Saturday, 30 May 2009

Penedès News in English

Local news from Vilanova i la Geltrú, Sitges and the rest of the Gran Penedès.

Gran Penedès

The farmers' union Unió de Pagesos warns that, this year, there will be a poor wine harvest in the Denominació d’Origen (D.O.) Penedès but that, in spite of this, there will be a surplus of grapes since the wineries experience drops in demand.

The parliament of Catalonia has approved a proposition by Joan Raventós (CiU) that the xarel·lo – a kind of grape with its origins in the Penedès and Alella – gets a special focus in future strategic plans for the D.O. Penedès.


Josep Lluís Giménez Sevilla, the general director of Aucat (the Abertis group) admits that the discounts available to daily commuters on the highway C-32 (connecting Garraf to Barcelona) are not enough promoted. Those who have the payment device Via-T and, between Monday and Friday, pass the Vallcarca toll station eight times or more, receive close to a 50% price reduction.

At a ceremony in Sitges, the Diputació de Barcelona selected Ràdio Cubelles (Cubelles) and its program Barreja’t amb mi as the best radio show in towns with less than 15.000 inhabitants and Canal Blau (Vilanova) and its Leit Nait Shou the best TV program in towns with more than 50.000 people. Jordi Baijet (PSC), mayor of Sitges, took the opportunity to pay homage to 88 year old Josep Soler who for more than 50 years has headed up the local newspaper Eco de Sitges (Sitges).

The many road works in the centre of Vilanova i la Geltrú will continue throughout the peak tourism season since they need to be finalized before December 31, 2009. If not, the Spanish government will have the right to retain 30% of the funds committed as of Zapatero’s Plan E, the purpose of which is to boost employment.

The labour department of the Generalitat of Catalonia has not accepted the filing for a work force reduction (ERO - expedient de regulació d’ocupacio) by Prysmian of Vilanova. Allegedly, the plans presented by the company do not justify laying of 22 workers too young for early retirement.

A public auditory for up to 400 people will be built at the plaça de la Moixiganga of Vilanova, in connection with the Music Conservatory Mestre Montserrat. The works will start this autumn and are to be completed early 2011.

Near the Camping Vilanova Platja, the company Diver Sabio wants to construct what they call an educational amusement park for children from five to twelve years old. The ajuntament has requested a financial viability study of the project.

Environmentally and quality minded people might want to try La Salseta (C/ Sant Pau) in Sitges. This restaurant, by brothers Valentí and Toni Mongay, is being operated according to the rules of Quilomètre Zero de Slow Food a Espanya, which determines that a high degree of the ingredients must come from local farms or, at least, be classified as ecologic produce.

After eight months of remodelation works, the beach Sant Sebastià, Sitges, will re-open on June 20. The parking lots have been replaced by a wide pedestrian area and all restaurants will have brown parasols and awnings in order to create a unified image in line with the landscape.

Alt Penedès

The new local government of Vilafranca del Penedès under Pere Regull (CiU), warns that its first municipal budget, to be presented June 16, will be austere. It will not take into account revenue from municipal land yet to be sold, something it accuses the former PSC government to have done for the last five years.

The Diputació of Barcelona has approved investments of € 1.100.000 in Gelida, with the objective to improve road access to the residential areas Martivell and el Puig i la Valenciana.

The ajuntament of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia has started a campaign to remind dog owners of their responsibilities to keep their pets leashed and that not collecting their excrements can result in fines up to € 500. May all Catalan towns immediately do the same.

Although there are 1.050 FC Barcelona fan clubs in the world, so far Vilafranca has not had any. Already before have the culers of the town gathered at Cal Figarot, the premises of the Castellers de Vilafranca to enjoy Barça games together, but since May 20, the Penya Barcelonista Castellers de Vilafranca is an officially recognised fan club and open to anyone interested.

Baix Penedès

In June, the construction works of a public Primary Care Centre (CAPCentre d’Atenció primaria) will start in the area la Plana of Cunit.

The ajuntament of el Vendrell and local companies have set up the network Xarxa Emprenedora in order to foster the creation of more businesses and facilitate points of contact for new entrepreneurs.

L’Arboç will be the first town in the whole of Spain to offer public wifi-coverage throughout the municipality.

Being a Swede, I am proud to recognise the yellow battery from IKEA in the Festa Major poster of el Vendrell 2009. The designer Francesc Trillo’s message is for people to participate in this festivity to the point of “wearing it out” (“esgota la”).


In Igualada there seem to be a complete disagreement among local politicians about to which future vegueria the current capital of Anoia is to belong. The latest official plan puts it in the vegueria Catalunya Central, but about a year ago a local majority signed it up to the project of a separate vegueria Penedès. This week, however, PSC and ICV decided to benefit from the absence of one ERC candidate and vote through that the town ought to belong to the vegueria de Barcelona. On the other hand, CiU of Igualada has decided to bet on two horses at the same time: the party line is to support the vegueria Penedès but at the same time they demand for the vegueria Central to locate more of its public offices (delegacions) in Igualada.

