Catalunya one year on

Exactly one year after my long road trip with TD jr and two cats from Berlin to his family’s new home at Sant Cugat, near Barcelona, Mrs TD and I revisited the new house to which they moved a few months later. It’s in a community called La Floresta, some kms nearer the city, on the other side of the mountain that looms over Catalunya’s capital.

Early in the week we drove into Sant Cugat to the Mercantic antique market. There is found the most amazing bookshop: part of it is in what must once have been a cinema or theatre: the curtains are still there, and some of the seats. Next to the main store is a buzzy bar, also lined with books.

Theatre bookshop Sant Cugat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next day we went to the seaside resort of Sitges, some 30 kms down the coast from Barcelona. Flags were draped everywhere to celebrate the Fiesta Mayor the previous week. Then the town goes crazy, in honour of the town’s patron saint, Bartomeu. Here’s a link to a site with images of the celebrations, including a trailer for a documentary on the week’s festivities

S Bartomeu flag

S Bartomeu’s flag, with that of the town of Sitges (presumably: it was seen on nearly every balcony)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Later this month is the slightly less elaborate fiesta of Saint Tecla:

S Tecla flag

 

 

 

 

A couple of days later we were on the way home when out of the forest and on to the road round the corner from TD jr’s house came a mother wild boar and her family of babies. My snap was taken hurriedly through the car’s rear window, and quality has suffered where I’ve enlarged the image:

Family of wild boar

 

 

 

 

 

 

Near the end of the week we took the local train to the city and on via the R line to Sant Pol, 30 km north. The railway line skirts the coast all the way, with sandy beaches right next to the line:

Line outside Sant Pol station

Line outside Sant Pol station

There are some lovely old buildings in the town; the bougainvillea tumbling down the side of this one was glorious, and the hibiscus put to shame my own puny plant at home, which produced just two blooms this summer for the first time in four years.

Old house Sant Pol

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a week with two small grandchildren we spent our last days in the city having grown-up time. This was the view from our hotel window – the magnificent Gaudi house, Casa Batllo

Casa Batllo

While on the trip I finished reading the last in the Chronicles of Barsetshire by Anthony Trollope – post coming soon. I then started a history of the Spanish Civil War, Hell and Good Company, by Richard Rhodes. It doesn’t just relate the usual sad story of the fascist coup in 1936 that ground on for three terrible years, but focuses on the developments in medicine, technology and the arts at that time.

Share on Facebook and Twitter

16 thoughts on “Catalunya one year on

  1. Hi Simon, what fun!

    Looking forward to checking out the video after work..

    Flags were draped everywhere to celebrate the Fiesta Mayor the previous week. Then the town goes crazy, in honour of the town’s patron saint, Bartomeu. Here’s a link to a site with images of the celebrations, including a trailer for a documentary on the week’s festivities…”

    • Maureen: such a shame we missed the celebrations. If you watch the video it looks like a lot of fun. ‘Dracs’ (dragons) and ‘aligas’ – musicians, dancers, puppets and lots of fireworks – very Catalan.

  2. The Gaudi architecture is beautiful, isn’t it? So intricate and evocative, I could spend hours just looking at the little details. It’s been a while since I last visited Barcelona, but it remains one of my favourite cities in Europe. Lovely photos, Simon. I’m glad you had a good trip.

    • It was an enjoyable trip, Liz. And yes, feel the Barsetshire series was well worth taking on. Not sure whether to start the Pallisers or deviate into The Way We Live Now; read a recent blogpost on it somewhere and liked the sound of it. Not sure when I’ll post on the Last Barset: it’s a whopper…

  3. Hello Simon, welcome back ! It must have been pretty hot down there, judging by the weather we’ve been having in Normandy… It’s still 25° today.
    Love the pictures.
    Have you ever read, or heard of, Jaume Cabré ? I suppose his works would have been given pride of place in that beautiful bookshop ?

    • Thanks, Izzy. Yes, it was warm: around 30 degrees much of the time. I’m afraid I know little about Catalan lit, so don’t know this author; I’m starting to acquire a few others to make up for this omission. The bookshop was amazing; books and a bar attached – what more could one want?!

      • A city on the “bucket list” for sure. My niece spent 8 weeks last summer au pairing there after graduation from college (she couldn’t study abroad during school because she was on the tennis team).

        The films of Pedro Almodovar are primarily set there, and as they are from 1982 all the way up from today are a great time capsule for city life over 25 years.

        • It’s a vibrant city, Maureen. Looks like we’ll be visiting more often now the family are there. I’ve not seen an Almodovar film for a while now – I vaguely recall they’re being Madrid-set – but I’m sure you’re right, it’s so long since I checked. Women on the Verge of a N. Breakdown was terrific

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *