Monday, 26 August 2013

See you soon, Vilanova i la Geltrú!

Yes, it is true: We have moved and no longer live in Vilanova i la Geltrú, and no, not even in Catalonia, but in Zurich, Switzerland. But how did this happen? I who arrived in Vilanova with the absolute intention to stay for the rest of my life.

That idea seemed to be almost frightening to my wife and that is where we have the beginning to an explanation. Add to this that she has got a very good job in an economically and politically stable country, and you can add a few more pieces to the puzzle. And to complete the picture, I must admit that I, personally, have been fed up with living and seing my children growing up in a country where politicians (unfortunately both in Catalonia and the rest of Spain) seem to think that corruption is good, as long as they can make sure not to be formally convicted of it.

This does not change the fact that our move has created a huge void in me. We have moved from a town where almost everyone knew who I was, where I was a citizen and had begun to understand the local community to the extent that I could make initiatives and act, at least to the same degree as those who have always lived in Vilanova i la Geltrú.

Anyhow, I am glad that the whole relocation project was allowed to take such a long time. We started planning this in January and that has given me time to, on the one hand, to think about what I wanted to experience before I left and, on the other hand, determine what knowledge I wanted to bring with me.

That I got to experience one last complete town festival - festa major - as an active participant is invaluable, since this, in my eyes, is the absolute essence of Catalan culture. A few highly intense days. repeated year after year, when traditions are important and you together with a lot of friends, neighbours and acquaintances give it all for you own town, although noone beyond the municipal boundary cares at all. In this I have found a wonderful Mediterranean culture which I – a native Swede - did not even know existed before I came here.

That I, during the festa major got the chance to make a last human pillars on four levels with Bordegassos de Vilanova and a last Pira de 10 plus a walking pillar of three levels with Falcons de Vilanova i la Geltrú, of course, made my experience and memories even more colourful. Fortunately, all the water blisters I had on my feet after all parades (cercaviles) have healed by now.

But what kind of knowledge was it that I decided to bring with me? Well, apart from the languages, that is Catalan as well as Spanish, at the very end I found yet another area: wine and cava. In retrospect, I almost regret that I did not begin approaching this even earlier, but better late than never. Thanks to wine tourism I can make sure that my connection to my "second home" and the rest of the Penedès will continue to evolve.

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Here you have the amazing videos which Bordegassos de Vilanova and Falcons de Vilanova i la Geltrú, respectively, made as goodbye gifts for me. Many thanks to all of you who, during so many years, have made me feel so welcome, but also interesting, intelligent, strong, and - not the least - young again in Vilanova i la Geltrú!

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Swedish version

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