This is the companion class weblog for 'An Introduction to Catalan Culture'

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Catalan Culture 2004 Class Blog

lunes, noviembre 24, 2003


Before I came to Barcelona I really didn´t know what to expect. I had never visited the city before and had only ever seen pictures of it in a tourist guide which never really give you an overall view of a place. The one thing I wasn´t looking forward to was the Catalan language. I had only heard about this language a couple of days before arriving here and so I was so worried that no one would understand Spanish and I would end up not understanding anything. Luckily this wasn´t the case.
I was expecting Barcelona to be a large city but I wasn´t expecting it to be as big as it is, it´s huge, it seems neverending! I was shocked to find that Barcelona was part of Catalonia as I had never heard of Catalonia before. I knew that there were regions in Spain such as Costa Brava but I didn´t know about Catalonia.
I was also confused about why Catalonia is so desperate to be independent from Spain but having spoke to Catalan people I have learnt that Franco had taken a lot of money away from them in the form of taxes and then given them little in return while giving most of their money to Madrid. So I don´t blame them for wanting to be independent.
I was imagining it to be a lot like London. Yes its exceptionally busy like London, but theres so much more. There are so many interesting places and the architecture is amazing. I had heard of Gaudi before I had come to Barcelona but I had never thought that he had had such a big impact on the city, I didn´t even associate him with Barcelona.
In the past I had found Spanish people very friendly but I was shocked of how reserved the people were here in Barcelona, but later I found out that this was a common characteristic of Catalan people.
I didn´t expect the beautiful waterfront, including the port and all the beaches, I had never thought of Barcelona having beaches because I don´t associate them with cities. They have however been an added bonus.
There have been a few culture shocks since I arrived here, the main difference I have found is the time concept. They have their mañana culture which is so different to the English culture. In England we get things done very quickly and promptly, we hardly ever leave things till the next day. Also with time-keeping, In England we generally arrive on time for meetings, class etc. but here they don´t really seem to mind if you are late for appointments.
Another culture difference has been when greeting people, kissing people on each cheek is not usual for us, we generally shake hands if being introduced for the first time or give each other a hug if you are close friends. This was strange at first but now I think its going to be more stange when I go back home and have to greet people without the kisses.

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