Dear friends,

after we arrived 10 days ago in Barcelona we noticed how incredibly lucky we have been in with respect to the weather on our bike tour. While we reached Barcelona on Saturday enjoying the lovely weather the entire region suffered from heavy rain and flooding. It would have been a real challenge if we would still have been cycling under those conditions.

But instead we were able to focus on relaxing our tired muscles and take a rest.
It is an interesting experience that after cycling 4 weeks we almost felt bored when in Barcelona. During the bike trip we were busy with planning the stages, looking for accommodation, packing and un-packing the panniers. Then followed hours and hours on the bikes and the daily washing of sweaty cycling clothes – our days were filled and followed a certain rhythm. All of that disappeared reaching the finish line. The learning for future bike trips is that we will not plan to stay at the final destination for that long again

On the other hand we have by now reached a more “normal holiday rhythm” and roam around the city by foot. This weekend we went to visit the “Cavatast” in Sant Sadurni (Penedés) which takes place every year on the first weekend of October (and is very easily to be reached from Barcelona using the R4 train from Plaza Catalonia). Some 50 Cava producers present their cavas (which is a bubbly wine produced like a champagne) and you find all kind of local delicacies typical for the region.

Cava Tast meal 2014

Cava Tast meal 2014

Sant Sarduni de Penedés

Sant Sarduni de Penedés

In general we have the feeling that there are far more tourists in Barcelona than a couple of years ago. Park Guell was so overrun by visitors and streetsellers that we fled from it as soon we found the next exit. That’s been an entirely new experience… New as well was that both Park Guell and Hospital Sant Pau are asking entrance fees now.

Hospital San Pau, Barcelona

Hospital San Pau, Barcelona

One of the things that can be seen all over Barcelona and Catalonia these days are posters and flags which demand the independence vote on November 9th. It keeps surprising me how different press announcements and reports on the topic are by Catalan or Spanish press. The polemic and almost disgust in the news from Madrid are impressive and from my perspective not helping to find a solution or bridge the gaps. For me being allowed to give an opinion is a basic right in a democratic state – and that is what is behind the vote that people ask. It is getting people’s opinion on the topic of a Catalan independence from Spain – which as well those Catalans want who are against indepedence. What will happen as a result out of the vote is still completely unclear. Yet the vote as such has been forbidden by the central government, the language used is rather provoking. It will be a tense time coming up and I hope that there will not be further escalation…

"It is normal to vote"  Catalans advertising for independence vote on 9th November 2014

“It is normal to vote”
Catalans advertising for independence vote on 9th November 2014

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