“Catalonia is NOT Spain”

by Julie Gibbons on July 25, 2008

The Catalan Flag

The Catalan Flag

So says the t-shirt of a boy we see in a village. And our conversations with a few people affirm this is so. Sure, the language is different (the Spanish phrasebook is set aside as no good, and we resort to French when out and about) but we are unsure of what else.

Grace is a New Yorker who has lived in Olot for 5 years. Her boyfriend is Catalan, and she has studied the language and the history for most of that time. She observes that there is little sense of patriotism from the people. They are Catalan, not Spanish.

When we meet our wonderful hosts, Sylvia and Chevvy they explain that yes, they are Catalonian. Proudly so – and they love their language. But what good is a language without the control? They have been to visit the Scottish parliament when in Scotland, and explain they are envious that we have an Independent government. They tell us not to worry about the language (we lament the lack of Scots and Gaelic taught in schools) – that it means more to have an independent government. We realise we take so much for granted.

Wish you were here…

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

rob gibbons August 4, 2008 at 5:45 pm

Hey there! I thought everyone knew about the out and proud Catalans! More likely they are one of Europe hidden joys! Mind you in my experience they do speak Spanish – if not as a first language (a bit like the Welsh that way, but without the leeks, the churlishness and the horrible accent). I am all for giving them their independence myself!

Great blog….not sure how you’ll find time to work though, if you keep up this standard throughout!


Paul August 18, 2008 at 2:16 pm

Amazing adventure you guys are having. It’s great that your finally getting to put your ideas into action. In a similar experiment Sandra and my 2 kids (Amy and Sean) are about to start school in Catalunya in September. As a P4 Amy gets to learn Spanish as a second language but wee P1 Sean will be 100% Catalan speaking in school. ALthough Sandra and I speak Spanish that will not be much use. I do envy the Catalan language in terms of its ubiquity and embeddedness here, and the government does have some of its own autonomous powers, but there are a lot of sour grapes to overcome due to the way Catalunya sufferred at the hands of the rest of Spain, especially after the Spanish civil war. Anyway I’ll keep you posted on how we get on.
Best of luck with the next installment of the adventure and I look forward to reading your updates.



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