All posts tagged: Catalonia

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.