dishes. Presently, Pals shelters three producers of rice who cultivate a total of seven different types. About 7 million kg of the rice produced in this region are marketed. Especially the varieties Teure and Bahia are bestsellers. Of which importance the grain is for the community is shown by the extra created gastronomic campaign during the months of March and April. Chefs of the most renowned restaurants add their personal touch to traditional rice dishes. On top of that the cereal is very healthy, nutritious and gluten-free. Rice is rich in carbs and can be served as a starter, main course or dessert as well as savoury or sweet. It’s simply an all-rounder of the Catalan and international cuisine.

Arroz de Pals – Riceharvest in Pals

Rice-farmer of Pals

Farmer with a traditional catalan headdress

The process of rice cultivation almost begins in the months of May and June, when the corn get´s planted. During summertime it now has time to mature to be harvested in mid-October with skilful handles. For the small community of Pals it is important to maintain the crop in the most possible traditional way. Mechanization doesn´t matter. Quite the contrary – horses are still an integral part of transporting the harvested rice plants.

Horse and its farmer

Horse and farmer are ready for takeoff

A small party for the local press and those who are interested in rice harvest get´s celebrated at every end of the year. Even this year – on 17 October – at the farm of Carles Mas de Pals. Nearly 200 visitors participated in different workshops.

Baskets in Pals

Baskets on the little market in Pals

A little market offers some in-house products like sweets, traditional basketry and of course the famous rice. But what would a rice festival be without a common meal? A cosy lunch between hay bales and cookware was perfect to enjoy the variety of rice and varied tasty ingredients.

Lonely streets and the smell of late summer

streets and gaps of Pals

Beautiful streets and gaps in Pals

Pals doesn´t only offer unique properties. It’s the perfect mixture of idyllic city life and living close to the beach which makes it special. Due to the fact we are close anyway, we decide to visit the beautiful centre. During summer tourists urge through the winding streets in droves. We are fortunate. Although some passersby are still in town it is really quiet. Scent of lavender is in the air. Sun is shining. The few opened cafés are well attended. It feels like the perfect late summer day. We also enjoy a café con leche in the sun before we continue towards the viewpoint. Along the way we stroll through some of the varied shops. Jewelry, ceramics, clothing. Pretty treasures nearly everywhere. Once on top of the viewpoint you can enjoy a fantastic look to the sea and to the Bay of Montgrí. Without the obligatory provisions we can´t leave Pals . So we get us a couple of Magdalenas. The muffin-like pastries are available in various flavors. From almond and apple to chocolate-nut, lemon and yogurt or classical jam. We´re in heaven and ready for our way home …

For the small and large appetites – traditional rice dishes

Rice is healthy, versatile and one of the most commonly consumed foods in the world. Paella is probably the best known traditional meal in Spain. However Spanish cuisine offers a far greater variety of rice dishes. No limits of imagination. We have prepared our two most

Traditional Paella

Traditional Paella

popular rice recipes and hope you like them as much as we do. Try your own combinations and enjoy! ¡Buen provecho!

Rice in a casserole

What you need for about four persons:

  • 600g rice
  • 400g ripe tomatoes
  • a large potato
  • about 2 medium eggs
  • Cloves of garlic to taste
  • 4 large (sharp) peppers
  • about 2kg different kinds of fish
  • parsley, salt and olive oil

Preparation: first put 2-3 peppers for a few minutes in a pan, then remove from the pan and mash. The fish heads (you can also take parts of fillets) now put in the same oil, simmer briefly, add the tomatoes and the crushed peppers. Now put in the parsley, crush the garlic and the remaining peppers together. Cook the rest of the fish in a pan and mix it with the other ingredients, boil for about half an hour. Then drain. Now the rice is cooked in the separated fish soup. Meanwhile, the potato can be mashed together with a clove of garlic and added to the rice with the egg yolk- mix well! It is now important to stir constantly. Add oil and salt for your individual taste. After another short cooking serve everything in a casserole. Best, top with aioli.

Arroz Negro (black squid risotto)

What you need for 4-6 persons:

  • 600g rice
  • 1.25 L fish stock
  • 0.5 chopped onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic (chopped)
  • two ripe tomatoes (grated)
  • some parsley
  • half a kilo of squid or jibia
  • paprika, olive oil and salt
  • paella pan

Preparation: put a little salt and oil into the paella pan. When oil is hot add the onion and fry at low heat until it turns golden brown. Afterwards add the squid, a little later the garlic and tomatoes- let it cook for some minutes. Fill in the paprika and some parsley. Smoothly stir the ingredients so that the squid releases its ink. Finally add the rice, fry everything easy and put in the fish. Cook everything strongly for about five minutes and then simmer for about 15 minutes. Make your own tasting with salt.

