Tuesday, 30 August 2011

56.000 year old artifact found in Capellades' Abric Romaní

Historians still argue whether the Neanderthals used to create tools with handles, but an object discovered at the excavation site Abric Romaní in Capellades (Anoia) suggests they did. In a soil layer formed more than 55.000 years ago, archeologists have found the imprint (the negative) of what will have been a wooden tool measuring 15 by 8 cm and the theory is that it has been used for working with fire.

The ajuntament of Capellades wants to turn the Abric Romaní in to a tourist attraction but still lacks the Euro 5 million needed to build a planned museum.

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Read more in Catalan: Anoia Diari

Penedès sees the start of promising vintage season

The vintage season (la verema) has started throughout the wine region Penedès and the relatively rainy month of July followed by intense sun in August make wine-growers hope for a very good quality. The first grapes to be harvested are Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, followed by Macabeu, Xarel·lo, Ull de Llebre and Merlot and then finally Parellada and Cabernet Sauvignon. In the geographic area of Penedès it is eastimated that the vintage will bring in 240 million kilos of grapes, split over the two protected wine origins which coincide here – D.O. Penedès and D.O. Cava.

If you plan to travel on small roads during the vintage season, allow for some extra time since you run the risk of being caught behind a tractor.

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Read more in Catalan: Penedès Digital and El Punt / Avui

Record old grape found at Calafell’s Ciutadella Ibèrica

The oldest grape ever found in the whole of Spain, has just been discovered by archeologists working at the Ciutadella Iberècia museum and excavation site of Calafell (Baix Penedès). It is dated to the 3rd century B.C. and, exceptionally, does not only consist of the kernel but also the totally carbonated pulp. In the centuries leading up to the birth of Christ, the Iberians used to live in tribal societies along the eastern and southern coasts of the Iberian peninsula and they are mentioned with that name in Greek sources from the 6th century B.C. Already back then were grapes consumed fresh or dried and used for making wine.

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Read more in Catalan: 3deVuit

Friday, 26 August 2011

Castellers de Vilafranca versus Indian Govindas

An extremely multicultural day of human towers has just been celebrated in Mumbai, India. Some 200 members from Castellers de Vilafranca managed to build the first casteller construction of nine levels - a 3de9 - ever seen outside the Catalan speaking part of the world. They also impressed the local audience with the beauty of a construction of 8 levels dismantled via a pillar (4de8 amb agulla).

The Indian alternative to Catalan castells are called govindas and are being built in team competitions in the Mumbai metropolitan area, only once per year – to honour the god Krishna’s birthday. Apparently, the Indians were slightly bored with long time the Europeans took to prepare each construction, but at the same time acknowledged that castells, in most cases, are being dismantled in a controlled way and without any injuries, which is often not the case with the govindas.

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Read more in Spanish: LaVanguardia

Sitges Film Festival presents the program of ‘Noves visions’

The section Noves visions (New Visions) of the Sitges Film Festival has presented its program for the coming edition, October 6-16. Noves visions is centred around the most innovative and transgressive horror movies and is split up in four sub-categories: fiction, non-fiction, discovery and dark fiction. Behind the works represented this year we find famous directors such as Abel Ferrara, Panos Cosmatos and James Marsh. The festival will also house the world premiere of the movie Vlogger by Catalan director Ricard Gras.

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Find here the full press release in English

Read more in Spanish: ABC

The beach guards of Garraf demand a new fine policy

The life guards on the beach of Garraf demand a fine policy which clearly discourages people from dangerous swimming practises. Currently there is a trend among young people to take photos while they jump off a certain cliff here and the problem is that the water below is very shallow – it merely reaches the waist. Officially, there is a 700 to 1.500 Euro municipal fine for disobeying local legislation of the municipality of Sitges (where Garraf belongs), but the local police can only make occasional visits and the life guards as of now are not authorized to impose any sanctions.

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Read more in Spanish: LaVanguardia

Friday, 19 August 2011

'Mon Bus' Over Capacity Due to Reduced Train Service

Due to the on-going planned traffic reductions on the line R2-Sud, much more commuters from Garraf than usual opt for the bus instead of the train. On several occasions, the buses have filled up in Vilanova i la Geltrú, and thus have not been able to take on more passengers when passing by Sitges. As a response, the company Mon Bus – which holds the concession on the line Garraf-Barcelona – has added 50 buses, but still sees a demand above capacity and this in the peak season when this bus service is also used by many tourists.

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Read more in Catalan: El Punt / Avui

350.000 Pairs of Counterfeit Jeans Confiscated in Sitges

The Spanish National Police (Policía Nacional) has confiscated 350.000 of counterfeit branded jeans, found in a warehouse in Sitges (Garraf). In 2002, the same garments were withdrawn from sales since they violated the brand rights of a third party, but then ended up in an unknown location. Now six top managers representing more than one textile company have been idicted for trying to re-introduce them into the market.