A development centre for children with special needs and up to six years old has been opened by the ajuntament of Masquefa in co-operation with the NGO Apinas (Associació de pares igualadins de nens i adolescents subdotats).

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Penedès News in English is a personal compilation of facts from the digital news services Vilanova Digital, Sitgesblog, Penedès Digital, the pdf-version of l’Extra plus the print versions of the Diari de Vilanova and 7 Dies. All opinions expressed are my own.

Earlier editions can be found under the label Penedès News.

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Technorati tags: Barcelona, Barça, Catalonia, CiU, Cunit, Festa Major, Garraf, Igualada, Penedès, PSC, Sant Sadurní, Sitges, Spain, el Vendrell, Vilafranca, Vilanova

Thursday, 28 May 2009

How Vilanova Celebrated that Barça Won the Champions’ League of 2009

The year of 2009 already forms part of Catalan football history – it was the year when FC Barcelona under coach Josep (Pep) Guardiola managed to win all three titles at stake; the Spanish King’s Cup, the Spanish premier league (Copa del Rei and la Lliga, respectively, in Catalan) and the Champions’ League. Tonight we are all singing “Copa, Lliga i Champions” to the melody of “We will rock you” but the celebrations will continue for a long time. Because Vilanova i la Geltrú - like the rest of Catalonia – needs this as a break in order to forget about rising unemployment figures and what feels like a never-ending financial crisis.

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Find here the links to my entries on the earlier 2009 celebrations outside la Penya Barcelonista of Vilanova: la Copa del Rei and la Lliga.

Those of us who live in Catalonia, during the coming days we will hear the new Barça songs played on the radio time after time. Find here translations of the lyrics to Boig per tu and Porto el Barça.

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Related Media: LaVanguardia (SPA), Avui (CAT) and Dagens Nyheter (SWE).

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Technorati tags: Barça, Catalonia, Penedès, Vilanova

How Vilanova Watched Barça Win the Champions’ League of 2009

Since I am more of a Barça spirit fan than a football fan, I decided to try to capture how Vilanova lived the Champions’ League final 2009, between FC Barcelona and Manchester United. Little did I know what a great celebration it would be in the end. Here is what I saw.

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Technorati tags: Barça, Catalonia, Penedès, Vilanova

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Penedès News in English

Local news from Vilanova i la Geltrú, Sitges and the rest of the Gran Penedès.

Gran Penedès

The Institut d’Estudis Pendesencs has celebrated its Festa de la Cultura with official acknowledgements to individuals and organizations for contributing to local culture. This year prizes were given to the Plataforma de la Vegueria Pròpia (cultural promotion), the Sitges Folk Dance association (track record and commitment), the historian Joan Santacana (research) and paint artist María Assumpció Raventós (arts).

On May 18, restaurant owner Oriol Llavina was elected the new embassador of the Xató route (la Ruta del Xató). During the 2009 season (now over) 13.900 portions of this fish sallad have been served at seven xatonades populars and to promote the tradition – shared by the comarques of the Penedès - to tourists, a new web-page has been created.

Enoturisme Penedès, a consortium which puts together theme programs for those who want to explore the Denominació d’Origen Penedès, will start to collect data on how important wine related tourism is to this area.

The radio program “Toc d’Hoquei” by Sergi Sabaté and Marc Pijuan, and with the collaboration of Guillem Carol, has been awarded the innovation prize by 'Radio Associació'. This program on the Catalan dominated sport roller hockey started in the Penedès area but nowadays collaborates with and is being broadcast by 15 radio stations throughout Catalonia and Valencia.


From June 1, the authorities will start to fine those who exceed the variable speed limits on the highways C-31 and C-32, the two roads connecting Garraf with Barcelona. The objective of the variable speed limits is to reduce pollution by evening out the traffic flow.

After 14 months, the road works on C-31 (la carretera de les Costes de Garraf, between Sitges and Castelldefels) have been completed. This curvy road is now safer and has been equipped with several rest points, some of them at scenic locations. However, since you are not any longer allowed to overtake, daily commuters complain that they need more time to reach work in the metropolitan area.

Sant Camil in Ribes, the main hospital of the comarca Garraf, sees a sharp increase of people in its emergency unit due to a growing and ageing population. The average waiting time before a patients sees a doctor is now 45 minutes. To avoid a collapse, from July 1, 15 beds until now reserved for long-term stays will be taken over by the emergency service.

Vilanoví actor Sergi López competed in the International Film Festival of Cannes this year. He plays a wine shop owner in the thriller Mapa dels sons de Tòquio by the Catalan director Isabel Coixet.