Pyrenees and Costa Brava- Horses, Castles and monuments

Espinavell

We take a step out of the house. The first impression is simply breathtaking. Sun rises up at the sky of the Costa Brava. Pictorial Pyrenees in the background. The smell of firewood creeps into our nose. Early in the morning we start from Torroella de Fluvià towards Espinavell to experience the annual horse-drift down from the mountains. The path takes us through stunning mountain scenery and small villages high up in the Pyrenees. Passing Besalú and Olot we stop in Camprodon. Crusty bread and delicious cheese of the region get packed. A traditional Catalan ´Coca´ with a sugar hood sweetens the rest of our way. Slowly moving forward to Espinavell we cross red-colored vine. Brightly colored trees are lining the serpentines. Only a few spots are still green. Autumn is knocking on.

Tria de Mulats- the traditional horse-drift

Horses running down the hills

Horses going downhill to Espinavell

We are moving forward to Mollo- a little municipality right in the pyrenees. For those who are afraid to ride the cliffy street up to Espinavell on their own buses are made available. We follow the numerous people up to the parking lot with our own car. Mud covers the floor and makes it pretty difficult to reach the parking lot. After several attempts we finally succeed. Crowds immediately passing us to the fairground. Many locals got dressed up for this special event. Every year on the day of St. Edward – 13 October – retailers and animal lovers meet to experience the traditional horse-drift in Espinavell. The little village seems do be in a state of emergency. Families, school classes and even tourists don´t want to miss the local spectacle. After months on the meadows, high up in the Pyrenees, horses and foals now get handed over to their owners or buyers. With concentrated power herds storming down the slope. The gathered crowd gives a brawly applause to „man and beast“.

Artesania- the colorful market

Olives in Espinavell

Delicious olives on a market stand

We stroll along the many market stalls. From traditional products of animal husbandry to sweet and savory delicacies of own production- everyone is able to find something. You definitely should take a walk up to the centre of the small romantic mountain village Espinavell. You will enjoy a fantastic panoramic view up there. A warming catalan coffee is irreplaceable. Later on the most beautiful horses will be awarded by an expert jury.

Horses grazing

View down to the horses and fairground

Free wild life on the mountain meadows with delicious wild herbs is over by now. When the last snow thawed and the spring sun attracts the first flowers in the next year the horses will be back in the highlands. The festival lasts until the evening. Many take advantage of the culinary coffer to enjoy a delicious lunch at the unique restaurant of Espinavell. For us it´s time to move towards the French border.

French Impressions

The french border is only half an hour to go and we use the afternoon to visit the neighboring country. Enjoying picturesque landscapes and charming little villages with a typical French atmosphere. From Ceret over to Le Boulou the way leads us back near the coast to Collioure. Even in mid-october the small colorful artist-village is still well attended. Since Henri Matisse and his fellow artist André Derain discovered the sleepy fishing village in 1904 it is considered as a „mecca of art“. Red roof tiles. Ornate balcony railings. Blue shutters. Pastel-colored facades. Winding streets. Steep staircases. Ancient fortresses. Different kind of boats in the harbor. All that details form a picturesque backdrop and beautiful holiday memories. So, no wonder that even the kings of Majorca were huge supporters of the village and used the castle – now a museum – as their summer residence.

Castle in Collioure

Former castle of the Majorcan kings

We stroll through the small village center, browse through small boutiques and delicatessens. Enjoying a cappuccino and the view to the harbor before we go back on the road towards Spanish border. Vines now dominate the surrounding landscape.

We are in the middle of Roussillon and drive through the wine-growing region of Banyuls. A wine of Banyuls may remind you of a good port wine, characterized by intense flavors of honey, dried fruits and vanilla.

Unlimited

Further along the coast we are now back in the direction of Spain. No barrier, no fence, no border post market the crossover from France to Spain these days. Once upon a time many refugees killed themselves across the Pyrenees because they had no way out.

Memorial of Walter Benjamin

Memorial of Walter Benjamin in Portbou

We stop near Portbou to take a look at the Walter Benjamin Memorial which is called “passages”. This was designed in 1994 by the Israeli artist Dani Karavan in memory of the philosopher Walter Benjamin. “The Temporary, short duration” describes his escape from the Gestapo in an impressive way and which ended tragically. The quote of Benjamin at the end of the tunnel high above the sea is even more relevant: „It is heavier to honor the memory of the nameless than the famous. The memory of the nameless is therefor dedicated by the historical construction.“

Thoughtfully we continue towards Figueres.  The contrasts of mountains and rugged coastline captivates us. Flora and fauna show themselves in their most beautiful way. Winter seems still far away. But the first migratory birds already landed on the Mediterranean. The last tourists soon leave the beaches. Hibernation is coming.

