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than ever, and the chaos which I remember from all the evenings I used to spend at trainings in our clubhouse has been replaced by a discipline which (at least occasionally) felt almost Swiss...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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