Vilanoví Enric Duran has achieved a € 50.000 bail and will be able to leave prison while awaiting his trial. Last year this young man gained international fame for having managed to fake guarantees and take loans of in total € 492.000 in 39 banks and then give all the money to charity.

The renovation works of the façade of the Victor Balaguer Museum in Vilanova will start in July and are planned to be finished in November.

The Festa Major committee (pabordes) of Vilanova has presented its official web-page, designed by Joan Ignasi Gómez.

Actor and director Jordi Picó will be the artistic director of the Teatre Principal of Vilanova, when it re-opens the coming autumn.

The Mossos d’Esquadra have caught a 31 year old foreign citizen in the act during a break-in into a villa. He is suspected to have committed another six burglaries in Sant Pere de Ribes and Olivella during the last three months, since they all follow the same modus operandi.

Recently, there have been many protests against the effects the mobile phone antennas in Roquetes might have on public health and the ajuntament of Ribes has therefore decided to make a plan for their re-location.

The ajuntament of Sitges reassures all citizens that there are not any health risks related to the new crematorium, to be completed in July, and underlines that it is modern installation which meets all environmental standards.

Sitgetana journalist Isabel Gemio has received the Doctor Benaprès prize for the work her foundation does in medical research of muscular dystrophy and other uncommon diseases.

The number of families which receive charity packages from Caritas in Sitges has doubled to 120 in the last few months and its food bank is now below minimum levels. Support from more well-off inhabitants is highly welcome.

Alt Penedès

Through the public company GISA, the Generalitat has opened the tender process for the construction of a new fire station in Vilafranca del Penedès. When the move can take place, the current building will be transformed into Vilafranca’s second public library and a community centre (centre civic).

The Falcons of Vilafranca celebrate their 50th anniversary this year and during the Fires de Maig they organised a well visited ‘Falconcert’, where the traditional falcon music played on gralla was mixed with other instruments and modern arrangements.

Casa Torner Güell has opened as the first five-star hotel of Vilafranca. It has 17 rooms, all uniquely decorated, and belongs to the chain Mercer Hotels. As a tribute to the region, it will only hold produce from the D.O. Penedès in its wine cellar.

Baix Penedès

The ajuntament of Calafell has obtained the € 3 million credit needed in 2009 to renovate the historical town centre and to support the construction of the 2nd phase of the local business park (parc empresarial).

With 300 participants already signed up, la Bisbal has had to cancel a major paint ball fight. There has been a huge political opposition to closing off the town centre and faking a coup d’etat on June 7 since that would coincide with the elections to the European Parliament.

L’Arboç is governed by a nacionalista coalition and on June 13 – as of plan - the title as mayor will be passed over from Joan Plana (CiU) to Carles Ribé (ERC).


The musical puppet theatre ‘En Joan Sense Por’ by the group Egos Petits received the prize as the best performance of La Mostra 2009, Igualada, according to votes of the audience.

To make the hospital of Igualada a calmer place, visit hours will be limited to 13:00-21:00 and there will be a restriction on the number of visitors allowed per room.

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Penedès News in English is a personal compilation of facts from the digital news services Vilanova Digital and Penedès Digital, the pdf-version of l’Extra plus the print versions of the Diari de Vilanova and 7 Dies. All opinions expressed are my own.

Earlier editions can be found under the label Penedès News.

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Technorati tags: Barcelona, Calafell, Catalonia, Festa Major, Garraf, Igualada, Penedès, Sitges,Vilafranca, Vilanova

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Castellers Promoting the Vegueria Penedès

The Castellers de Vilafranca are the best in Catalonia but they are only one of many well established colles here in the Penedès region. Today five of them met in the Plaça de la Vila of Vilafranca del Penedès. Like with many neighbours, these colles do not always have the best feelings for each other, but this time they decided to come together and show their support for the campaign vegueria pròpia.

I cannot claim to have seen anything extraordinary today (but I, admittedly missed the last human tower by the Castellers de Vilafranca). Having said that, last year I took the family to Vilafranca to see castells on the Diada de Sant Fèlix, when the Plaça de la Vila - la més castellera - was so crowded that we gave up trying to enter with our push chair, so this time we truly enjoyed the calmer atmosphere.

In this entry you will find photos of the Xicots de Vilafranca, the Minyons de l'Arboç and the Jove de Sitges, followed by video clips of the Castellers de Vilafranca, the Bordegassos deVilanova, the Xicots de Vilafranca and the Jove de Sitges.

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Technorati tags: Catalonia, Penedès, Sitges, Vilafranca, Vilanova

Vilanova Celebrates that Barça has Won the Spanish Premier League 2008-09

Tonight Villarreal beat Real Madrid with 3-2, and F.C. Barcelona is thereby mathematically the winner of the Spanish lliga of 2009.

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Technorati tags: Barça, Catalonia, Vilanova

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Penedès News in English

Local news from Vilanova i la Geltrú, Sitges and the rest of the Gran Penedès.


