Hola from Barcelona
Hola, Hello from Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain where the sun is kind of shining intercepted by some rain showers.
We feel as safe, as always.
It is the day after the strike and demonstrations on October 3, 2017, the Wednesday after the referendum, and a long time before our next travelers are scheduled to arrive here. Originally, this current Spain journey to meet with our local providers was scheduled to start inthe capital city Madrid and not even include Barcelona. But since my travel coincided with the referendum, I made the conscious decision to be iN Barcelona, together with a colleague who hasn’t visited in a long time. As a former journalist and now a travel professional for over 15 years, it was important to not just hear and see what is going on in the various news outlets, but to actually experience the events first-hand, personally and professionally.
Barcelona is one of our favorite little big cities at iNSIDE EUROPE. And that feeling remains. Not once during the last few days did I feel unsafe or experienced any animosity. Yes, there were protesters and demonstrations and manifestations. And since the sun was shining, instead of umbrellas, the street peddlers were selling the Catalonian flag. There is a huge police presence, but never did I personally witness riots or brutality. Yes, there were inconveniences, especially during the general strike day on Tuesday when the major roads were blocked and with public transportation and taxi services limited. Leave it to me to have booked a hotel in the very heart of the action on Via Laietana, too. We walked through it all, the masses and masses of people, the majority students, but also families with kids, people with dogs, senior citizens, people in suits and sports attire.
It seemed as if all of Barcelona was on their feet. There was some shouting, but mostly singing and clapping.
While there were no tourist crowds in the usual spots like the Gothic Quarter and the majority of businesses were closed, we saw and heard visitors from all over the world still strolling the pedestrian areas. They shopped, ate, drank, took pictures, talked and continued experiencing Barcelona. Whenever we had to cross over or pass along the main areas of the marches or gatherings, there was always space left for those not involved, visitors, locals not participating, parents with strollers or seniors with walkers, people in wheelchairs. The crowds seemed well aware of those not part of the protest. Again, not once did we feel unsafe or unwelcome.
What I experienced was a call to be heard, a call for democracy. It is not my place to take a side nor do I wish to make a political statement. I just want to share a personal impression and stress how important it is to stay informed. For us, this means traveling to the destinations we offer, not just once, not just in so-called good times, but also when in distress. The safety of our travelers and team members is our first and foremost concern. I/we fully understand worries about what is going to happen next, but none of us know what the future brings, especially not what is happening by 2018. Rest assured that we will continue to monitor what is going on wherever we go and our travelers are previewed to visit.
While Hola is the same in Catalan and Castellano, good morning is Bon Dia or Buenas Dias, respectively.
We wish you the same.
#europeinsiders #iNSpain #visitBarcelona #Catalonia #feelSpain #wehavebeenthere #travelbettertogether