The many impressions of today will be with us for a long time…

Girona Temps de flors 2015

A city in full bloom

Once a year the city Girona is covered with a blanket of sweet scented flowers. The exhibition Temps de Flors is held in the historic centre of Girona in the lovely springtime when everything is flourishing and turning to green. Flowers are in full bloom and the charming city glows in the sunlight. Many attractive highlights are awaiting the visitors. During the festival in May, the city offers creative flower arrangements, culinary highlights, concerts, opera productions , competitions and theater performances. The festival celebrates 60th anniversary. Like in the years before it is dedicated again to the beauty of flowers.


What started out as a private event has now grown and become a colourful city festival. Floral artworks with a seductive fragrance enthuse the flower loving ones and indulge the senses. It is the unique combination of art, architecture and nature, what makes this festival so special.

Girona-Blumenschau-5

For those who wish to take it a little easier, Girona offers some quiet places apart from the artistic displays. The city is ike a picture of artists, where various flower series meet historical heritage and impressive architecture. The private city palaces and patios are opened for the public during the festival.

Supported by professionals, the residents of Girona partcipate in the decoration of the streets and alleys. Fascinated by the relaxed and familiar atmosphere, locals and vistors celebrate togehter. The restaurants treat the participants with culinary delights such as exotic dishes refined with flowers and blossoms. The openness and hospitality makes the event to a unique, unforgettable experience that attracts more and more visitors year after year. The best moments of 2015 – exclusively for you!

Girona-Blumenschau-16

Girona-Blumenschau-2Girona-Blumenschau-3

Sport, Art, and Countryside in the Catalan Pyrenees

From the Cantabrian Sea to the Mediterranean, the Pyrenees’ mountain chain rises like an immense natural barrier between Spain and the rest of the continent. Its dominions extend along 450 kilometres of peaks reaching 3000 metres high, leafy valleys and picturesque centuries-old towns and villages. A meeting point for a variety of cultures and gateway to the Route to Santiago, the Pyrenees have countless treasures waiting to be discovered in each of the autonomous regions which share them.

Pyrenees-Handstand-Snow
The first snows usually come to Spain in late November/early December. This is when the country’s 34 ski resorts get up and running. Mountain passes and snow-covered valleys, along with facilities which are constantly being refurbished to provide enthusiasts with a whole range of exciting options after a day’s sport. Spain’s ski resorts all offer excellent infrastructure and transport links.
The chance to enjoy other outdoor sports in the countryside, cultural routes, history, art, leisure, unique mountain villages and delicious gastronomy will make a skiing holiday to Spain all the more pleasurable.


The 10 ski resorts in the Pyrenean Mountains in Catalonia offer more than four hundred kilometres of marked ski-runs. Beginners, more advanced skiers and experts all flock to this resort, surrounded by peaks reaching more than 3,000 metres above sea level, and offering a privileged setting which provides the ideal conditions for conserving its high quality snow throughout the season.

Pyrenees-stream-snow

The main resorts are centred around the Arán Valley, Boí Valley, the area around the Aigüestortes i Estani de Sant Maurici Nature Reserve, and the Cerdanya region. These are areas of extraordinary beauty, home to cosy mountain villages with unique traditional architecture and monuments.

Bonjour Perpignan – “The Centre of the World”

Standing in the station concourse of Perpignan in 1963, the man with his twirled mustache knocked onto the floor with his crutch several times, caught up in a hallucinatory inspiration and calling out theatrically: “C’est le centre du monde!“ – This is the centre of the world.

As the master of surrealism Salvador Dalí had already seen great potential of the city and his monumental painting “La Gare de Perpignan“ is considered to be an autobiography of the paintor, we also wanted to form an opinion about this important city in the midst of the French Roussillon.

Perpignan-Merry-go-round

A beautiful coastal highway let us along the picutresque Spanish villages Llança, Colera, and Portbou to Perpignan, located 30 km away from the Spanish border.

Via-Perpignan-Marry-TJ

We arrived at the city, being illusionary immersed into the beauty of the mountains and the vastness of the sea, and located only a few kilometres beyond the Costa Brava. 
Perpignan is a lively, historic city, marvellously situated between the Pyrenees on one side and the sea on the other side, and is tempting with French charme.

Fascinated, we were strolling along the small alleys of the old town. Paved streets were awe-inspiring, bright façades were shining, painted in pastels, and buildings were inspired by the Gothic style. They all reminded of the time when Perpignan had been known for being the capital of the kingdom of Mallorca.