This week we have been able to see 65 meter yacht in Vilanova i la Geltrú. With a 2,3 million investment, Michael Evans - a British national but resident of Monaco, is one of the first customers of the Vilanova Grand Marina. This marina is especially designed for super and mega yachts (25 – 80 m) and in ten months it will have a dry dock (varador) which makes it unique in the Western part of the Mediterranean.

The music school Mestre Montserrat of Vilanova i la Geltrú is from now officially recognised as an conservatory of professional musicians.

The ajuntament of Sitges has decided to convert the building Can Milà (passeig de Vilafranca) into a visitors' centre.

The Tourism Promotion Agency of Sitges has signed an agreement with local the local hotelier associations Gremi d’Hosteleria and Hotels de Sempre. The aim is to create synergies in selling the town and a first visible result is a link from the ajuntament's tourism web-page to a hotel reservation site.

Traffic will still be allowed at the passeig de la Ribera of Sitges, but from this summer the all parking lots will disappear in order to make the area more attractive.

The Guardia Civil has made a raid in a number of establishments in Sitges and confiscated 102 pots of poppers – a sexually arousing drug, popular among some homosexuals.

A new telecommunications tower will be built in Canyelles and remedy the deficient quality of digital communication in the town. The construction forms part of the plan Catalunya Connecta, according to which all municipalities with more than 50 inhabitants are to have access to TDT, mobile phone networks and broad band Internet before the end of 2010.

Alt Penedès

During a vistit in Vilafranca del Penedès, Marina Geli, Consellera de Salut, promised that to build a second public primary care centre (CAP) here is a priority project for the Generalitat and that the construction work will start in 2010, at the latest.

The Festa Major of Vilafrancala més típica (the most typical one) – has inaugurated its new web-page and presented the official T-shirts for 2009. These will start be sold already at the Fires de Maig.

Baix Penedès

The ajuntament of Cunit and the Agència Catalana d’Aigües have signed the agreements to start the development of the Foix desalination plant. This infrastructure will, when needed, serve the comarques of Barcelona and Tarragona with drinking water and will have an initial capacity of 20hm3 per year.


During last weekend, May 9-10, the trade fair (certamen) Aerosport’09 took place at the airport of Igualada-Odena. In spite of the crisis, with 200 light aircrafts and 2.200 visitors it beat the records of last year. The fair provides an opportunity for professionals as well as amateurs to test fly planes since all manufacturers are present. That is so unique that the event this time managed to attract buyers and sellers from all autonomous communities of Spain plus from France, Italy and Portugal.

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Warm thanks to l’Extra for the article about my “condom shop”, published in the edition of the 6th of May.

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Penedès News in English is a personal compilation of facts from the digital news services Vilanova Digital and Penedès Digital, the pdf-version of l’Extra plus the print version of the Diari de Vilanova. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Technorati tags: Catalonia, Cunit, Festa Major, Garraf, Igualada, Penedès, Sitges, Spain, Vilafranca, Vilanova

The 'Wirdheim in Vilanova' Event Calendar - June 2009

Here is my presentation of June events where I will go or at least could think of going in Vilanova i la Geltrú (Garraf) and the rest of the Penedès area in Catalonia. If you have a specific interest in a certain date, please, send me a question in a comment or, at least, come back to this entry. It will be up-dated whenever I learn about new things and, to be honest, information about what will happen here tends to come late.

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June, 6: Roquetes (Garraf): "1a trobada bastonera de l'Anoia-Penedès-Garraf": Several teams will perform a typically Catalan and highly energetic 'stick dance', 17:00-21:00.

June, 6; Sitges (Garraf): La increible, original i autèntica història del cinema... o no?” - Dance show by Flow Center.

June, 6; Sitges: A rock concert by Macaco (Barcelona; many of your will have heard 'Moving' from the album 'Puerto Presente') and Calima (Sitges) at the Esplenada de l'Atlantida.

June, 6-7; Vilanova i la Geltrú (Garraf): Days of Open Doors at the Marina (Estació Nàutica).

June, 7; the European Union: Elections to the European Parliament. EU citizens who are residents of another EU country have earlier this year had the possibility to choose in which of the two countries they want to vote. I will vote here in Vilanova.

June, 12; El Vendrell (Baix Penedès): Blogger meeting: 2es Jornades de la Penedesfèra. 17:00; Opening Ceremony with, among others, Ernest Benach (Speaker of the Parliament of Catalonia) and Benet Jané (mayor of el Vendrell). 18:00; ‘How the New Communication Tools Transform Today’s Politics’. 19:30; ‘To Be Present on the Internet You First Have to Get There’ – on the difficulties along the way to Internet access for all citizens.

