A friend of mine told me the other day, that his friend from Austria canceled his trip to Barcelona again. He didn’t really have an excuse, so my friend guessed that this might have been because of safety reasons and he was quite sad about that. Right after last summers terrorist attack on Les Rambles where 14 people died and more than 100 were injured, that would have been understandable, but now?
I was confused, and started to google the latest coverage in English publishing media regarding #Catalonia
Catalonia is in the news lately, unfortunately not the best ones. But travellers shouldn’t have doubts about spending their holidays here.
I’ve been living here for more than 13 years now and still feel absolutely safe! I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t still go hiking in the Pyrenees, have a glass of sparkling wine or cava in the Penedès wine region or chill out at one of the lovely beaches on the Costa Brava or Costa Dorada – quite the opposite is this case!
No doubt: The conflict about the independence doesn’t give inspiration to travel here and certainly is shocking on a personal and political level. But in everyday’s life, it’s hardly noticed.
This is also the case dealing with friends or fellows: Doesn’t matter which of my several WhatsApp groups (there is quite a bunch of different groups 😉 the Independence Issue is a NO GO TOPIC . Nobody is forcing me to adapt his point of view, it’s a private issue.
I would even state that people are quite tired of talking about it these days. At least, that’s my personal impression when I listen to other people speaking about it, for example during my hikes. Maybe it’s because everyone respecting the personal point of view of others or simply because they’re frustrated about the numb situation. The beautiful landscape distracts us from our worries, and that’s what’s important at that moment, I guess.
Probably those of you who have vistited Barcelona recently, can confirm that you don’t notice anything different. And: this controversial dispute is not new! It started years ago!
On 29th of March in 2012, during a demonstration against Labor reforms of the Spanish government: I noticed already then the flags of the people in favor of independence.
You can recognize the flags of the independence supporters by the blue triangle with a white star in the middle of the normally yellow and red striped Catalan flag, so called Senyera.
On October 1st of 2017, the National Police, the Guardia Civil, prevented Catalans from voting – and that’s said in a very soft manner! The truth is that in certain areas, they used violence to harm the voting process. Everywhere else voting happened quietly and peacefully.
I myself came along with a Catalan friend that same day at 6 am to the popular quater Gracia. I was impressed by the patience of the people who waited in a queue hours under the falling rain…
The cue to #vote at Carrer d’Astúries is large. It’s raining, it seems like there’s no movement. Be patient..#Catalonia #Gràcia #1Oct #1O pic.twitter.com/gGA2RjQhRm
— Jutta Hübener (@UtahBCN) 1. Oktober 2017
… after that, I entered the green metro line L3 at metro station Fontana:
Whatever happens today, my #video of #1Oct: People with #Spanish flags in #metro L3 #Barcelona. – NOTHING happened there! #HuelgaGeneral3O pic.twitter.com/ca7J2A3sM0
— Jutta Hübener (@UtahBCN) 3. Oktober 2017
Personally, I’ve never experienced Catalans fighting on the street between each other or shouting out loud their political opinion. At least, not outside the demonstrations. Grafitis although are widely spread:
Demonstrations are normally peaceful. The last big demonstration during the general strike a few days after police violence on 1st of October in 2017, brought over 700.000 people on to the streets of Barcelona and other Catalan cities like Girona, Lleída or Tarragona.
Violence? Not at all! Neither on one side or on the other regarding #Independence
To answer this question, you could write books! And nobody knows at the moment how this will end up. There are so many reports and dividing stories, undoubtedly a huge issue!
I don’t want to give a wide range of the political landscape – that would be way too much. I just want to pick out some facts to give you a quick overview of today’s situation:
Because, I say it again:
I personally don’t see any reason, not to go to Barcelona, Girona or in general to Catalonia. I’d even invite you to come!
There may be even a discount – just ask for it!
The German Foreign Office only states a General Security Alert which is also ongoing for other members of the European Union. https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/de/spaniensicherheit/210534 :
“Das Anschlagsrisiko in Spanien ist mit dem in anderen EU-Mitgliedstaaten vergleichbar. Reisende sollten sich weiterhin umsichtig verhalten und die Medienberichterstattung aufmerksam verfolgen.”
The risk of attack in Spain is comparable to that in other EU Member States. Travelers should remain prudent and closely follow media coverage.
Personally, I think it’s more important to watch your purse than the news! There’s no need to get nervous if a demonstration is announced. If there is one, and if you’re coming with a car, just check if the freeway AP7 is open, so as not to end up in a huge traffic jam.
If there does happen to be a demonstration in Barcelona while you’re traveling, you might avoid going to big avenues and plazas like Plaça Catalunya, Passeig de Gràcia, Gran Vía or Plaça Espanya. Not because of safety reasons, but because of the huge crowds of people.
What is your experience? What’s your opinion regarding traveling to Barcelona or Catalonia?
I look forward to hearing your comments!
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Thank Jutta! Gràcies Jutta !
Congratulations on a very well balanced article. Thank you for explaining the situation so well
Thanks so much Doina! I’m happy if I can help to get more understanding for the Catalan situation, doesn’t matter which side you’re on.
Clear, fresh and well described. Yes, we protest, but always peacefully. We need more European residents like you sharing your experience.
Thanks so much, Asper! I’m glad you liked it! Hopefully, Europe will finally have a look at this Catalan, or better said Spanish crisis.