Perpignan-wall-of-building

The completely renewed Castle of the Kings as well as the cathedral Cloître Du Cimetière St. Jean are worth a visit and above the landmark of the city Le Castillet the Catalan flag is fluttering. 
Due to the proximity to Spain and also its history, the city in the north of Catalonia not only proves itself with French architecture and all sorts of local delicacies but also attracts many people every year with ist Catalan fair and lightness to come to Perpignan.

We were making our way along the small boutiques and beautiful places, exploring those mysterious little courtyards with all its cafés and restaurants which offered a perfect place to rest.

Perpignan-Flower-Shop

This day, Perpignan did full justice to its reputation as one of the most sun ripened and hottest cities of France and so we didn’t want to miss the chance to search for cooling in the French department store called Lafayette and to finish the day off with an inspiring shopping tour.

Perpignan-Roses

In how far Dalí’s visionary opinion about “The Centre of the World“, which is written in capital letters onto the central station of Perpignan, can be shared among the people is left to themselves. 
Nevertheless, at this point it might be a good idea to think of the words that a Spanish artist spoke benevolently:

„If there was only one truth, one wouldn’t be able to draw houndreds of paintings about the same topic.“

Pablo Picasso.

The Onion “Calçot” – Tradition and Recipe

The sweet onion or “calçot” is a tender, white, sweet spring onion which, flame grilled, is the basis for a “calçotada”. It is a delight to taste, capable of satisfying the most demanding palates.
Each of the shoots from a fully-developed white onion that has been replanted in the earth is called a calçot.

When the onion has germinated and grown, it is pulled up and, after being kept for a season, it is planted again in such a way that it is onion half buried. As the plant grows, it is necessary to surround it with earth or “put its boots on” (in Catalan, “calçar”, giving it its name).

onion-figure.crowd

The stems must be between 15 and 25cm high of ‘white leg’. These sweet onions, flame grilled, are the main part of the “calçotada”, a typical, traditional culinary feast in Catalonia. The most famous is held in Valls on the last Sunday in January.

Romesco Sauce
1 large roasted red bell pepper from a jar
1 garlic clove, smashed
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 cup tomato purée
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

– Pulse first 8 ingredients in a food processor until very finely chopped. With motor running, slowly add oil; process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Catalan national flag.

A sign of solidarity – Catalonias human chain at the 11th September

It‘s already 1 1/2 months ago that I left Germany and I pubslished my first article in the Costa Live Magazine Blog a few days after my arrival. It was a text about the Paella eating, Sangria drinking Spanish, the prude Germans and other clischees. Prompt received the editorial staff a mail, which pointed out friendly, that it wasn‘t actually Spain where I was, it was Catalonia – and it took the wind out of my sails. Of course did I know, that the country I was traveling to was called Catalonia and I also knew that it wouldn‘t be easy to talk to the people in Spanish. However, I have to admit, that I always thought of Catalonia as a part of Spain and it’s not until now, that I start realizing how complex and important the topic is.

The flag of independence.

On Wednesday, the 11th Sepetmber 2013, the Catalan national holiday will be celebrated –  and this year it‘s going to be something special, because it will not only be a sign of solidarity and love for Catalonia. The people want to send out a signal for the independence of the state. It has been a long fight for this independence, but it has also been a peaceful fight. Therefore, people from all over Catalonia are going to join hands on Wednesday – the human chain is expected to be 400 km long, connecting one border with the other, and consisting of more than a million people. What is it about this event?

Typical Catalan celebration.

The requirement for the Catalan independence is not without reason. After the victory of Franco in the Spanish civil war in 1939, the dictator forbade both the Catalan language and the culture. It was not until 1977, that the country could regain a limited autonomy and a provisional government, in 1980 the first free elections were held. Nevertheless, there are still various financial and political bonds, that connect Catalonia with the Spanish government in Madrid – especially in the times of crises a quite controversial topic. The human chain on Wednesday is about the cultural identity of a nation, which was deprived again and again.

The Catalan flag appears everywhere.

After reading a few articles about the upcoming events, it‘s easier for me to understand why some people rather communicate with hands and feet than using the Spanish language and why the Bavarian coach Pep Guadiola, known for phrases like „If we get up early and work hard, we gonna be an unstopable nation.“, is now celebrated as a hero of Catalonia. There‘s even going to be a little human chain in my hometown Berlin, at 17.00 o‘clock at the Gendarmenmarkt. Altough I dread to take position to such a complex topic, I hereby apologize for all the misunderstandings and bricks, I‘ve droped in so far – this are probably the most significant identity feature of a German person in a foreign counrty.