June, 13; El Vendrell: Blogger meeting: 2es Jornades de la Penedesfèra. 10:00; ‘The Present and Future of Media'. 12:00; ‘The Internet Against the Crisis’ – on Internet marketing and business opportunities. 13:30; A Penedès inspired lunch. 15:00; A Workshop on Video Blogging and Other Web 2.0 Tools. 17:00; ‘MySpace and Other Tools to Spread Music' – with the presence of the local bands Lax’n’Busto and Buhos. 18:30; ‘Cava and Twitts’ – on the Challenges of Web 2.0 Marketing in the Cava Industry. 20:30; Closing Ceremony with a small concert by the music bands present.

June, 14; Sitges: The flower decoration exhibition on the day of Corpus Christi. Find my blog entry in English from 2008 here and here, in Catalan, what writes about this event.

June, 14; Vilafranca del Penedès (Alt Penedès): Castellers (Human Towers) performance by the Xicots de Vilafranca, Sagals d'Osona and Castellers de Sant Cugat; 12.00 at the Plaça Milà i Fontanals.

June, 19-30; Vilanova i la Geltrú: Setmana del Mar (the Week of the Sea) - Festes de Sant Pere. A festival of activities related to the sea, the port and fishermen's life. For example: the cooking competition Concurs d'all Cremat (June 20, on the beach).

June, 19; Sweden and among Swedish expats around the world: Traditional midsummer celebrations

June, 23; Catalonia: La Revetlla de Sant Joan

June, 24; Catalonia: Public holiday. El dia de Sant Joan.

June, 26-28; Vilanova i la Geltrú: Attic’09 – The Ideas and Inventions Fair of Vilanova. Find here my entry on the 2008 edition.

June, 27-29; Sant Pere de Ribes (Garraf): Festa Major de Sant Pere a Ribes. On June 27 at 18:30, the Castellers of Vilafranca and the Jove de Sitges will build human towers.

June, 28-29; Calafells (Baix Penedès): Festa Major de Sant Pere a Calafell

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General information:

For the ideas behind this event calender, see the first entry here.

Wirdheim in Vilanova will to the greatest extent possible refer to official pages (usually in Catalan) for information on the time and location of all events and can unfortunately not guarantee to present the latest up-dates or changes of program.

For castellers (human tower) performances outside the Penedès area, please, refer to the tag Agenda Castellera at the Coordinadora de les Colles Castelleres de Catalunya, or the Calendari at

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Technorati tags: Catalonia, Garraf, Penedès, Penedesfera, Vilanova

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Vilanova Celebrates Barça and la Copa del Rei

"Guanyeu per nosaltres" says one of the banners on the local branch of the F.C. Barcelona fan club (penya barcelonista) in Vilanova i la Geltrú. And so Barça did tonight, with 1-4 over Athletic de Bilbao. Guardiola's team has won their first title this season. It is well after 1:30 a.m. and still there is a constant noise over this town from people driving around honking the horns of their cars.

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Just in case: Rei is the Catalan word for 'king'. In Spanish it is spelled rey.

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Related Media: LaVanguardia 1, Avui 1

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Technorati tags: Barça, Catalonia, Vilanova

Catalan Singers Celebrate With a New Barça Song

We who live in Catalonia have been able to hear the new song Porto el Barça dins el meu cor (I carry Barça in my heart), but only today have I been able to find a written article about it.

In short, it is Bardagí, former singer of the group Glaucs who has taken this initiative to express his feelings for his football club and invited other Catalan artists to join him. Among these barcelonistes we find Beth, Marc Ros (Sidonie), Josep Thió (Sopa de Cabra), Joan Masdeu (Whiskyn's), Miquel Abras, Xavi Ciurans (Gertrudis), Titot (Brams) o Txell Sust. Except for them, the Penya Barcelonista (the Barcelona fan club) of Almogàvers has taken part in the creation of this new song.

At you can hear the song with better quality and here below is a draft translation. It will be improved as soon as I learn the whole song. As far as I can see, until now the text in Catalan has not been published.

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Up-date: Tonight I love the Internet. An anonymous Catalan living in the US has taken the time to help me complete the lyrics of this song and I am so grateful. To be right to him (or her), I should point out that he is not sure about the first phrase, so I will keep a question mark there.

This is what they sing (well, at least most likely):

Des de cent anys d’història (?)
Més que un sentiment
El blaugrana està dins meu, sempre present
Són molts anys d’eufòria
Anys de patiments
De victòries, de batecs, de bons moments

I és que som molt més que un club
I és aquest el nostre orgull

Jo porto el Barça
Jo porto el Barça
Jo porto el Barça
Dins el meu cor

Vine al nostre estadi
Celebra el moment
D’estar junts, d'unir un país, d'unir una gent
De fer-nos prevaldre
de dir que el present ‘és nostre’
Que així és com juguem
Que junts podem

Perquè som molt més que un club
És aquest el nostre orgull

Jo porto el Barça...

