Tuesday, 21 July 2015

EN: Vilanova i la Geltrú and Barcelona in Catalonia are also Our Home!


A few weeks ago we were back in Vilanova i la Geltrú, just southwest of Barcelona (Catalonia), where we used to live for more than eight years. Rarely, it has become so clear to me how much a common history, tied to a specific location, unites a group - in this case our family.

The children were delighted to come back to sea where they grew up, i.e. the Mediterranean - where they can swim in the water for hours without feeling cold - and to meet their former classmates again. Our eldest, now twelve-year-old son, was even allowed to walk around alone with his friends in this small town which he knows so well and afterwards he emotionally exclaimed that "for the first time ever he had been free in Vilanova".

However, some activities our children were not able to choose by themselves. A new feature for our family trips is to go out jogging together in the morning - a wonderful way to experience the beaches before they are filled with sunbathers; well, that is how I see it, but I am not sure that my sons agree...

One day we went to the aquarium in Barcelona because, lately, our nine-year-old has become very interested in octopuses. Even there it dawned on me how much our children’s general awareness has increased since when we lived in Catalonia. Step by step they start to understand what a fortune it is for them to feel at home - and to know both languages (Catalan and Spanish) - of one of Europe's most exciting cities.

As if to further strengthen our ties to Catalonia as a whole, the last days of our journey we spent up in Berga. Here, in an old rustic farmhouse (casa rural), we celebrated Midsummer along with other Swedish families from Barcelona - just like we used to do before we moved to Switzerland.

Having said that, for me personally, no trip back would be complete without a bit of Catalan folk culture and so I was happy to find some time for a visit to Bordegassos de Vilanova. This year, their human towers (castells) reach higher than ever, and the chaos which I remember from all the evenings I used to spend at trainings in our clubhouse has been replaced by a discipline which (at least occasionally) felt almost Swiss...

"Catalunya és casa teva" ("Catalonia is your home") the region's tourist advertising says this year. In our case that is quite literally true.






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We took our accomodation in Vilanova at the very reasonably priced hotel Ricard. As for the food we decided to spend a bit more, because there were so many dishes and tapas which we all had been missing: the small mussels tallarines de Vilanova and nido de patates con jamón ibérico at stylish Genito, on the one hand, or the Andalusian-inspired atmosphere and food at El Giraldillo on the other, to name a few.

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Here you find the blog post about our last family trip to Vilanova i la Geltru, and here my blog about the years when we lived in this Catalan coastal town; Wirdheim in Vilanova.

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Svensk version

Monday, 20 July 2015

SE: Vilanova i la Geltrú och Barcelona i Katalonien är också vårt hem!


För några veckor sedan var vi tillbaka i Vilanova i la Geltrú, strax sydväst om Barcelona (Katalonien), där vi tidigare bott i mer än åtta år. Sällan har det blivit tydligare för mig hur mycket en gemensam historia, knuten till en viss plats, förenar en grupp – i detta fall vår familj.

Barnen var glada över att få komma tillbaka till "sitt" hav - Medelhavet alltså, där de kan ligga i och bada i timmar utan att frysa - och att få träffa sina före detta klasskamrater igen. Vår äldste, knappt tolvårige son, fick dessutom vandra runt själv med sina kompisar i den lilla stad som han så väl känner till och det beskrev han i efterhand som att han ”för första gången hade varit fri i Vilanova”.

Vissa aktiviteter fick dock barnen inte välja själva. Ett nytt inslag i våra familjeresor är att gå ut och jogga tillsammans på morgonen – ett underbart sätt att uppleva stränderna innan de fylls av solbadare, tycker jag, men jag är inte säker på att mina söner håller med...

En dag åkte vi in till akvariet i Barcelona, eftersom vår nioåring i år har blivit väldigt intresserad av bläckfiskar. Även där gick det upp för mig hur mycket mer medvetna barnen är nu än när vi bodde i Katalonien. Steg för steg börjar de förstå vilken rikedom det är för dem att ha vuxit upp i närheten – och kunna de båda språken (katalanska och spanska) i en – av Europas absolut mest spännande storstäder.

Liksom för att ytterligare förstärka det som binder oss till Katalonien som helhet, åkte vi i slutet av resan upp till Berga. Här firade vi i ett lantligt stenhus (casa rural) svensk midsommar tillsammans med andra barnfamiljer från Barcelona – precis som vi brukade göra när vi bodde på plats.

Men för mig skulle ingen resan tillbaka bli fullkomlig utan lite katalansk folkkultur och därför var jag glad att också finna tid för ett besök hos Bordegassos de Vilanova. Deras mänskliga torn (castells) är i år högre än på länge och det kaos som jag minns från alla kvällar som jag förr var med i lokalen har bytts mot en disciplin som (åtminstone stundtals) kändes nästan schweizisk...

