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One Last Barca Post

September 16, 2006

OK, so I left Spain two weeks ago, but I've been busy, and I can't get the place out of my mind, so I'm still writing about it. My host Robin took me a bit off the usual tourist path, through narrow maze-like alleyways right up against churches, apartments, and shops–and then we'd be in a square like the one here. Wide open, lots of open-air restaurants, in a space that is centuries old. We eventually wandered into a restaurant for dinner. It was the usual experience–we did not sit until 9 pm, and it took a couple of hours for the two of us to have a pretty standard meal. I'm not complaining, mind you–I was in no hurry to have my one evening in the city end.

In our wanderings we also found this building, one of two that houses the Catalan government. Catalunya is a province of Spain that has a strong sense of independence. The schools all teach in Catalan; Spanish is taught as a second language, though kids are fluent in both by the time they finish high school.  I got the feeling that the independence streak was not as strong as the Basques; I know of no recent acts of violence against the Madrid government. In fact, after my few glorious days here, it's hard for me to imagine anyone wanting things in Catalonia one bit different than they are now.

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