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And this is how I translate it into English:

With a hundred years of history
More that a feeling
The ‘Blaugrana’ (Blue-Garnet) are always present, inside me
These are many years of euphoria
years of suffering
Of victories, of being beaten, of good moments

And, the thing is, we are much more than a club
And that is our pride

I carry Barça
I carry Barça
I carry Barça
Inside my heart

Come to our stadium
Celebrate the moment
To be together, to unite one country, to unite one people
To make ourselves prevail
to say that the present “is ours”
That is how we play
That is, together we can

Because, the thing is, we are much more than a club
And that is our pride

I carry Barça…

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Catalans i Catalanes,

Com és possible que encara no puc trobar el texte d’aquesta canció? Penso haver buscat de totes maneres possibles. No us rigueu del meu intent, si us plau, sinó feu un comentari o envieu-me un enllaç i ajudeu-me a trobar les paraules correctes. Sóc un de molts ‘nous catalans’ que volem celebarar les victòries i cantar junts amb vosaltres.

Per cert, no és cap traïció contra el meu país. Sóc de Suècia i els nostres equips – per sort – no coïncideixen amb el Barça.

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Actualització: No patiu. Un català que viu als Estats Units ja m'ha ajudat. Mentres vosaltres esteu celebrant al carrers, m'imagino que ell (o ella) ha volgut trobar una manera per viure aquests moments bonics, encara que sigui lluny d'aquí. Penso que és per això que ha buscat el texte a aquesta nova canció barcelonista i, a més, penso entendre'l perfectament - jo també visc fora del meu país.

Monday, 11 May 2009

What All Catalans Should Know About Swedes

Last week, the business school EADA and the Hispano-Swedish Chamber of Commerce of Barcelona arranged a panel discussion on negotiations between Catalonia and Sweden. Sadly enough, there were more Swedes than Catalans in the audience while – and I think that we can all agree on this - the presentations were more of introductions into the Swedish business culture for a Catalan audience, rather than two-way comparisons. So, while I can not claim to have deepened my understanding of Catalonia, I at least learnt what people from here think about my native country.

Ernesto Dominguez, the president of CCHS of Barcelona, summed up his experience of Swedish companies as democratic organizations with a great respect for the personnel’s values and private lives and where results always matter more than procedures. Both he and the moderator Sergio M Gil were especially amused with the typically Swedish meetings which can last forever, without any opinions being confronted openly. Outsiders might feel that nothing happens, but this is how consensus is being reached and such meetings tend to make the Swedish work team members very satisfied.

Being a native Swede, Victor Bokegård, from H&M España, could allow himself to add a more critical spin to the Swedish character. He gave funny examples of our deep insecurity – the fact that we can not buy things without saying 'thanks' several times, that we love to start business presentations by asking the audience to forgive us for all our shortcomings and that we can not give people presents without adding the comment “I am sure that you will not like it” or “Well, you can always change it for something else”. Why did I feel that he was talking about me?

My personal conclusion of this meeting is something which I have discovered many times before: that I am extremely fortunate to come from a country for which most people on earth have such a high regard.
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Llàstima que no es va parlar més de la cultura catalana en aquesta conferència. Una cosa que de veritat m’interessa molt quan estic fent negocis per aquí, és el rol que juguen els contactes. La recomanació dels meus amics catalans és unànima – que sempre és millor entrar en un client potencial mitjançant una persona que ja coneixes. No obstant això, tinc la sensació que aquesta manera de treballar pertany a la historia i que les empreses catalanes d’avui – com també les espanyoles, en general - estan obertes a rebre noves propostes de gent que ve a “porta freda”.

Tot i que tinc un número de bons socis de negocis gràcies precisament a contactes, també tinc molta experiència del contrari. Per exemple, hi ha empreses on el meu contacte està poc relacionat amb les decisions, però on – per respecte a aquesta persona - he de seguir comunicant segons vam començar, en comptes de dirigir-me directament al director de compres. També m’ha passat que he venut genere a clients nous que em semblen interessats i que després he entés que s’han vist obligats de comprar per la relació que tenim. Això teoricament no importa si tens un producte que es ven a un alt preu i poques vegades però l’ important amb el meu producte és el contrari: que el client torna a comprar. Desplaçar-se per fer una presentació a un farmaceutic que fa una sola comanda de preservatius i no més és de perdre el temps, no?

Espero que un dia l’entegui tot. Encara no és així.

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Technorati tags: Barcelona, Catalonia,

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Penélope y Aquiles – Quality Circus at La Vela

Penélope and Aquiles combine their skills as acrobats and sophisticated clowns with choreograhpy and a bit of theatre and accomplish shows which fascinate adults as well as children. Their latest performance is called “El primer año difícil, los demás imposibles” and is set around the interaction between love and conflict which we easily recognise in any kind of long term partnership and, above all, in married life.

In case you did not see them at La Vela this weekend, I warmly recommend you to look for these talented artists during this year’s Trapezi festival of Vilanova (May 29-31).

