We took a bus from the airport in Girona into Barcelona. As the city came into view I started to look around excitedly and pick out the sights I remembered from last time. There was the Sagrada Familia and the Torre Agbar but then I saw a sign that read, "Benvinguts a Barcelona". Now, I do not remember much from my high school Spanish classes but that did not seem right and in fact it is not Spanish but Catalan. In Barcelona they speak two languages Spanish and Catalan and in our travels we heard a lot more of the latter than the former.
The people in Barcelona have a strong pride in their Catalan history and consider themselves first and foremost to be Catalonian and then Spanish. In fact, a man we met was quick to point out that Catalan has existed for one thousand years whereas Spain has only existed for five hundred.
We learned a few phrases and words in Catalan during our trip. Good morning in Catalan is bon dia and it was amazing to watch the way people's faces lit up with warmth and surprise when we entered a shop and said, "bon dia". Next time we go to Barcelona, I will definitely study and learn a few more phrases in Catalan as I felt like it really opened the door into the true Barcelona.
The feeling of respect and reverence for Catalonia is also evident in the presence of the Catalonian flag. It can be found flying alongside the Spanish and Barcelonian flags in front of every public building.
|The Catalonian, Spanish and Barcelonian flag|
The extreme pride and respect for their history and where they have come from is yet another reason why I love Barcelona and its people and why I look forward to returning.