The last few days have been marked by the Festa Major; preparations and training with the Bordegassos and then the first festival activities: A giant senyera (the Catalan flag) was hung on the church tower, we have enjoyed fire, crackers and and the smell of gun smoke during the correfoc, we have experienced a day of castellers where all teams celebrated their achievements and we have seen the Falcons de Vilanova build a beautiful capdil 8 de 9 and have, by the Negrets d'Alcúdia, been reminded that the human towers originally come from Valencia.
In addition, I have two friends visiting from Sweden and do my best to share what I know about Catalan folk culture. In all honestly, they are not particularly interested, but I do not care – that is the price they have to pay for free accommodation by the Mediterranean! ;-)
Bordegassos the Vilanova managed - for the first time in four years – to crown (but not dismantle) a castell of eight levels (4de8) and then crown and dismantle a pillar of five levels, hoisted up from below (pilar de 5 aixecat sota). During the same performance Colla Vella dels Xiquets de Valls crowned and disassembled torre de 8 and 3de9 and Colla Jove dels Xiquets de Tarragona did the same with 5de8 and torre de 8.
Strings of tarmac will be added to more streets in Vilanova i la Geltru in order to avoid cracking paving stones in the future.
In the Catalan parlament, the tripartit government (PSC, ICV and ERC-EUiA) has voted that vegueries, in a first phase, will be created in line with the current provincial boundaries and replace what we now call diputacions. Penedès will thus remain divided between vegueria Barcelona (Garraf, Alt Penedès and Anoia) and vegueria Tarragona (Baix Penedès).
The grapes of the 2009 harvest in Penedès give very nice wine and the local traditional grape xarel·lo has a good development.
La Casa Bacardí, in Mercat Vell of Sitges, is a new permanent exhibition of the famous rum brand and its founder, Don Facundo.
Sitges has launched to new caps, t-shirts, bags, backpacks, towels and umbrellas to promote the town.
F.C. Barcelona's financial result of the last season has been revised down by auditor Deloitte. While Xavier Sala i Martin, treasurer of Joan Laporta’s former Board of Directors, a few weeks ago presented a profit of 11 million Euro, Javier Faus, treasurer of the Sandro Rosell’s management team, talks about a loss of 77 million Euros.
Barça won 2-4 in the first friendly of the season against the Norwegian team Vaalerenga.
Cesc Fàbregas hopes that Barça will take a decisive step to get him here. He himself does not want to put down his intentions in writing since that would destroy his image to the Arsenal fans in case the sale cannot be completed.
Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona will reappear as the administrative unit for public transport, waste management and water supply in the geographic area from Castelldefels in the west to Montgat in the east. To the north, it will include Sant Cugat del Vallès, but not Sabadell and Terrassa. The President will be elected by the mayors of the constituent municipalities.
Barcelona is the metropolitan area of Europe with the lowest fresh water consumption (108,44 liters per day and capita). Because of gardens and swimming pools, Sant Cugat del Vallès is high above the average (160,83 L) while the densely populated Cornellà del Llobregat is the lowest (95,16 L).
UNESCO has agreed that the tunnel for the high speed train AVE can be built under the church Sagrada Familia.
Parlament has decided that bullfighting will be banned in Catalonia from 2012. The initiative to the decision came from the animal rights movement Prou and was supported from the beginning by ICV-EUiA and ERC, while PP and Ciudadanos were against it. CiU and PSC chose to let their MPs vote according to their conscience and the proposal went through, since almost the whole of CiU supported it. Only a small fraction of PSC voted for the ban – and still, the party is being criticized by PSOE for nourishing tensions between Catalonia and Spain. With the aim to protect bullfighting throughout Spain, PP wants to have it declared and asset of "importance to culture and tourism". The Catalan decision has been front page news in all major European media.
Catalan is the eighth most-used language in the blogosphere, the 14th biggest language on Google and the 15th on Wikipedia. Meanwhile, the domain .cat is the second safest in the world. These are some of the conclusion in the report Balanç de la política Lingüística 2004-2010, by the Generalitat.
President José Montilla has set the date for the Catalan parlamiament elections this autumn, but has not yet announced it. According to the rumour, they will be held on October 24.
The political parties of Catalonia’s tripartit-government are undergoing significant changes with a view to the elections. Key government members like Josep Lluís Carod i Rovira (ERC) and Joan Saura (ICV-EUiA) will not stand for re-election. Within the PSC, Antoni Castells, the treasurer (Conseller d'Economia), has chosen to do the same, which means that the Catalan-minded sector of PSC will lose one of their top names and the party as a whole one of its most competent ministers.For Castells to already suggest that PSC will need to reflect on its profile after the elections, hardly adds strength to Montilla’s candidacy.
Felip Puig has indicated that CiU now want to see
Spanish Defense Minister Carme Chacón has chosen to distance herself from PSC and instead build her position as a possible future vice-president of Zapatero's PSOE government. Many have hoped to see her replace Jordi Hereu as the PSC mayor candidate for next year's municipal elections in
Thanks to Catalan CiU and Basque PNV, which abstained from voting, PSOE could vote through a labor market reform in the Spanish Parliament. The new policy improves the possibilities for an employer to sack people without having to pay full dismissal indemnities.
The future consumption expectations in Spain have risen by 7.7 points from June to July, but the figure of 73.6 months is weaker than a year ago (76.1) and still unambiguously negative because the index is from 0-200 and anything less than 100 reveals a pessimistic mood.
The Spanish air traffic controllers are likely to go on strike either August 18 or August 20, as a protest against the wage cuts which the government is pushing through.
With eight medals and 27 places in the finals, Spain was the sixth best country in the European Athletics Championships in Barcelona, but most of the Spanish top athletes are over 30 years old and there is a shortage of young talent.
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The summary covers the period until Tuesday August 3. If there are news which you think that I have missed, I ask you to leave a comment and, even better, include links. All news that I consider fit into this context will be added as up-dates.
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Sources and inspiration:
Vilanova i la Geltrú
DiariDeVilanova: Més obres a l'agost en els carrers malmesos del centre
Garraf and Penedès
DiariDeVilanova: Forta expectació mediàtica en l'obertura de la Casa Bacardí
Avui+ElPunt: Nova línia de marxandatge turístic
Avui+ElPunt : El Penedès obté uns vins “molt bons” del 2009
El3deVuit: Han ignorat un clam
MundoDeportivo: Cesc está muy desesperado por fichar por el Barça
Catalonia and Spain
LaVanguardia: Chacón se afianza en el PSOE con su "tercera vía"
MundoDeportivo: Una generación exprimida