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Technorati tags: Catalonia, Circus, Vilanova

Penedès News in English

Local news from Vilanova i la Geltrú, Garraf and the rest of the Gran Penedès.


Local TV stations Canal Blau and Maricel have finally started to broadcast digitally (TDT).

The unemployment situation in Vilanova i la Geltrú continues to worsen. Megarubber, which laid of 51 people as late as in February, wants to terminate the contracts with another 130 workers. At Prysmian, the trade unions have accepted the offer for 25 senior workers to retire early, but not for 22 younger ones to be sacked.

A huge need for taking care of abandoned dogs and cats is a sad reality of modern Catalonia. This week the tripartit ruling Vilanova i la Geltrú decided to maintain its decision to close the local kennels (gossera) and not re-investigate, as requested by CiU. To outsiders this might seem to be a small issue, but angry posters and a list of 10.000 signatures (in a town of 65.000) are proofs of the heated emotions. For Vilanova to co-operate in the kennels of the other Penedès towns (located in Vilafranca) makes sense financially, but the voluntary workers who have played a vital role in the local one, feel left behind. Their involvement is not welcome in the professionally operated joint kennels, which, suspiciously enough, are just about to invest in a crematory.

The Vilanova Grand Marina has not yet officially opened, but this week up to 15 luxury yachts might anchor here. The names of their affluent owners will not be revealed but they come here for the Grand Prize of Formula 1 at the Circuit de Catalunya of Montmeló, where the marina offers to fly them by helicopter.

Among towns with more than 25.000 inhabitants, the budget deficit of Sitges ranks as the fifth biggest of the whole of Spain. This is partly due to a debated imbalance in the allocation of resources – Sitges receives funds based on the number of inhabitants and without considerations to the big number of tourists who also demands services carried out by the ajuntament. At the same time, Sitges has spent money on high profile cultural events, the most expensive of which was an exhibition in New York in honour of Martin Luther King. Local Mayor Jordi Baijet (PSC) confronts the situation with a plan for municipal action (PAM, Pla d’Actuació Municipal), presented this week, and a long-term plan for financial stability (Pla d’Estabilitat Econòmica) to come. Except for that he reminds the sitgetans that in 1840, when the town also had a big deficit in the local budget, the beach walk was built in an unpaid joint effort by all local inhabitants. Now, in 2009, I can not help wondering what the many expat citizens of Sitges would be prepared to do to build their town.

Sitges builds the brand of the town as actively as ever. Together with Cadaques, Puigcerdà and Vielha-Mijaran it recently started to promote itself as one of the Viles amb personalitat (towns with personality). At the same time, a poll carried out in the gay and lesbian by Community Marketing, reassured that the town maintains its position as the second most “gay-friendly” town of Catalonia, beaten only by the Gaixample area of Barcelona and followed by Lloret de Mar and Figueres.

Alt Penedès

This week, the new CiU mayor of Vilafranca del Penedès, Pere Regull, has appointed his deputies as well as the other members of his local government. Already after the municipal elections of 2007, when PSC and CiU won 8 town councillor seats each, was it clear that the socialists - who had ruled this town throughout the 30 years since the end of the Franco dictatorship - would not have an easy term of office. Still, even Catalan national media commented on the event when, on April 20, the two councillors of CUP and the one of ERC decided to support a CiU vote of no confidence against former PSC mayor Francisco Romero. In these times of crisis, Pere Regull has decided to bring down the number of full-time employed town councillors from five to two. Other locally big issues – like to reduce the vibrations of the AVE train when it passes by the town – will be harder to solve.

Baix Penedès

Calafell aspires to be Europe’s leading open-air museum with its reproduction of a 2.500 years old Iberian fortress (ciutadella ibèrica). The objective is to make archaeology available and attractive to the public without comprising scientific credibility.


Igualada-Odena is the only airport which has applied to become the hub of corporate flying and aerotaxis, as of a plans made by the Generalitat of Catalonia. It seems that some of the other possible towns to host this infrastructure have pulled out because their runways do not meet the 2.000 meters of the specifications. Neither does the one of Igualada (1.200 meters), but there is a great unanimity among the population - a very important factor. In spite of its excellent motorway connection with the metropolitan area, Anoia is the Catalan comarca which has the highest unemployment rates.
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Penedès News in English is a personal compilation of facts from the digital news services Vilanova Digital and Penedès Digital, the pdf-version of l’Extra plus the print version of the Diari de Vilanova. All opinions expressed are my own.
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Technorati tags: Catalonia, Garraf, Penedès, Sitges, Vilanova

Saturday, 2 May 2009

The 'Wirdheim in Vilanova' Event Calendar - May 2009

Up-date: The Champions League final will be showed on big outdoor screens in many places, eg. in Vilanova, Vilafranca and el Vendrell (see May 27 here below).