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Read more in Spanish: LaVanguardia

Fish Sold Illegally by Ambulant Vendors in Calafell

The fishermen´s association of Calafell (Baix Penedès) expect the local authorities to take measures against ambulant vendors who sell fish in the streets of the municipality. The fish – above all sardines and anchovy - is transported around on ice cubes and sold as fresh, but does not meet established Spanish food safety standards.

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Read more in Spanish: LaVanguardia

Sitges Looking Forward to Festa Major Season in Spite of Budget Cuts

Sitges (Garraf) is about to enter its season of town festivals – first the big Festa Major in honour of Sant Bartomeu (August 20-26) and then the Festa Major Petita in honour of Santa Tecla (September 22-23).

This year, the joint budget for the two events will be Euro 300.000, a reduction with 50.000 compared to last year. The poster for Sant Bartomeu has been designed by the Swiss artist Pere Stämpli, since it is now 40 years since he made his first connections with Sitges, where he now has an important role in the local cultural life. From Sant Bartomeu and onwards the restored dragon (drac) of the town will reappear in the performance parades (cercaviles).

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Read more in Catalan: Diari de Vilanova and Vilanova Digital

Fine for Irresponsible Swimming in Coma-Ruga

Earlier this year - and in reponse to three deadly accidents so far this summer - the town council (ajuntament) of el Vendrell (Baix Penedès) decided to forbid swimming close to the breakwater of Coma-Ruga. The small area where swimmers are not allowed is clearly indicated with signs.

This week, an 80-year old man ignored this and then refused to follow instructions from the local police who tried to get him out of the water. As a result, the man will be now face a penal fine for disobeying the police and an administrative one for not respecting local regulations.

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Read more in Catalan: El Punt / Avui

First Phase of Train Station Improvements Concluded

Adif, the Spanish authority responsible for railway infrastucture (Administrador de Infraestructuras Ferroviarias, in Spanish) has concluded the first wave of improvement investments at 27 train stations belonging to the commuter train network Rodalies de Barcelona.

In Cubelles and Garraf the construction works have been finalized while in other places in PenedèsSitges, Sant Vicenç de Calders, Vilanova i la Geltrú, Calafell, Segur de Calafell and Cunit – the first phase of two have been completed.

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Read more in Spanish: ABC

Monday, 15 August 2011

Tractors Allowed on C-15 During the Vintage

The Catalan CiU government initially planned not to allow tractors to use the main Penedès artery C-15 during the coming vintage period. However, it has changed its mind after heavy protests from various farmers´associations. If tractors were not allowed on the road C-15, transport lead times would double and, in turn, increase the pressure on the already thin profit margins which wine growers see when they sell their grapes.
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Read more in Catalan: el 3 de Vuit

Monday, 8 August 2011

Wine Region D.O. Penedès Foresees a Good Vintage

The wine region D.O. Penedès is expected to see a vintage at least as good as that of last year, which resulted in 240 million kilos of grapes. The quality is foreseen to vary from good to very good, in spite of the unusually rainy spring. However, the wine growers complain that the estimated market price of 20 Eurocents per kilo is far below the 35 Eurocent to which production costs sum up.

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Read more in Catalan: el3deVuit

Worsened Mobile Phone Coverage in Penedès Coastal Areas

For yet another year, 44 Catalan coastal municipalities, among them Sitges and Vilanova i la Geltrú (Garraf), now see deteriorations in the mobile phone coverage. The networks tend to become overloaded with the arrival of tourists and to change this, there would be a need to revisit established antenna standards. Currently they do not take seasonal variations into account.

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Read more in Spanish: el Mundo

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Vilanova Sees Best Human Towers So Far this Season

Saturday, July 30, Vilanova i la Geltrú (Garraf) saw the best castellers exhibition in Catalonia so far this season and the best one ever to take place here: two human towers of the most difficult kind, gamma extra, plus three more constructions of nine levels. Even better: all participating teams accomplished all the constructions which they had decided to build and in most cases on the first attempt.

Castellers de Vilafranca opened with a 3de9, then impressed us all with the 50th Torre de 9 (2de9) in the history of the team, confirmed their emotional stability with a 4de9 and then surprised us all by offering a magnificent pillar of 8 levels (pilar de 8) in the final round, the first one of its kind in 2011.

Colla Jove Xiquets de Tarragona opened with a 4de8, then completed the 25th 3de9 in the history of the team and their first one ever outside the province of Tarragona, before they proved their strength with a 5de8.

The local team, Bordegassos de Vilanova, opened with a 5de7, followed up with our first 4de7 amb l’agulla this year, and then – for the first time in two years – completed a Torre de 7 (2de7) thanks to a lot of muscle and will power.

Personally, I am so grateful with the achievement of all the teams but also with all vilanovins, visitors and tourists who came out en masse and gave us an amazing atmosphere in plaça de la Vila.

