ALLEZ LES BLEUS! Woohoo!
Alright, before I get too carried away, let’s take a look at our adventures this afternoon:
After lunch we explored El Call, the ancient Jewish neighborhood in Barcelona. It was built in stages as the population grew, so there are technically two neighborhoods: the “Main” one and the “Lesser” one. However, both of them feature these very narrow roads between tall stone buildings. In fact, the name El Call is actually old Catalan for “narrow roads” according to a sign we read!
While we’re on the slight tanget of sign reading, check out the local language! It’s called Catalan (on the far left of the sign) and it is the primary language here in Barcelona. Most people understand Spanish, but it’s definitely a minority language. Compare Catalan to Spanish in the middle of the sign – before we got here, Catalan was described to me as being a dialect of Spanish, and you can see how they’re closely related. But there are a lot more differences than I expected! Personally, having experienced it myself now, I think they’re totally separate languages that just have a lot in common.
Many Catalonians agree with me actually; this region, Catalonia, is considered to be an “autonomous state” of Spain, meaning it’s actually somewhere between being a normal state and being a separate country. Some people here want to break away from Spain and be their own country entirely, and the language is one of their arguments to prove how different they really are.
We were going to go into this church right on the edge of El Call (the Jewish area shares a border with the Episcopalian area) but we spent too much time in El Call and they were closing. Maybe tomorrow!
It had a gorgeous courtyard though, so we’re definitely intrigued!
A little further down the street, we found this lovely little bridge connecting these two buildings. We’re right on the edge of the two religious neighborhoods still, so we’re not sure what these buildings are (or at least used to be) or why they’re connected. But it certainly is beautiful!
Finally we ended up here in the Plaza Catalunya. This is just the northernmost corner of the square; it is the biggest square on the biggest street (called La Rambla) in town, so it’s pretty huge! There are a lot of statues and memorials, trees, flowers, benches, and other pretty and/or useful amenities here that help make it such a popular place.
It big enough that it’s also where crowds gather to celebrate – such as tonight after the French victory in the soccer game! Woohoo! Now France gets to play Portugal for the European soccer championship! We watched the game in a nearby restaurant and then headed over here to cheer and celebrate for a bit before heading back to the hotel to go to bed. We’ll even be back in France on Sunday for the match so it’s going to be super exciting! I can’t wait!!
And finally, our comments winner for today is…Anna H! Congratulations Anna! Tomorrow is our last full day in Barcelona and in fact our last full day in Spain, so we’re going to have to make the most of it. Then it’s back into France to the little itty-bitty town of Aigues-Mortes!