For those of you who are in Barcelona, I would recommend the giant screen at Maremàgnum. True culés (except for those who are already t in Rome) will watch the game in Barça's Miniestadi, but tickets there have already been sold out.

Information (in Spanish) on where to find big screens in the rest of Catalonia can be found in LaVanguardia.

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During our first years in Catalonia I considered it more or less impossible to find out about when different activities - say a castellers performance – would take place. Although the ajuntaments of most towns have quite good web pages, their activity calendars often leave out events which I would expect to find there and still today does it happen that I learn about interesting things only after they have happened.

To help expats as well as temporary visitors interested in Catalan popular culture, to encourage locals to send me recommendations and, above all, to organise myself, from now on, I will present a monthly entry on events to come. Taking my starting point in Vilanova i la Geltrú, where I live, the intention is to cover also the rest of the Penedès area. I will allow myself to be totally subjective and limit the information to activities where I, at least theoretically, would consider going.

Here is a summary of what I see as important dates, from a cultural point of view, for the month of May 2009:

May 9, Vilanova i la Geltrú (Garraf): A circus performance called El primer año es difícil... los demás, imposibles. Find here more about Penélope and Aquiles and La Vela, respectively.

May 10, El Vendrell (Baix Penedès): Castellers performance by the Nens del Vendrell and the Bordegassos de Vilanova. Plaça Vella at 13.00.

May 10, Barcelona and Madrid: At 19:00 FC Barcelona meets Villarreal at Camp Nou. The three points of a victory can mathematically make them the winners of the Spanish Lliga of 2008-09, in case Real Madrid does not win over Valencia. At 21.00 Espanyol meets Atlético Madrid at the Vicente Calderon stadion. The three points of a victory would secure their position in the premier Lliga for the next season. (Just in case: lliga is Catalan for liga in Spanish)

May 13, Valencia: FC Barcelona and Athletic Club de Bilbao plays the final of the Copa del Rei.

May 15, Calafell (Baix Penedès): Festa de la Cultura Penedès and Reconneixements culturals collita 2009. A celebration of the Penedès culture and those who - according to the Institut d'Estudis Penedesencs - do the most to build and spread it.

May 15-17, Vilafranca (Alt Penedès): Les Fires i Festes de Maig - o dels enamorats – a multisectoral (wine, cava, food, cars and agricultural machinery) May trade fair with a history dating back to the 12th century.

May 16-17: The International Museum Day: A Day of Open Doors at the Victor Balaguer museum of Vilanova (Saturday, Sunday and Monday) and Vinseum in Vilafranca (Saturday and Sunday).

May 16: The Eurovision Song Contest. I have to list this – firstly, because I come from Eurovision crazy Sweden and secondly because it is one of the few annual activities which manages to create pan-European experience, like it or not.

May 17, Vilafranca (Alt Penedès): Colles Castelleres de la Veguria Penedès. A major joint castellers performance where, among others, the Castellers de Vilafranca and the Bordegassos de Vilanova will take part.

May 27, Rome: At 20:45, FC Barcelona meets Manchester United in the Champions' League Final. In Vilanova the game will be shown on big screens in the Plaça de les Casernes (organised by the Bordegassos) and in front of the church in la Geltrú (organised by the neighbours association). In Vilafranca the neighbours association of Sant Julià will show the match in Plaça de la Sardana and in el Vendrell the big screen can be found in Plaça Francesc Macià.

May 29-31, Vilanova i la Geltrú (Garraf): The Trapezi Circus Festival. Find here my blog entry on Trapezi 2008.)


Trans-lúcids at La Sala in Vilanova i la Geltrú (Garraf)

Fotomaig, Sitges (Garraf) – Sitges’ annual May photo festival starts at the Espai Cultural Pere Stämpfli.


For castellers (human tower) performances outside the Penedès area, please, refer to the tag Agenda Castellera at the Coordinadora de les Colles Castelleres de Catalunya, or the Calendari at


Wirdheim in Vilanova will to the greatest extent possible refer to official pages (usually in Catalan) for information on the time and location of all events and can unfortunately not guarantee to present the latest up-dates or changes of program.

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Technorati tags: Castellers, Catalonia, Expat, Festa, Garraf, Penedès, Sitges, Vilanova

Friday, 1 May 2009

Pictures from Vilanova - April 2009

I take many pictures which I would like to share, but about which I do not have much to tell. From now on, I plan to publish them in a monthly entry - some of them will have a short comment while others will have to speak for themselves.

The trees along the Rambles de Vilanova underwent a possibly too heavy and too late spring pruning.

Vilanova i la Geltrú has seen the unemployment figures rise sharply during the last few months, so the so called "Zapatero money" are warmly welcome. These extra funds for public works are being invested in a beautifcation of the town centre, which I am very happy for. But did they really have to dig up all streets at the same time?
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Technorati tags: Vilanova