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Read more in Catalan: Vilanova Digital

Imam of Cunit Acquitted by Provincial Court

The imam of Cunit (Baix Penedès) and two more people have - due to a lack of evidence - been acquitted of crime by the provincial court of Tarragona. A lower penal court had sentenced the imam to one year of prison for, in 2010, having coerced the cultural mediator of the same town into wearing a veil.

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Read more in Catalan: Ara.cat

Major Fire at Cava Cordoníu

Saturday July 30, the was a major fire in the warehouses of cava producer Cordoníu in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia (Alt Penedès). The cause was a short circuit in a fork lift battery. Nobody in the personnel was hurt but some 4.000 square meters were affected and many bottles of cava, destined for export, were destroyed.

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Read more in Catalan: el3deVuit.cat

Monday, 1 August 2011

The Penedès Agenda - August 2011

August is the typical summer vactaion month here, which means that there are very few events of a business or political character, but this is more than compensated by all Catalan Folk Culture which you can explore around the town festivals, Festa Major. Find here a general Festa Major word list.

Catalan Folk Culture (cultura popular)

(July 29)-August 6, Festa Major of Vilanova i la Gelrú (Garraf) - Mare de Deu de les Neus. Find here a separate post in English with more information and recommendations.

August 6 at 18:00, in the plaça de les Eres of Sant Pere de Riudebitlles (Alt Penedès): Human towers by Colla Jove Xiquets de Vilafranca. Read more in Catalan

August 7 at 13:00, in the plaça de la Vila of Llorenç del Penedès (Baix Penedès): Human towers by Nens del Vendrell, Colla Jove dels Xiquets de Tarragona and Xiquets de Tarragona. Read more in Catalan

August 7 at 12:00, in the plaça Milà i Fontanals of Vilafranca del Penedès (Alt Penedès): Human towers by Xicots de Vilafranca and Minyons de l’Arboç. Read more in Catalan

August 7 at 14:00, in the plaça Major of la Llacuna (Anoia): Human towers by Colla Jove Xiquets de Vilafranca. Read more in Catalan

August 13 in Cal Figarot of Vilafranca del Penedès. Human towers by Castellers de Vilafranca (celebrating their club house). Read more in Catalan.

August 15 at 12:00, in Capellades (Anoia): Human towers by Xicots de Vilafranca. Read more in Catalan

August 16-August 22, Festa Major of Igualada (Anoia) - Sant Bartomeu. Find here the full program in Catalan.

August 20 at 19:00, in Gelida (Alt Penedès): Human towers by Xicots de Vilafranca. Read more in Catalan

August 20-August 26, Festa Major of Sitges (Garraf) – Sant Bartomeu. Find the official program in Catalan here.

August 21 at 12:00, in the plaça de l’Ajuntament of Igualada (Anoia): Human towers by Moixiganguers d’Igualada, Minyons de Terrassa and Xiquets de Tarragona. Read more in Catalan

August 21 at 12:30, in the plaça de la Vila of l’Arboç (Baix Penedès): Human towers by Minyons de l’Arboç and Nois de la Torre. Read more in Catalan

August 25-August 28, Festa Major of l’Arboç (Baix Penedès) - Sant Julià. Find here more about it in Catalan.

August 28 at 13:00, in the plaça de la Vila of l’Arboç (Baix Penedès): Human towers by Minyons de l’Arboç, Castellers de Vilafranca, Colla Vella dels Xiquets de Valls and Colla Joves Xiquets de Valls. Read more in Catalan

August 28 at 18:30, at Cap de Vila of Sitges (Garraf): Human towers by Colla Jove Castellers de Sitges, Minyons de Terrassa and Xiquets de Reus. Read more in Catalan

August 28-September 2, Festa Major of Vilafranca del Penedès (Alt Penedès) - Sant Fèlix. Find here an ealier post in English about Catalonia’s most typical Festa Major (la més típica). And here you can find the official web page in Catalan.

August 30 at 13:00, in the plaça de la Vila of Vilafranca del Penedès (Alt Penedès): The most prestigious annual exhibition of Human towers in Catalonia, by Castellers de Vilafranca, Minyons de Terrassa, Colla Vella dels Xiquets de Valls and Colla Joves Xiquets de Valls. Find here the post from last year’s Sant Fèlix Day of Human TowersRead more in Catalan.

August 31 at 12:00, in the plaça de la Vila of Vilafranca del Penedès (Alt Penedès): Human towers - Sant Ramon - by Castellers de Vilafranca and Xicots de Vilafranca. Read more in Catalan.

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The Penedès Agenda is a collection of events which I recommend to foreigners (expats or tourists) who want to explore Penedès or events which I consider important from a – highly subjective – international perspective. It is biased towards the comarca Garraf (Sitges and Vilanova) but also covers Alt Penedès, Baix Penedès and Anoia.

The agenda posts are up-dated whenever I learn about new things. To the greatest extent possible will I link back to official pages for information on time and locations and cannot guarantee the correctness of the data presented. Feel free to inform me about events which you think would fit in here, either by writing a comment or contacting on twitter (@wirdheim).