Catalunya és casa teva” (“Katalonien är ditt hem”) säger regionens turistreklam i år. I vårt fall är det rent bokstavligen sant.






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Vårt boende i Vilanova hade vi på det mycket prisvärda hotellet Ricard. Måltiderna lät vi kosta lite mer, för det fanns ju så många rätter eller tapas som vi alla längtat efter: de små musslorna tallarines de Vilanova samt nido de patates con jamón ibérico på stilfulla Genito, å ena sidan, eller den andalusieninspirerade stämningen och maten på El Giraldillo, å den andra, för att nämna några.

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Här hittar ni bloggposten om vår senaste familjeresa till Vilanova i la Geltrú och här min blogg om åren när vi bodde i den här katalanska kuststaden; Wirdheim in Vilanova.

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English version

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

DE: Die Clogging-Tanzgruppe "Crock-14" beim Country-Festival in Klewenalp


An einem der wärmsten Julitage des vorigen Jahres fuhren meine Frau und ich nach Klewenalp um zu wandern. In Anbetracht der Temperaturen wäre es angemessener gewesen, in Zürich zu bleiben und ins See Schwimmen zu gehen, aber wir wollten ja die Tanzgruppe Crock-14 sehen.

Unsere Wanderung war tatsächlich ziemlich kurz, aber das spielte keine Rolle, da dies kaum das spektakulärste Alpengebiet der Schweiz ist (so wie ich bereits über unsere Wintererlebnisse aus Klewenalp geschrieben habe). Trotzdem erhielten wir eine kräftige Dosis von Almen mit sowohl charakteristischen Kühen als auch einer reichen Flora.


Nach der Rückkehr zur Liftstation blieben wir eine lange Weile auf dem jährlichen Festival Country Alpen Open-Air-Klewenalp. Dieses Mal gehörten meine Verwandten und ihre Crock-14 zum Programm. Die Tanzgruppe kommt zwar aus Prag in der Tschechischen Republik, aber ist auf amerikanischen Clogging in traditionellen und modernen Versionen spezialisiert.

Wie immer wurde ich von der Energie und Freude ihrer Show beeindruckt und fühlte mich sehr stolz als ich den Jubel und Beifall des Schweizer Publikums hörte. Persönlich habe ich nie gewählt, dass dieser Tanz ein Teil meines Lebens sein sollte, aber dank einem tschechischen Vetter hat er zweifellos einen Platz in meinem Herzen gewonnen.

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Hier sind noch ein paar Videos von der Crock14-Show in Klewenalp 2014: 1, 2, 3.






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English version 
Svensk version

Thursday, 9 July 2015

EN: 'Black Light Theatre' for Children during Easter in Prague (Czech Republic)


Yet again our family celebrated Easter holidays in Prague (Czech Republic), albeit with considerably less sun than last year. Appreciated elements from previous trips here were of course repeated. These include jogging tours in the park of Petřín (for me) and bowling (for us all) together with my cousin and his family at the restaurant Anděl. Although we were only in town for three days, we did have the chance to experience some new things.

This trip’s longest walk started up at the former Spartakiad Stadium on Strahov (today in a sad state). We enjoyed the view over Prague from the top lookout tower Petřínská Rozhledna (never before have I seen so many visitors there – quite literally it was shaking under the strain) before we continued down through the park, where many of the trees just had begun blooming.

For the first time in Prague, we took our children to a cultural event, namely “Wow”; “Black Light Theatre” – typical for the Czech Republic. "What a show! Snow and rain, spiders and balls!", our eleven-year-old enthusiastically exclaimed afterwards. His nine-year-old little brother was not as exalted, but said: "Almost everything was boring. Though, in any case I did not fall asleep. When we last time were at the theatre with the school, half of my class did. "

The Czech Republic is my “second country of origin”, after Sweden, so my big challenge will be to find activities in German there. How else could I entice my family to go there as often as I want? Or should I perhaps simply travel there alone, to be able to indulge in a complete immersion in the Czech language...













Our restaurant visits in the centre of Prague were the following:

Velryba - an old favorite - has retained its character after the renovation, but the traditional Czech dishes like deepfried cheese with french fries or lentil stew with a boiled egg have unfortunately disappeared from the menu.

About the pizzeria Grosseto I had heard that it was a tourist trap, but we were pleased with the food and even more so with the very friendly staff.

At Kozlovna Apropos, however, we were unfortunately greatly disappointed this time. Probably the restauranthas become so popular thanks to its location, that the waiters no longer feel the need to care about their customers.

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During earlier family trips by car to the Czech Republic, we have not only been to Prague but also in Brno, Znojmo, Telč, České Budějovice, Český Krumlov, Písek, Tábor and the castle of Hluboká.

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Svensk version