Monday, 22 June 2009

Penedès News in English

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

Gran Penedès

With in total 200 participants, the Penedesfera Days celebrated in Sant Salvador of El Vendrell June 12-13 was a great success. Microblogging posts related to the meeting (#Penedesfera) occasionally came so frequently that they could be seen on - an international list of the most popular Twitter topics.


The road C-31 will see restrictions in the nighttime traffic since road works will be made between Cubelles and Sant Pere de Ribes.

Of the drivers tested in a major alcohol control carried out by the police (Mossos d’Esquadra) in Sitges on June 14, 26% were fined for drunk driving and of these 10% reached criminal levels of alcohol in the blood.

Josep Maria Jornet – famous for his black and white photos of Sitges festivities, but also of landscapes from around the whole world – has passed away at the age of 88 years.

The future of Varo, S.A., in Sant Pere de Ribes is so uncertain that the public authorities will step in and seize assets in order to pay the employees who are still on the payroll, in case the company continues to fail to pay out indemnification to the employees made redundant last year.

Restaurant owners along the beach walk of Cubelles are protesting against how life guard cabins have been put up in such a way that they disturb the sea view and therefore damage business.

Vilanova i la Geltrú is one of the official water sports resorts (estació nàutica) of Catalonia. While the others (l’Estartit and the Medes islands, Palamós and Calogne, Santa Susanna, Costa Daurada and Sant Carles de la Ràpita and the Ebro Delta) offer one-stop-shop web pages for potential tourists, the Vilanova initiative stands out for not even having a co-ordinator, and this in the town which houses the new Vilanova Grand Marina – Barcelona.

Due to the remodelling of Vilanova’s Rambla de la Pau, the little tourist train which goes through the town in the summer will have a new route. It will start at the street Pere Jacas, and make stops in the centre at C/ Unió, C/ Santa Eulàlia, the Rambla Principal, avinguda Francesc Macià, and C/ Josep Coroleu before heading down to the beach Ribes Roges and the Passeig Marítim.

Alt Penedès

The Festa Major of Vilafranca is among the most important cultural treasures of Catalonia and Andorra, according to the organization the Capital of Catalan Culture. The Patum of Berga qualified automatically, since it has been declared immaterial cultural heritage by UNESCO. The other celebrations which were voted into the top-10 of the list are the Day of Sant Jordi, the Sardana, human towers (castellers), the Sant Joan bonfires and the flame from Canigó, the Catholic passion plays, devils’ dance and correfoc, the havaneres of Calella de Palafrugell and the 'Mysterious Light' of Manresa.

La Colla del Mar - a famous band of gralla musicians which have played at all Festa Majors of Vilafranca for the last 29 years - has decided not to continue their activities together.

The construction work of the women’s prison to be built in Sant Llorenç d’Hortons will only be initiated in 2010, since the Zapatero government of Spain and the Catalan Generalitat have not yet agreed on its financing.

The ajuntament of Sant Llorenç protests against how the quart cinturó – a new outer Barcelona ringroad – as of the so called Metropolitan Territory Plan would cut this municipality into two halves.

Baix Penedès

A Calafell inhabitant has been released with charges while 14 other members of an international criminal organization have been imprisoned. The investigations have connected the group to counterfeiting and money laundry as well as trying to smuggle cocaine to Spain by hiding it inside frozen fish from Uruguay.

The only elephant of the animal park Aqualeón at Albinyana, Yoyo, will move to the zoo of Barcelona, where a fellow African elephant - Susi - needs company to get over a depression. Yoyo has lived at Aqualeón for 30 years - after having been rescued from a circus - and to make him feel welcome in Barcelona, the space reserved for elephants has been doubled.


For the strong support among the local inhabitants, the Generalitat has decided that Catalonia’s corporate airport will be developed at the Igualada-Òdena aerodrome, currently used for sports aviation and fire fighting. The operation of the airport might be contracted to a private company. With a public investment of € 90 million, the plan is that by the end of 2012, it will be able to match Farborough of London or Le Bourget of Paris.

The political parties CiU, PP and ERC of Igualada have voted for the municipality to belong to the Penedès, when the vegueria reform is carried out. The Platform for a Separate Vegueria tried to unite all party groups behind a project in favour of following the comarques Alt Penedès and Garraf, whether they in the future will belong to the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona or the Penedès. Such a decision would have been a clear signal that Anoia does not want to be in the Central Vegueria, as of current plans, but it was not taken since PSC and ICV ruling Igualada did not support it.

A large number of mayors of Anoia municipalities have made a joint inquiry to the Generalitat, to learn what will be the role of the comarca after the vegueria reform and which decentralized services could be allocated to Igualada.

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Other media do not seem to want to comment on it, but as far as I can see the news service l’Extra and the event magazine El Calaix de Sastre – both aiming to cover the whole of the Gran Penedès – have ceased to exist.

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Penedès News in English is a subjective compilation of local news, above all aimed for expats living in this part of Catalonia but, possibly, also interesting for tourists. My main sources of information are Vilanova Digital, Sitgesblog, El 3 de Vuit, Penedès Digital, AnoiaDiari·cat, La Veu Digital plus the print versions of the Diari de Vilanova. All opinions expressed are my own.

A brief on the political party system of Catalonia can be found here.

Earlier editions can be found under the label Penedès News.

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Technorati tags: Barcelona, Calafell, Castellers, Catalonia, CiU, Expat, Festa Major, Garraf, Human Towers, Igualada, Penedès, Penedesfera, PSC, Sitges, Spain, el Vendrell, Vilafranca, Vilanova, Zapatero

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